In Florida, Pinellas Park Police say they were just trying to protect a homeowner when an officer tasered Daniel Jensen last Thursday. Police say Jensen was putting himself and the officers in danger by failing to follow the orders of law enforcement and instead grabbing a garden hose trying to prevent the fire at his neighbor’s house from spreading to his own.
As you will see in the videos above and below, Daniel Jensen and a number of his neighbors think the cops were wrong. Police Captain Sanfield Forseth told reporters they could have charged Jensen with obstruction but did not.
Daniel Jensen wasn’t running from the law, he was trying to protect his home from burning up. Yet, Pinellas Park Police tasered him in the process. Jensen and his attorney say it’s an excessive use of force.
Jensen was still shaken and visibly emotional as he retold what happened last Thursday evening.
He said being tasered by police has not only impacted him, but it also impacted his children- who saw it all happen.
He described the Pinellas Park Police officers actions as “brutal; he said they showed “no compassion.”
“All I remember is laying in water being electrocuted for saving my home,” said jensen.
Burns on Daniel Jensen’s body four-days later mark where police tasered him. He says they tasered him as he was doing what any father and husband would do protect his family’s home from an out of control grease fire.
Brooklyn, Wisconsin volunteer firefighter Dan Dean has filed a $50,000 lawsuit against the Village of Oregon claiming excessive force after a police officer held a gun to Dean’s head during a traffic stop as Dean responded to the firehouse for a call.
Brooklyn volunteer firefighter Dan Dean, 37, alleges Oregon police officer Ted Gilbertson overreacted when Gilbertson drew his gun and held it near Dean’s head during a June traffic stop in the Brooklyn Fire Station parking lot.
Dean had just sped to the station in his private vehicle after being paged. Gilbertson had begun pursuing him several miles out, apparently in response to an earlier call elsewhere in the county of a motorist possibly impersonating a police officer. Both Dean and Gilbertson were using lights and sirens.
The department’s internal investigation cleared officer Gilbertson of any wrongdoing and accused Dean of recklessly responding to a non-emergency.
Dean was cited for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. He is contesting the ticket.
There has been an ongoing discussion in our comments section about my recent postings on the issue of cameras being used by the press and citizens at scenes where there is police, fire or EMS activity. Coincidentally, on Friday, this video surfaced, with the help of the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Mike Blasky. It seems to illustrate many of the points I have been trying to make.
Reading the comments on Law Officer's Facebook page over a similar, but less violent confrontation in Florida and the comments on this site, it is clear there are many first responders who aren't really clear about the freedoms provided by the First Amendment. They believe it is perfectly okay for a police officer, firefighter, EMT or paramedic to order someone to shut down a camera when that citizen or member of the press is standing in a public place and shooting something that is in public view. Some believe it is okay for a first responder to make up laws that don't exist and threaten a photographer with arrest or seizure of their camera equipment. All sorts of reasons are used that aren't backed up by any legal authority. They include victims' rights, right to privacy, and claims that shooting a building threatens security. Sometimes it's simply the belief that a camera shooting a first responder doing their jobs interferes with an investigation or operation.
The case of Mitchell Crooks and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer Derek Colling should give pause to those who believe any of those are legitimate reasons to interfere with picture taking when the person has not infiltrated a secure area.
In the raw video (above) from March 20, Officer Colling approached Crooks, who had spent the previous hour shooting video of the arrest of burglary suspects across the street from Crooks' home. Crooks was standing on his own property at the time, even though he initially denied it was his home. Ordered to shut down his camera, Crooks refused. The camera toting citizen was wrestled to the ground, battered and handcuffed by the officer.
As Mike Blasky writes, Crooks initially faced charges of battery on a police officer, had his expensive camera seized and suffered a broken nose and possible broken ribs. But things are now looking very different, thanks to Crooks not shutting off his camera and the right people seeing his video. The charges have been dropped by the Clark County District Attorney, an internal investigation of Officer Colling is underway, Officer Colling has been suspended and Crooks got his camera and video back.
Besides Crooks' claim, at first, that he didn't live where the video was shot, there are a few other side issues in Blasky's article that sure are interesting but in the end may not really be the deciding factor in whether Crooks has the right to use his camera in a public place, unmolested by law enforcement. These include a 2002 video of police that Mitchell Crooks shot that made news in California. In that case the video showed two Inglewood officers beating a 16-year-old boy. Blasky also brings up that Officer Colling has been involved in two fatal shootings that were later ruled justified.
If you really think that you, as a first responder, have the legal right to interfere with such picture taking by the press or the public I urge you to read Blasky's entire article and follow this case closely. My view is that Officer Colling has made his department and police officers in general look pretty bad because of such thinking.
This is why I strongly suggest police, fire and EMS departments teach their people what limited legal authority they have when it comes to cameras in public places and to really understand the rights of the people holding those cameras.
I know the actions of Derek Colling don't represent law enforcement in general. I don't want anyone to get the impression that this site's purpose is now for cop bashing or that I'm anti-police. What I am is pro-First Amendment.
There is a real fear/hatred of the press and cameras in general by some who serve the public. That's their right to feel that way. But this video appears to show when that turns into public officials infringing on the basic rights of others it can quickly get really ugly.
Indiana house fire: This is from Lake Station yesterday evening. The fire was in the 2800 block of DeKalb.
Fire captain honored for bringing his own gun to the battle: Truly one of the more unusual fire service stories in some time occurred earlier this year in Palm Beach County, Florida. On Friday, Captain Edwin O’Berry and two shifts of firefighters and medics were honored for jumping into action as a police officer was being beaten near Station 31 on April 8. The man doing the beating had the cop’s gun. Captain O’Berry had one of his own that he just grabbed from his personal car. The man was shot and killed by the captain and another police officer. For his efforts Captain O’Berry received an award intended for police officers. Click here for our coverage.
It appears to me the firefighter at the back of the camper is practicing his PPV techniques at this training fire. This is from a rather unusual video that you can see by clicking the image.
Trooper who fought with paramedic is again back on the street: Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Daniel Martin was reinstated after a citizen filed an excessive force claim. The latest incident was caught on video, much like the May 24 run-in with Creek Nation paramedic Maurice White Jr. We have the story and all of the videos.
Two-hatters told to take a hike in Duluth: The IAFF local and three Duluth firefighters have parted ways because the firefighters volunteer in a suburban department. Here are the details.
Customer service debate over crash and gas leak: There is a little back and forth in our comments section over a story by 9NEWS NOW’s Lindsey Mastis following a car crash into a house in Takoma Park, Maryland on Thursday. The family and neighbors believe the fire department could have taken a little better care of a 93-year-old woman after her home was evacuated. Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service has apologized, but also looks at it as a teachable moment for firefighters and the public. The discussion ranges from someone who believe he would rather see his crew help an old man across the street, even if it meant missing a first due house fire, to those who think way too much attention is being paid to customer service. Check it out and join in.
In wake of study, Quakertown VFC has extended an invitation to Quakertown VEMS members to come on over to the other side. Details and link to the report to the right. Quakertown VFC image.
EMS study completed in town where passing incident occurred: You may recall the September controversy over a unit from New Jersey’s Quakertown Fire Company passing an ambulance on the way to a car crash (here and here). From the articles covering that incident it was clear there are long standing problems over EMS service in the area. A study was promised and it has now been delivered. Dr. Harold Cohen at Tri-Data is recommending that Quakertown Volunteer EMS no longer be dispatched on calls in Franklin Township and first responder duties should be handled by Quakertown VFS. Read the entire report. Read the fire department’s response. Read the latest news article.
The thin green line: A neighbor who models his firefighting gear after the star of Probie Days keeps battling away with the garden hose even after the firefighters arrive. Watch the video and see the pictures.
Brothel worker from HBO series confirmed among the dead in Oklahoma City arson: That's Brooke Phillips, AKA Hayden Brooks. She was a member of the staff at Moonlite Bunny Ranch featured on the HBO show "Cathouse". Police have now officially confirmed that Phillips was shot to death inside a burning home where three other people were found dead. She was pregnant. Click the image to read more about the case.
Jury says Fresno fire discriminates and wants it to pay big bucks: A former recruit is awarded almost $2.5 million dollars after a jury determined she was discriminated against while in the training academy at the Fresno Fire Department. Click here.
Mass casualty at high school football game: The moment of a wall collapse at a South Carolina stadium was caught on video. At least 27 students were hurt. Click here.
Save at Maryland house fire is fire marshal’s father: Firefighters in Frederick County were able to find a man in a wheel chair inside his burning home Sunday afternoon. Family members say Joseph McNeal is expected to recover from smoke inhalation. The relative giving that information to The Frederick News-Post is the chief fire marshal for Frederick County, Marc McNeal, son of the victim.
A fight over benefits: Johnston, Rhode Island officials say they can save $635,000 by cutting pension and health benefits for firefighters. As you might imagine the union isn’t sitting still for this one. Click here for the story.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has reinstated two state troopers who were placed on administrative leave following allegations of excessive force.
OHP Trooper Daniel Martin.
An internal investigation found that the use of force by Troopers Daniel Martin and Tommy Allen was not excessive.
Martin earlier this year was suspended after being accused of using excessive force during a scuffle with a paramedic that was caught on video.
Kristopher Douglas had complained in the more recent incident that one trooper struck him with a baton and another put a knee in his back after he tried to walk up to a residence while the officers were making a traffic arrest in Holdenville.
A video clip showed Martin asking Douglas to leave several times, then hitting him with a baton once as Allen tried to handcuff him.