Rehoboth officer should be disciplined

August 15, 2013

I was disappointed, but really not surprised to read that the Department of Justice found several Rehoboth Beach police officers acted legally when subduing a disorderly man back in April. It’s just the brotherhood looking out for their own.

I note the Gazette article says that one officer might still face internal disciplinary action.  I surely hope that Chief Banks will take another look at the internet video of the arrest.  Frankly, I am less concerned about the officer’s use of his Taser than I am about his kicking and stomping the arrest subject in the head.  The officer acted out of anger.  The alleged bite attempt as a justification for the kicking is flimsy, but probably was enough to get the pass by the Department of Justice.

The issue here in not what’s legally permissible, but what’s ethically right.  I believe that kicking someone in the head is inexcusable under any circumstances and I think Chief Banks needs to make it clear that he doesn’t condone it as a legitimate law enforcement technique in Rehoboth Beach for subduing a subject even if it is technically legal.

Let me once again state that I have no sympathy for the arrest subject who was drunk, acting like a total jerk, and refusing to follow the officers’ commands.  He should have been arrested and fined, as he eventually was.  However, the video clearly shows that the officers were in control of the situation even though the subject was being uncooperative.

We have a right to hold law enforcement officers to a higher standard. We should expect them to have cooler heads and behave appropriately in the face of all kinds of situations where they are being taunted or provoked. It’s an essential job skill.  So, the matter now is with Chief Banks to make a final decision.  I hope he makes a good one.

Richard Kirchhoff
Rehoboth Beach

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