Assaulting Women and the Elderly: Our Heroic Police at Work

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The initial police account of the September 18 incident that left 84-year-old Orlando resident Daniel J. Daley fighting for his life claimed that the elderly WWII veteran had “struck” an officer. The police had been summoned when Daley — who had enjoyed a couple of drinks at a nearby bar — confronted a tow truck operator who was impounding his car, which was parked in front of a grocery store.

Tim Scott, owner of The Caboose bar, told the Orlando Sentinel that Daley “had a few drinks but wasn’t out of control.” After an officer materialized, Daley — according to multiple eyewitness accounts — “touched” the unidentified guardian of public order in a “non-threatening” fashion.

Physical conduct by a mere Mundane, of course, is an unendurable affront to the sanctity of such an exalted emissary of the State. As a result, according to Scott, the Hero In Blue “hip-checked the guy and slammed his head into the pavement.” Eyewitness Nicole Butler confirmed that account, saying that the elderly man was “body-slammed” to the pavement after he put his hands on the officer’s shoulders.

Lt. C. Laboo of the Orlando Police told the Sentinel that Daley had been “drunk” and “belligerent” and “struck” the officer, who merely reacted in self-defense. He also said that the elderly man had been hospitalized for “some sort of laceration to the face.”

Officials at Florida Hospital in Orlando offered a different assessment of Daley’s injuries, describing the elderly man as in “critical” condition following emergency surgery to repair severed vertebrae.

“He’s barely breathing and he might die,” Daley’s understandably infuriated son Greg told the Sentinel. “It’s hard to understand how something like this happened. It wasn’t like he was going to fight the officer. He’s 84!”

This is true, of course. But then again, nothing brings out the raw courage of an armed tax-feeder like an opportunity to throw down with an unarmed octogenarian — or to do battle with a distraught 50-year-old woman.

Brenda Martin of Wister, Oklahoma (a town of about 1,000 people) was assaulted by Police Chief Chris Ford last July 13. The entire incident was captured by a security camera, and the resulting footage is available on YouTube.

According to The Oklahoman, Martin had gone to City Hall to complain about the dubious way the police department was investigating the death of a friend. After a brief and unpleasant exchange, Ford ordered Martin out of his office. The video shows Martin leaving the office, then being shoved twice by the much larger Ford. Martin then turns to a friend and says something; at this point, Ford reaches out to grab the 50-year-old woman and begin the familiar “arrest” routine.

“He [Ford] lost his cool when he heard me yelling for her [Martin’s friend] to record it,” Martin recalled.

When Martin balked at being abducted by her corpulent assailant, Ford slammed the woman face-first into the wall. Still unable to subdue his terrified victim, the chief executed a clumsy, un-athletic parody of a tai-otoshi throw, sweeping the woman’s legs from beneath her and then grinding her face into the floor. You just know this guy had been itching to use that move on somebody — and here was the perfect opportunity. Sheer martial prowess of this kind hasn’t been seen since Kramer dominated a dojo of grade-school age Karate students on Seinfeld.

At no point did Martin do anything to justify an arrest, let alone a violent assault at the hands of an armed bureaucrat. She was charged with “using profanity in public and resisting arrest” by her assailant, who generously declined to add “disorderly conduct” and “disrespecting a police officer” (which isn’t a crime under any circumstances, and should instead be seen as something of a civic duty) so the victim could seek medical treatment for a dislocated knee, bruised ribs, and a black eye.

Before being appointed police chief in Wister last December, Ford was employed by the Le Flore County Sheriff’s Department. He was also deployed to the Middle East with the Oklahoma National Guard. He is currently on a “leave of absence” for the supposed purpose of attending college classes, and will be reinstated after the department performs the familiar ritual of official exoneration.

Wister employs three full-time and five part-time officers. It has no need for a police department of any size. Then again, as Murray Rothbard pointed out long ago, liberty and property-centered public order would both benefit greatly from the immediate abolition of all government police forces everywhere.

8:26 pm on September 19, 2010