Policing in America

Scenario: Police officers Russ Cameron and his partner, Eugene Smith, were on duty in Salem, Massachusetts on July 17, 2019. Both Cameron and Smith had been on the force for more than five years, and neither officer had been disciplined for any prior issues on the force. Cameron had complaints against him for assault in the police station, but there was never any evidence produced against him.

Both police officers were in the squad car when the call came in at 8:04PM. There was a 911 call to report to a domestic violence and firearm discharge on Milk Street. Cameron and Smith confirmed they were in the area, and they called in and were discharged to the scene.

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Upon arrival at the scene, there was a male with a firearm in the upstairs window, an apparently intoxicated female in the front yard, with one young male child who appeared to be about 3 years old. The child appeared to be unharmed.

Cameron exited the vehicle, drew his firearm, and asked the male suspect to drop the weapon. The male disappeared into the upstairs of the house and turned off the lights. Cameron ran into the open front door of the house and proceeded up the stairs.

Smith approached the female, who was clearly in distress and had a large laceration on her face. The female was held without incident and was placed in the back of the squad car with the child. Smith called for back up and an ambulance. At the time the victim was being placed in the squad car, the female victim’s mother approached Smith on the scene. The mother explained that lived in the same residence, was in the back apartment, heard the argument and the firearm discharge and called 911.

The female victim explained to Smith that she and her boyfriend had an argument. She said that her boyfriend hit her on the face with the firearm, and the firearm discharged into the room. She then ran down the stairs, collected her son and ran outside. Smith was able to transfer the victim to the ambulance staff for assessment, place the child in the care of the grandmother, and then proceed to back up his partner.

At this time, another squad car came on the scene. Officers James and McMillan came on the scene. The three police officers entered the home and went up the stairs. The lights were off in the house on the second floor. The police were using flashlights. Cameron had been in the house and was not accounted for. Smith found Cameron unconscious at the top of the stairs with a stab would to his leg and a laceration across his face. Smith determined that Cameron needed medical care and called for an ambulance on the scene.

Smith had his service revolver and his flashlight in his hands. Officer James found the lights, and Smith saw the suspect across the room. Smith ordered the suspect to drop the firearm, and the suspect did. The suspect was speaking in words that made no sense and claimed that demons were in his head. Smith then began to use what appeared to be excessive force while trying to arrest the suspect.

James and McMillan removed Smith from the suspect. The suspect was a male, approximately 30 years old, covered in blood, and did not appear to be mentally coherent. The suspect was arrested by James and McMillan and charged with Illegal Possession of a firearm, Discharge of a Firearm in City limits, Aggravated Assault, and Risk of Injury to a Minor.

Smith then left the scene. Smith then took the victim’s statement at the hospital, Cameron’s statement at the hospital and then reported back to the police department. He was then ordered to meet with Maggie Hendricks, the Forensic Psychologist to discuss the arrest.

In her report, Maggie Hendricks determined that Officer Smith was capable of his duties, but needed some de-escalation techniques, as he overreacted to do stress and the injury of his long-time partner. Smith was returned to desk duty for 4

weeks, went through counseling, and then returned to work in the field with his partner on the 15th of August 2019. There have been no further incidences with the pair.

The suspect was taken into custody without incident and arraigned in the 18th of July 2019. When the court ordered the Psychological Evaluation, it appeared that the suspect had a history of Paranoid Schizophrenia, had joined a clinical research trial, had discontinued his medications, and had an episode. The suspect was released to the Danvers Psychiatric Hospital for further care, was found sane to stand trial, and is now serving 3 years for a plea bargain of Domestic Violence.