Former Martinsville, Indiana Police Captain William Jennings — a jowly adult male of expansive carriage — assaulted a 10-year-old, 94-pound boy last March 30 at Tender Teddies Day Care.
The police had been summoned by the manager to deal with the “unruly” boy, who quite understandably put up what struggle he could when armed strangers placed their hands on him: The child “began kicking as [the police] tried to restrain him,” in the words of a local news account.
Eventually the child calmed down, but Jennings decided to administer a little “street justice” by slapping him in the face. His partner, Officer Darren Johnson, reacted to this outburst of gratuitous violence by “administer[ing] the stun gun” — to the 10-year-old victim.
“I told my captain after we left … `I didn’t want to tase that 10-year-old child,’” Johnson told a disciplinary hearing. “It’s not something I expected doing until the point my superior officer took the action that he did. I felt the situation was out of control and I’m sorry it had to come to that.”
Johnson, significantly, is the one who testified that the child had already calmed down prior to Jennings’ assault and his own decision to employ his portable electro-shock torture device.
According to his family, Jennings “is good with children” and has “never been violent” — that is, until he was swaddled in a government-issued costume and clothed in the supposed authority to use potentially lethal force against any Mundane (even a 10-year-old child) who displays anything other than reflexive submission to the Sanctified Agents of Government Coercion.
Jennings compounded his aggravated assault on a child with perjury by neglecting to mention the slapping incident in his official report. Johnson’s act was nothing less than felonious assault on a child with a deadly weapon. Predictably, both have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing.
Jennings was forced to resign, thereby becoming a “gypsy cop” who will probably find employment in the same field elsewhere without much difficulty. Johnson faces a 45-day unpaid suspension and two years’ professional probation — which means that he will be back on the job in a month and a half, when he should be headed for prison.
Robert Threadgill, an inoffensive 80-year-old man from Wimberly, Texas, was severely beaten by four heroic paladins of public order on June 22 after being falsely accused of “trespassing” on public land near a local fishing hole.
As the octogenarian attempted to address the concerns raised by four intrepid deputies from the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, his son Stephen Threadgill approached the scene out of concern for his father.
After Robert assured Stephen that everything was all right, the younger man turned around — only to be clubbed in the head from behind by one of the stalwart defenders of public order. This valiant specimen was joined by a comrade who beat the victim severely before dragging him seventy feet to a patrol car.
While Stephen was being assaulted, Robert was thrown to the ground by two other deputies, who injured the elderly man’s shoulder so severely that surgery will be required. When Robert’s 78-wife arrived, she, too was threatened with “arrest” — that is, criminal assault and kidnapping.
Neither Stephen nor Robert was formally placed under arrest. They sat suffering in a patrol car until a team of EMTs — who heard about the incident over the fire department’s radio scanner — arrived and examined their injuries. At the time, Stephen was unconscious.
As the victims were bundled into an ambulance, one of their assailants taunted them by saying that “just because you are going to the hospital doesn’t mean it will end there.”
Robert Threadgill, a slight man around 5’8″ tall, “was heard begging for the officers to stop hurting him and his son,” relates his daughter, who has published photographs of the victims. “Stephen is about 5’5″, 125 pounds. I can’t imagine that they presented any kind of threat. A witness described the events as totally unprovoked and a vicious attack on an elderly man and his son who was walking away from the scene.”
As is always the case when badge-wearing bullies commit criminal assault, the primary victim, Robert Threadgill, has been charged with the non-crime of “resisting arrest,” but to date neither he nor his son has been charged with trespassing. The Sheriff’s office has denied requests for the arrest report and refused to comment on the case. Then again, why should they bother? After all, it’s not as if someone important was hurt.
An internal inquiry by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) has found … no, wait for it … “no evidence of inappropriate action by HCSO deputies” in the beating and abduction of Robert and Stephen Threadgill. The elder Threadgill has been charged with “disorderly conduct by profane and abusive language and resisting arrest.”
According to the story told by the assailants, it was necessary to subdue the 80-year-old victim forcefully because at one point during the encounter “Threadgill postured as if he were going to strike the deputies.”
So it was a matter of “officer safety,” you see.
10:37 am on July 7, 2010
Email William Norman Grigg