A viral Facebook video is depicting the hands of a Portsmouth, Ohio police officer with his hand wrapped around the throat of an EMT on an emergency call is getting quite a bit of attention. This report by WSAZ has the video that shows what appears to be the Police Officer holding the EMT by his neck on the scene of a call. Screenshot from the report:
This is reminiscent of Oklahoma Trooper Martin who choked Paramedic Maurice White back in 2009. That actual video can still be seen on Youtube.
I blogged quite a bit about this incident when it happened, the outcome was that Trooper Martin was suspended for five days, around six months later he was under investigation again for use of force during a different arrest, and five years later under investigation AGAIN for other misconduct.
Although these are two different cases, with all the occurrences of assault on EMS personnel, this kind of video portraying the assaulter as a law enforcement officer is especially disturbing. Generally our support is offered to the law enforcement community because we have a deeper understanding of what their days are like and the challenges they face than the public. Incidents like this could generate a rift between the services that will lead to escalating conflict, similar to the issues we hear about between law enforcement and firefighters on the fire ground.
I believe mutual respect is a reasonable expectation in situations like this, and I can only hope that the Portsmouth Police Chief will deal with the matter in a fashion that acknowledges that respect more fittingly than the Oklahoma Troopers did, who were really by the later accounts just protecting a bad apple.