What a delicate, sensitive creature Lt. Frank Gordo must be — and what a cruel and dangerous world he must live in. Just weeks ago, this brave little man, who is employed as a "resource officer" by California's Stockton Unified School District, survived a furious assault waged by an out-of-control student named Michael Davis,who was arrested and hauled away in handcuffs for the crime of "battery on a police officer." Since that time, this gallant defender of all that is good and true has been subjected to a withering campaign of persecution in retaliation for his bold and necessary enforcement action.
At least, that's the movie that must be playing in Gordo's mind. For those of us sentenced to live in objective reality, the facts are as follows:
In late November, Michael Davis — a five-year-old student diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — was summoned to the principal's office at Rio Calaveras Elementary School for a "scared straight" exercise with Gordo. The youngster, commendably, was neither intimidated nor particularly impressed by the armed stranger in the funny clothes. After Gordo, according to his own account, placed his hands on Michael, the child “pushed my hand away in a batting motion, pushed papers off the table, and kicked me in the right knee” — a suitable target, albeit not the most effective one.
Instead of behaving like an adult and de-escalating the situation, Gordo hog-tied the child by zip-tying his hands and feet, abducted (or, as he would say, "arrested") him, and detained him for at least two hours. In addition to being assaulted, kidnapped, and charged with a spurious offense, Michael was forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in a nearby hospital — since only an emotionally unbalanced child would object to being pawed by a stranger with a gun.
Gordo's account, which portrays the child as an assailant, says that he "guided" the tiny youngster to the floor — and then called for "backup," since a 60-pound kindergartner obviously poses a dire threat to "officer safety."
Michael's mother, Thelma Gray, is employed by the school district as a special education assistant. For two weeks after the episode, she "was led to believe that Michael saw ... and attacked a police officer on sight,” Gray told a news team from the local NBC affiliate KCRA.
Understandably, Gray is preparing to file a lawsuit against the officials responsible for this outrage — and Lt. Gordo, most likely on the advice from his union, has made a preemptive strike.
Last week the Stockton Unified School District informed Gray that it had "received a written complaint against you alleging unlawful discrimination. The complaint was filed by District employee Frank Gordo" — whose tender feelings were injured by the public criticism he received for attacking and kidnapping Gray's five-year-old son at gunpoint.
"The Board prohibits any form of retaliation against the complainant, a participant, a witness, or any other individual involved in the complaint process," the letter sternly advised Gray, apparently on the assumption that Gordo is the helpless victim and Ms. Gray is a figure of unfathomable menace.