Officer Alex explains why it’s really not a good idea to resist arrest.
“NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER!” my partner cried as he took our customer to the ground in a surprisingly graceful rotating arm-bar takedown.
I instinctively cocked my head to the side like a dog when he said it from the sheer randomness, and I let my hands help him cuff the gentleman while my head tried to sort that out. This guy was weird.
Despite the clarity of our message, our client was still trying to fight us even now, face down on the ground with his arm locked behind his back, preventing him from moving but not preventing him from kicking his feet like a petulant child and blowing little puffs of dust from where his mouth was now lying parallel to the ground. I decided to join my partner in the attempt to confuse him, and said, “Please! You are making a German spectacle of yourself, sir!”
That’s a real technique, you know; confusion. Anything that makes the mind hesitate for a few seconds (like my co-worker did to me in the opening sentences) creates an opportunity for your opponent—or in this case, your arresting officer.
I’ve never understood why people fight the police. I mean, I know why they do it in the heat of the moment, but not in general. It’s not that we always win, but you have to admit, even when we lose, you lose as well eventually. It’s a bad investment and 10 times out of 10, it’s avoidable.
Personally? I hate fighting. It gets me dirty, occasionally sweaty, and, as it will in this case, it makes me have to type. A lot.
Despite what “activists” would have you believe, most cops agree with me. The title “peace officer” actually means just that: We want peace, joy, happiness…the same thing as the “activists,” the only real difference between us being that we have “jobs,” when you get to the meat of it. Despite our efforts to convey these wishes, though, people still insist on forcing us to use all those wonderful toys on our belt.
More than once I have forewarned a potential recipient of force to, “Look at this stuff. Look at all of this,” I would say, as I kept my shoulders in place, eyes locked on theirs, while hovering my hands in a circular motion around my waist, back and forth as if dancing slowly with myself. “Do you really want me to start using these things? I can start from left to right or right to left just pulling things off to get you in handcuffs, or you can just give me your wrists. I have to carry this stuff with me all day no matter what, so it’s your choice, but look at all of these things” (my hands still moving back and forth), “look at them. Are you sure about this?” And now that I think about it, that always worked. They got to make an informed decision instead of a fairly rash one while they were weighing their literal fight-or-flight options, and it was done all in an effort to not… freakin’… fight with them. Why? Because I’m a nice guy, that’s why.
For those that do not make the right choice? Ugh. We really are trained to use the least amount of force necessary. When we cross that line, we tend to make the news (and what we call “The Federal Court”) so excessive force really does happen less than one percent of the time force is used, but there’s really no way to make someone trying to kick your ass very scientific or easy to manage. In fact, despite what you may think it’s really not “our job” to get hit or shot or spit on; those are things that happen from time to time, but they are absolutely not mandates, nor is it anyone’s “right” to do those things to us. And when they do? We’ve got to square the consequences of your actions with an initial response using the least amount of force necessary to take you to the quiet room, and ultimately the court room you have insisted upon seeing. Speaking of which, where was I?
Ah, “Mr. Puffs of Dust.”
Our client today was upset with his wife to the point of punching her in the stomach before destroying their living room, and he had yet to shed his angst when we arrived (the “hands hovering over the gunbelt trick” not being an option here). And for all the drama, we never used a tool or closed fist on the guy…just some basic restraint techniques, fortunately for us. (Well, and for him too, I suppose.) Because when you think about it?
Nobody really does put Baby in the corner.