“Of course they handcuffed her…”

by Walter Olson on May 9, 2014

“… You can’t be too careful with a nine year old.” [Radley Balko; Portland, Ore.]

{ 17 comments }

1 common sense 05.09.14 at 6:44 am

Handcuffs? I guess they have to start the abuse early. No use letting those dangerous kids think they have rights. After all, you can’t expect a couple of 180-200 lb. cops to control a 9 year old girl. I’m surprised they didn’t shackle her also.

2 John Burgess 05.09.14 at 9:58 am

What? Was the Tazer® not working?

3 Carol Herman 05.09.14 at 2:27 pm

So she was nine. Seems the cops got information that she could lash out. Using both her fists. And, kicking. Exactly how was she supposed to be removed?

“In the old days” when cops had to arrest real crazy people who were violent, they’d strap down the patient. For transport to Kings County. (Brooklyn’s sister hospital to Bellevue.)

Well, July is the month where new doctors come in. And, one psychiatric resident told the cops to remove the straps. Which they did. And, the crazy flew out of the chair and kicked the resident in the balls.

Kings County has a children’s ward. (And, I was working in administration. So I was attending a Friday meeting for staff. On this ward.) They had one nine year old who was very violent, even under medication. The staff believed in “nice rewards.” So, they made sure to be complimentary. But at some point they were just glad for the quiet. And, lo and behold, this gal removed all her clothes. And, using a chair as a weapon, went after staff.

The staff were discussing that perhaps they were neglectful in being more complimentary. Which would, perhaps, curtailed this episode of “acting out.”

Of course, psychiatrists have medications to give. But cops don’t.

And, IF this nine year old (enjoying the attention) thought she could go up against the arresting officers … saying “the cops had no business” arresting the kid … Leaves you with only one reason: “Because she was nine years old.”

Psychosis is what psychosis does. I wouldn’t second guess the cop.

4 gitarcarver 05.09.14 at 4:02 pm

Carol Herman,

I am trying to understand how you make the leap from two kids getting into a fight that was resolved and for which the one kid was punished is somehow evidence of “psychosis.”

I am trying to understand how you think a kid being quiet, looking down, and crossing her arms is somehow proof that she was going to lash out.

I am trying to understand how a supposed adult thinks that the cops made this situation that was over with better. I am trying to understand how you think that 90 pound kid sitting quietly in a chair is somehow a threat to two 200+ pound cops.

I am trying to understand how you think that arresting a 9 year old in a still wet bathing suit, placing her in handcuffs, putting her in the back of a police car, transporting her to the station, fingerprinting her all over a 4th degree misdemeanor serves the child, the parents, the cops, or society.

You set up a set of circumstances with no basis in fact. There is no evidence that the child was “enjoying the attention.” There is no evidence that the child was going to “go up against the arresting officers.”

Yet somehow you think that the cops were justified in doing what they did. Talk about building a house on sand.

I submit to you that if somehow you had gotten into a fight at work, been disciplined for it, and then a week later cops show up at your door, you too might react just as the child did. Or am I supposed to think that when the cops came to question you a week, you would offer them tea and crumpets while smiling?

Psychotic people are often described as “having lost touch with reality.” What does it say when you are basing your conclusions and support on facts that have no basis in reality?

5 William Nuesslein 05.09.14 at 6:11 pm

What if the nine year old fired a pistol that missed the other girl? No one would have been hurt. So looking into the matter, including the handcuffing doesn’t bother me. What I am concerned about is the police pressuring the girl to get her to say what fit their theory of the case. Such pressure was at the heart of the Salem Witch Trials of the past, the recent unjust convictions of the boys in the Central Park Jogger case, and the satonic cult/ day care center cases of moral panic.

6 Doug 05.09.14 at 6:52 pm

Well, Carol? I found your response to be very bizarre and not at all a discussion of these facts. The incident happened a week before.

7 Carol Herman 05.09.14 at 7:09 pm

Gitarcarver, easy peasy. Kids fighting in a school yard usually don’t get police interference called in.

And, yes. Because I worked at Kings Country Hospital. In their psychiatric facility, I knew that sometimes kids are hospitalized there. They used to have a dedicated children’s unit. How do you recognize psychosis in a kid? (Obviously, there’s a test.)

Also, you have no idea that the “standard of strength” favors crazies. Until you’ve seen 7 men (orderlies), taking down one out-of-control crazy … just to get 1000 units of Thorazine into them.

Cops know they get called into all sorts of “out-of-control” scenes. And, in this story, here, we know the policeman reached for his handcuffs.

Again. I told a TRUE STORY of an event that happened on the children’s ward at Kings County Hospital. The staff didn’t see it coming. (These kids are medicated.) But sure enough, an 8 year old. Or a 9 year old. Disrobed. And, became such a threat where she could have killed a nurse, or a member of the staff, with the strength behind the wielding chair.

You know, I don’t think the cop in THIS story, was new. I think, instead, he was experienced. And, he wanted to handle the situation so it didn’t get out of hand.

He arrested the kid. Then it goes in front of a judge.

Yup. My first thought that this little girl wasn’t normal.

Sometimes, instead of a child, it’s a dog story. Hard to imagine a moving force that could hurt you, that requires you, as part of your job, to control the situation.

Why are people so hard on cops?

By the way, as far as I can remember, the admissions to Kings County Psychiatric, weren’t voluntary. Judges signed off on lots of those admissions.

Most people just can’t imagine the strength that psychosis yields.

Cops are on the front lines in protecting citizens. Sure. It’s hard to imagine that a “small child” or a dog can do damage. But, yes. They can.

8 nevins 05.09.14 at 8:44 pm

Carol has apparently lost all touch with reality. She still holds fast to the bizarre notion that somehow this was an incidence of psychosis on the part of the child.

A call to the police a week later by a parent suggests that this was not so much a reckoning of events between children, but a settling of scores between now bickering parents.
The child did not need ‘arresting’ as this being a week out with the brief tiff being long past, there was no ongoing action to arrest or stop.
At most this is a juvenile matter, and it certainly cannot be rational policy to address this in a jack booted thug manner, when it should have, and apparently was, dealt with by simple administrative and parenting matter.

9 gitarcarver 05.09.14 at 9:21 pm

Carol Herman,

I am sorry, but your beliefs don’t match what happened in this case.

Yes, the police were called because the mother of the other child in the fight called the police. I suppose you believe that to mean that anyone who gets the police called on them in an incident must be psychotic. After all, people normally “don’t get police interference called in.”

(And remember, this kid did not start the fight nor was she defending herself. She was trying to stop two other girls from fighting when it got out of control and a staff member appeared.)

The police were so worried about this child and what you allege is her “psychosis,” that initially after not finding her at home but at her aunt’s house, they did not go to the aunt’s house but waited 6 days to come back and talk to the girl.

If the girl was so “psychotic” that she needed to taken away in handcuffs, why didn’t the police arrest her on the first day? Is it your contention that these ‘veteran cops” were correct to let what you believe was a “psychotic” child remain on the loose?

Is it your belief that the cops, acting on the same information they had prior to arresting the girl, suddenly found her to be psychotic? Is that what your belief is?

So while you support the cop(s), can you tell me why if the kid was psychotic as you believe, which called for the use of handcuffs, why was this 9 year old taken to the police headquarters, charged, fingerprinted and then immediately released rather than being taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation?

Can you tell us all if this 9 year old was so frighteningly strong and how the two cops had to worried about restraining her how one person stopped the original fight at the youth center? How can it be that one person stopped what you allege to be two other “normal” 9 year olds and a psychotic 9 year old with what you believe was some sort of abnormal strength at the same time?

Maybe the police should get on the “youth center workout program” because you seem to think that one worker is able to do stop kids from fighting while almost 4oo pounds of cop and a parent couldn’t stop a 9 year old sitting in a chair.

Tell me Carol, how was a 9 year old looking at the floor with her arms crossed and with three adults is a threat to the two highly trained 6 foot tall cops in the room? (To say nothing of her mother who had never had an incident with the child?)

You want to know why “people so hard on cops?” They aren’t hard on all cops, just cops like Officers Huspek and McCarthy who handcuffed a 9 year old for no reason. Oh, and can you explain why the officer’s report did not mention that the girl was in a bathing suit and a wrap around velcro towel and instead described her clothing as “tight fitting?” Is it your contention that a wrap around towel is “tight fitting?”

In this case, “people so hard on cops” because these two guys used excessive force and lied on the police report.

You never did answer how this 9 year old should have acted when being questioned by the police. It seems to me that the girl was exactly what one would want her to be – quiet, contrite and respectful.

You believe that behavior to be “psychotic.”

Unlike your fantasy beliefs, she wasn’t loud, she wasn’t threatening, and she wasn’t psychotic.

Finally, these cops weren’t “protecting” anyone from this little girl because there was no reason to believe that she was going to be a danger to anything other than the drops of water from the sprinkler she was running through when the two cops decided to use excessive force and lie about the encounter. (Oh, and in case you missed it, there was no indication from the report that the child struggled in the handcuffs or “resisted” the police.) If she was a threat, they wouldn’t have released her. If she was a threat they would have taken her to the hospital. If she was a threat, why isn’t she on some sort of medication or supervision today?

If you want to talk about this specific case, try and stick with the facts as opposed to what you believe happened based on your experience at a hospital the 9 year old was never admitted to, much less taken to.

10 gitarcarver 05.09.14 at 9:36 pm

Oh, and Carol? In case you want to know why “people are so hard on cops,” may I direct you to the Cato Institute site “Police Misconduct.” ( http://www.policemisconduct.net/ )

The site lists incidents were cops aren’t acting in the best manner. How bad is that behavior? Every work day Tim Lynch gives a roundup of police misconduct around the country.

Here is a list from today:

- sheriff’s deputy has been arrested on a charge of improper sexual activity with person in custody and tampering with physical evidence.
- state trooper was indicted by a grand jury on one count of simple assault.
- former police officer has been arrested and charged with rape of a child.
- deputy is accused of physical abuse against an inmate at the parish jail
- village police officer accused of attacking a 64-year-old man
- sheriff’s office deputy was arrested for alleged domestic violence
- police officer was arrested again for the second time in two weeks for domestic violence.
- The police officer accused of pulling out his gun on a group of children building a tree fort will be suspended.
-sheriff’s deputy is on paid administrative leave after being charged with domestic violence and assault.
- Prosecutors believe an officer attacked and threatened to kill his longtime girlfriend. Disturbing accusations arose as the 52-year-old officer is accused of attacking his 25-year-old girlfriend. The documents say he has two children with her and that she is pregnant with a third – they have reportedly been in a romantic relationship since she was 15 years old.
- A men was sitting in his car, charging his phone, when 6 police officers tried to arrest him, according to court documents. The man now is a quadriplegic
-A Corporal was arrested on a domestic assault and battery complaint, after allegedly trying to force oral sex on a woman,

That is just for one day.

Does that mean all cops are bad? No. I think most rational people think that there are bad apples in all lines of work and cops are no exception.

Police are held to a higher standard under the belief that they should not commit crimes contrary to the very law they are sworn to uphold. At the same time, we as a society take assaults and the murder of police as an attack on our very legal system which is why penalties for those actions are higher than if the same crime was committed against a non-cop.

You seem willing to dismiss the actions of cops simply because they are “on the front lines.”

In the real world, the front lines doesn’t give anyone the right – including the police – to violate the law and the rights of others.

Bad cops are bad cops and a blanket defense of bad cops does not serve society well.

11 Carol Herman 05.09.14 at 10:06 pm

I don’t trust journalists. I think they play “got’cha.” And, no cop has an easy job.

Here? Spooky that a city would hire a cop who would go out and arrest a nine year old “willy nilly.” More than likely there’s history you don’t see.

In most cases? In most cases I’d suspect a kid would begin crying. (Nope. Not just fold their arms up over their chests.)

“A week later” … What did this story sound like as it was told at the precinct? Why wouldn’t the cop “cajole” the kid to the car? What if the cop took the safest actions possible?

What don’t you know? And, why didn’t it set off any red flags?

As to “bad cops” there are worse journalists.

12 Carol Herman 05.09.14 at 11:07 pm

My son is an adult, now. But we moved into this neighborhood because it was known to have an excellent public school system.

He was in second grade, when I noticed one of his classmates was a “bit odd.” For instance, when he tried to convince a little girl to eat glass.

A few years pass. And, he’s caught starting a fire. (Not a little one. But one in an abandoned house.) Maybe, by then he was in the 5th grade. His rich parents tried to move him to a private school. But that didn’t last. Yet when they tried to re-enroll this kid, they couldn’t. (I have no idea what the school district did. But I’m grateful was taken out of the school system.)

Here? I’m rather surprised that people aren’t bringing their own experiences with them. As if this story can build on an agenda, where lots of people think “all nine year olds are just kids.”

Instead, I’ve learned that parents cope with the crazies. (The “fire bug” starters. The boys that try to make little girls swallow ground glass.) At least where I live the school district took notice. And, the parents, (100% PTA involvement), ALL discussed a particular crazy kid. And, were grateful when he no longer attended our local schools.

Before you go ahead and believe a journalist, try to sort out what the “got’cha” can be.

Another story: A friend of mine with 3 little girls was distressed when her oldest child went to school and came home to tell her mom that “someone on the bus” took her lunch money. (A quarter.) The next day’s incident was her daughter’s necklace, that was yanked off her neck.

What did my girlfriend do? The family was living in Ronkonkama, New York. The For Sale sign went up on the property. And, her husband, (working for a national company. Like Xerox. Put in for a transfer.) They moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Right away.

So, long before I think one cop (or 12), do “terrible” things on their jobs, I happen to believe there are psychotic kids. Here? I feel more for the policeman than anyone else in the story.

13 js 05.10.14 at 12:09 am

Carol, you’ve convinced me: we need to assume everyone is dangerous, and then only work down as we’re convinced otherwise. In fact, your argument is so compelling, I’m assuming the police come to your house tonight (because I’m sure you’ve done something wrong in the past week – rolled through a stop sign? Sped while driving? Watered your lawn on the wrong day of the week?). When they come to your house, they should reasonably presume you are psychotic and use SWAT tactics to subdue everyone in your house. When they interrogate you, if you don’t cry at the right times, or have the right amount of eye contact, proper voice inflection, etc., your guilt will be self-evident. The rest is just a formality.

Sarcasm aside, you’ve seen mental health patients, and obviously that’s colored your perspective. But I’m wondering if you’ve ever been arrested. You speak so highly of experience – have you ever thought that some of us are “bringing [our] own experiences with [us]“, but that our experiences are different from yours? Maybe we haven’t been arrested, but we’ve seen people who have been. We’ve seen people who get stuck in the criminal justice system and come out much worse than they started.

Some people need to get handcuffed. Some people need to go to jail. There’s just some of us who believe that number should be kept to a minimum and are terrified of a government who disagrees with us. Please don’t misread me: that’s not hyperbole. I’m not saying, “Oh, that’s too bad; I really wish those policemen hadn’t done that.” I actually mean stuff like this makes it hard for me to fall asleep at night. You’re scared of the rare psychotic nine-year old who tosses aside semi-trucks in her rage; I’m scared of the adults with guns who hide behind their law-given authority.

14 gitarcarver 05.10.14 at 1:52 am

Carol,

I am beginning to see a pattern with you now. You would rather blame other kids in a mental hospital who have nothing to do with this incident than the overbearing and over reacting cops who are at the center of this case. You would transfer your experiences with your son onto some other child because, well, no one knows why.

But what is just as amazing is that while you don’t trust journalists and trust the cops without hesitation or reservations, what you seem to be missing is that the details we are talking about are from the police reports themselves. It wasn’t the journalists who said the cops returned a week later – it was in the cops report. It wasn’t the journalists who claimed that the little girl was handcuffed – it was in the cops’ report. It wasn’t a journalist who claimed the child wasn’t violent – it was in the cops’ reports. It wasn’t the journalists who made up the story about the girl being taken to police headquarters rather than going to a hospital – it was the police report that noted that.

I cannot fathom why you say you trust the police and then discard what they say.

Secondly, no one has said that there are not psychotic children in this world. That is not the issue. No one has asked or brought forth the idea that this child in this case arrested by these officers was psychotic other than you. In fact, the very actions of the police in not taking the girl to be evaluated proves they did not think she had any mental or emotional issues.

Only you, based not on the actual actions of the girl, the statements of the police and the actions of the police, but rather your own experience with other children have chosen to label this child as “psychotic.” Tell me Carol, if the child was “psychotic” as you claim, why was that not in the police report? Why was the child not taken for an evaluation?

Please tell us all why you are disagreeing with the police in this case? If the police are being truthful, why are you saying they are lying? If they are “experienced” as you claim, why are you saying their experience missed the psychosis that you managed to lay onto this kid?

Now you are making the claim without a single shred of evidence that the girl must have had prior issues and or a “history that you don’t see.” Here’s a news flash for you, Carol….. the review board noted that there was no incident with this family, much less this child, before. So who is wrong? You or the cops?

It is amazing that you are willing to discount documented cases of bad cops to say that this child in this case was wrong. It is amazing that you are willing to discount the very words and reports of the officers in this case because those words and actions don’t match up to what you believe.

It is amazing that you want to know why this incident did not set off “any red flags,” yet are denying the existence of the red flags that were set off.

It is amazing that you have set up some false construct that “as there are psychotic kids, there must not be bad cops”. (Or, “because there cannot be bad cops, all cops are perfect.”) That lack of logic is astounding.

Of course the most amazing false construct you have put forth is “because cops have a difficult job, they can abuse a 9 year old for no reason.”

Congratulations Carol. Without a shred of evidence and contrary to the cops’ own statements and report, you have tried to disparage a young child by labeling her as psychotic and having a “history” with the police or discipline issues.

That takes some real doing to ignore reality to that extent.

15 Walter Olson 05.10.14 at 11:45 am

By this point Carol’s critics have had their say (as, I hope, has Carol) and I would remind all sides to refrain from derogatory speculation of a personal nature both about persons not present on this thread to defend themselves, and about thread participants. If there is a need for the discussion to continue, let’s keep it to the non-repetitive, the substantive, and I hope also the constructive.

16 Boblipton 05.10.14 at 6:17 pm

Or at least amusing.

Bob

17 Carol Herman 05.10.14 at 7:41 pm

Doesn’t the average child have slender wrists? Don’t cops carry handcuffs meant to go around the wrists of adults whose wrists are not slender?

When I was nine (and I never tried it with handcuffs); but I can remember trying on one of my mom’s watches. It had a stretchy Speidel band. And, it just slid right off.

I don’t think a policeman would even think of handcuffing a child. But here, where we are led to assume the handcuffs “fit,” are we talking about a kid that was a Big Paluka? (Where I live Patrolmen call in for backup.)

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