An Alabama police detective who was attacked, pistol-whipped with his own gun and had mocking pictures of himself posted on social media afterwards, was hesitant to protect himself for fear of retribution on the streets and in the media, according to the local Fraternal Order of Police president.
Sgt. Heath Boackle, president of the Birmingham Lodge at the Alabama Fraternal Order of Police, said the officer was hesitant to use his weapon against the suspect and instead had it taken from him.
The unnamed officer pulled over a man last Friday in a GMC Yukon. The man got out of the car despite the officer instructing him otherwise and a tussle ensued, according to department reports. During the confrontation, 34-year-old Jenard Shamar Cunningham took the officer’s gun and pistol-whipped him until he was unconscious, according to AL.com.
Bystanders took photos of the beaten and bloody cop and posted them on social media with disparaging captions like “Pistol whipped his ass to sleep.”
Boackle said that “local law enforcement officers are walking on eggshells because they’re so hesitant of how to interact because of what’s taking place in the media,” according to the New York Daily News.
“They’re losing these confrontations,” he said. “He who hesitates is lost.”
Police have, indeed, made headlines nationally for excessive use of force, especially across racial lines, most notably with the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August 9.
Boackle argued the officer in the Birmingham case would have been justified had he tried to shoot Cunningham. Instead, Boackle said, police officers around the country are hesitant to use force, and it can cost them in situations like this.
“They’re hesitant because they’re always portrayed in the media here lately as the criminals, and the criminals are like the victims and the media is just taking it and running with it,” he said on Fox and Friends Monday morning.
Boackle did not immediately return a message from Patch left with his secretary for further elaboration.
He also took exception to the pictures posted of the officer, many of which were demeaning and mocking.
“He was laying there lifeless and people were standing around taking pictures,’’ Boackle told AL.com. “If the tables were turned, and that was a suspect lying there, they would be rioting.”