Illegitimi non carborundum!
After a suspect tried to wrest one cop’s duty weapon from its holster, his backup shot the suspect, ending the confrontation — but the fight was still on, in the courts, in the legislature, on the Internet
On November 9, 2004, Officer Erich R. Strausbaugh of the Kenosha (Wisc.) Police Department made a vehicle contact that some would say “went south.” The driver quickly exited and shoved his hands in his pockets and ignored Strausbaugh’s commands to get back into the vehicle. There was a rigorous struggle and the TASER was used without success. The driver was taken to the ground, but Bell was able to push himself back up to his feet and drive Strausbaugh, who now was being assisted by another officer, backward, slamming him into a vehicle. Bell grabbed Strausbaugh’s duty weapon and attempted to wrest it from its holster. Strausbaugh struggled to retain his weapon, but shouted to the other officers at the scene, “He’s got my gun!”
A backup officer saw the struggle taking place over the weapon and perceived his fellow officer’s life was in danger. He shot Bell, ending the fight. The officers survived, but in law enforcement there are many challenges to be overcome.
The campaign was negative, accusatory and Strausbaugh and the other officers involved found themselves under siege, for nearly six years. All media accounts on the incident, reported that the suspect was “unarmed.” Every officer, who has been in a fight over their weapon on the street and who has survived, knows this is a misrepresentation of the reality of the moment. When the struggle over the weapon is undecided the suspect is either arming himself, or armed. Many officers can’t come forward to correct the record on this point, because their assailants have shot and killed them.
A Politician Joins the Fray
The Chief of Police John Morrissey released this statement on the decision to settle:
“It is a sad day in this country when insurance companies are allowed to settle a case based on dollars, rather than what is just and right. It is disappointing and regrettable that the officers and the city of Kenosha were not afforded the opportunity to have the case heard by a jury, as I am confident the jury would have ruled the use of deadly force was justified.”
Politician Gets Involved
Officer Eric Strausbaugh struggled to hold onto his weapon on November 9, 2004, when his life was in the balance and he was rescued by the back-up officer who he called to the scene for assistance. In the early morning hours of October 31, 2010 Officer Eric Strausbaugh’s life hung in the balance once again. This time he decided to not call for back-up. It is a struggle that he lost.
He killed himself.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum!
The younger officer looked up and asked, “What does that mean?”
The older officer patted the shoulder of the young officer and answered, “Don’t let the bastards get you down!”
God Bless Officer Strausbaugh. May he rest in peace.
For all the rest of you still hitting the streets every day, remember the words of the old veteran: “Illegitimi Non Carborundum!”
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