Eleouise Adcock isn’t interested in selling her home on the banks of the San Jacinto River to the marine towing company that has bought properties on either sides of her house. The 90-year-old great-grandmother is also upset with excavation crews she believes are threatening her property.
On several occasions she has shown up with a shotgun and warned the crew away. On July 31, the crew called 911 to report that the elderly woman had supposedly threatened them. When deputies arrived, Mrs. Adcock refused to hand over the shotgun — so a SWAT team was deployed to wait her out. Eventually she grew tired and put down the gun, at which point SWAT operators rushed the house and then gently took her into custody, handing her over to paramedics.
The SWAT call-out in this case was clearly an overreaction, and the outcome was much better than could reasonably have been expected. Last year, a SWAT team in Pine Bluff, Arkansas slaughtered a 107-year-old man named Monroe Isadore after it was called out to deal with a domestic disturbance involving a firearm. By the time police arrived, the situation had stabilized. If an arrest was justified, the officers could simply have waited out the centenarian.
Rather than doing so, the SWAT team followed military protocol by flinging a tear gas grenade into the residence and deploying an entry team to hurl flash-bang grenades into the bedroom. That provoked the terrified and confused old man into firing a few shots — thereby “justifying” the lethal torrent of lead unleashed by the SWAT operators.
There was a time, not long ago, when police officers were expected to de-escalate conflicts, rather than applying the military’s “Powell Doctrine” and employing overwhelming force. Elouise Adcock and her family are supremely fortunate that the police in this episode resurrected the older model of crisis resolution — and the outcome in last year’s incident in Pine Bluff underscores the fact that this was a genuinely exceptional case.1:42 pm on August 4, 2014 Email William Norman Grigg