How's the following as an example of our litigious society and pure, unmitigated GALL? Or chutzpah, as we New Yorkers call it.
In 2009, when our former and beloved police chief Ed Hargis (nicknamed "Steady Eddie" was protecting Portsmouth, a terrible shooting incident occurred after a barricade SWAT situation. A mentally-ill Vietnam veteran was killed by Portsmouth Police.
Any death is regrettable, especially when someone who served our country is killed. Police never should have been involved in this situation. However, we have a broken mental health care system and a broken Veteran's Administration. Sadly, police officials end up dealing with the aftermath every single day in every city in the US.
I won't name this man, but he had been diagnosed with PTSD, had weapons, and lived alone. The family couldn't deal with him, so they called a mental health care worker to assess him for treatment. The mental health care worker felt threatened and called police.
When two of the very brave responders realized that he did not have a phone in his home, they obtained a departmental cell phone for him to use. The officers approached his residence to throw the phone into an open window. The point was to talk to this troubled man.
He shot them both. Police returned fire to eliminate the threat to their fellow officers who were wounded out on the lawn. One officer, a SWAT member, has permanent nerve damage. Frank had to move off the Portsmouth streets where he is needed to a training position.
What does the family do? Do they feel any sense of sadness for the wounding of two of Portsmouth's finest? Are they sorry that their relative permanently disabled a very fine officer and took him off the streets? Oh heck no! Do they thank Portsmouth Police for trying to help their relative who had so many problems that they were unable to assist him alone? No. They sued Chief Hargis for $5 million for wrongful death.
Thank God that Portsmouth jury members had the courage to determine that Chief Hargis was not at fault in any way.Thank you to Judge Johnny Morrison, a black, liberal Democrat for seeing that justice was served by the verdict.This white conservative says, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Steady Eddie has moved on as Chief of the Frederick Maryland Police Department. I miss his wise, measured leadership. My city's loss. Officer Frank Natale teaches the next generation of top cops in the Academy.
I'm not sure what the Veteran's family is doing tonight, but I hope that they are considering their actions before God. I am sad for the loss of their family member, but their actions were a reprehensible money grab.
Finally, I sincerely hope that the family's attorney considers what the jury was telling her when they made their ruling. A 30 % cut of a $5 million settlement is a lot of money. Maybe being fair and equitable might be worth more.
Many situations involving marginalized society members are sad, unfair, and need remedy. However, when you stick a gun out the window and shoot two cops trying to help you and end up dead...perhaps it is not the police who are to blame.