A South Carolina school district has banned a school resource officer after a video surfaced showing him tossing a student across a classroom floor.
The video shows the officer forcefully pulling the student from the chair and dragging her.
The County Sheriff says the officer was removing a student who was disruptive and refused to leave class. It’s videos like these that the FBI director says is creating anxiety for police officers, but some local law enforcement officials don’t agree.
The Director of the FBI and Chicago’s mayor made some controversial statements saying police officers in the United States fear cell phone videos and second guess themselves over possible scrutiny.
But a retired police officer from our area says the cops he knows don’t feel that way.
Brett Coppins is a retired law enforcement officer. He spent years as a detective for Elkhart Police and now he has his own private investigations business.
“I can tell you right now that 99 percent of these young applicants that come in to be a policeman will tell you the reason why they want to do the job is because they love helping people,” said Coppins.
Coppins talks to officers who still work the streets on a daily basis. He says they’re not concerned about cell phone videos and they’re focused on doing their job.
“The average cop that I talk to, they encourage that because a lot of times video tape can be used to clear them of any wrongdoing,” he said.
He says if anything cell phones are a distraction and a dangerous one.
Coppins says it may take an officer a couple seconds to process that someone is pulling out a cell phone and not a gun, but that’s all the time it takes for a suspect to make a move.
“These men and women are not hesitating to do the right thing,” said Coppins. “They’re hesitating to make sure that everything that they do is exactly right so that they don’t lose their jobs.”
Chris Snyder with Elkhart Police says someone videotaping you while you’re trying to do your job can be distracting, but when it’s happened to his department it did not seem to bother the officers.
Larry Bayman’s grandfather was a South Bend detective. He says in some cases the FBI director may be right because every case is different, but he also agrees with Coppins.
“Officers are cautious. They don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know what someone is pulling out of their pocket,” said Bayman.
Coppins admits that there are sometimes bad apples in law enforcement, but the majority are good officers.
Some people argue that if police don’t have anything to hide they should not have a problem with people videotaping them, but officers say sometimes the cell phone videos are edited and don’t show the whole story.