Saturday, January 26, 2013

THE SHIELD OF GOLD, Midnight Madness, Part 4

Nighttimes are frequently the occasions for calls about domestic violence, typically a man physically abusing his wife, his lover, sometimes a “significant other.”


One such call I won’t forget: when I came on the scene, a woman had her hands around the throat of a man who was lying on the ground, and she seemed to be choking him. When we told her to let go of his throat, we discovered that she had been putting pressure on his throat to try to stop the bleeding. The bleeding had come from a knife wound near his jugular inflicted by the same woman.


Apparently, after knifing him, she had second thoughts.


On another midnight shift, my partner and I were sitting in the patrol car, two cups of hot coffee sitting on the dashboard, our windshield wipers going, the exterior windows streaking --- the interior windows fogging from the combination of the hot coffee and a cool windshield. I was sitting behind the wheel, my partner next to me, with the windows slightly cracked open on both sides of the car. It was the middle of the night, no traffic, no people --- well, we thought there were no people.

We saw, on the corner, a man and a woman who was holding a baby. We could tell they were arguing about something; their voices echoed on the street. They were half on the sidewalk and half on the street. It appeared that he took the baby from her, and she walked briskly in our direction. I immediately said to my partner, “He just took the kid!”


As she approached the car, my partner rolled down his window further, just as she began to tell us something about her “baby’s father.” (Some people describe the men as the “baby’s father,” or “boyfriend,” or “husband,” I guess because they have so many different men in their lives.) Suddenly, I noticed the baby’s father raise his arm from his side, and the next thing I saw was a muzzle flash and a loud bang. He was aiming at her or at us, a little too close to call. Our coffees went flying, and I didn’t even realize at first how wet and hot it was.


We pulled away from the curbside parking spot and used a zigzag pattern to go toward him, stopping our vehicle in the middle of a busy street (White Plains Road), which was not busy at this hour.


The male was walking away from us, not listening to our commands to stop. We approached, and simultaneously the two of us grabbed him. I targeted the infant, my partner targeted the male’s right-hand, which we believed was still holding a gun. In fact, he was. Right after I gained control of the child in the pouring rain, I ran him back to the police cruiser, placed him on the rear floorboard, closed the door, and ran back to assist my partner, who was still struggling with this guy.


We sent out a call for help, a “10-13,” which means police officer needs assistance. When that call goes out, everybody comes in, and they keep coming until you issue a “no further” call, meaning no additional units are needed to the scene. We immediately heard distant sirens, though it seemed like forever before they came.


We finally regained control of the situation. We heard the last click on the handcuffs. What a great sound! You know you now have control; he is no longer a threat. I was soaking wet, physically and emotionally drained. The cavalry arrived, 15 to 20 cars at least. Like I said, they keep coming and coming. Finally, I realized I had to call it off and issued the “no further help needed” call.


As I was preparing the arrest paperwork, I looked to check the recorded times. Surprisingly, from the time of the first transmission of needing assistance to when the first car arrived at the location, it was only 1 min. Our activity seemed all in slow motion. Those midnight shifts, you never know what to expect from one quiet moment, just having a cup of coffee.


In the end, the baby’s mom refused to press charges against the man because she still loved him. The District Attorney’s Office didn’t pursue charges against him for attempted assault on a police officer, because of insufficient proof that the shot was meant for us. The gun charge was eventually pled down as well.


Whatever happened to the mandatory one-year prison term for illegal gun possession enacted by Mayor Koch? Well, at least this guy got a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of the minor. And yet, the man served no extra jail time: he was released for time served. That’s the system.

1 comment:

  1. Great story Doug. Now if there was zero tolerance for incidents like this, he did mandatory jail, was punished, oh what a different world it would be. You and yours Have a great day! mary