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Over zealous or just doing his job?

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  • Over zealous or just doing his job?

    I came across this old article and thought it would be of interest to security professionals LIKE US.

    Maybe I'm just being to hard on the officer, but working at a site that deals with the homeless on a daily bases (downtown Los Angeles) I would have simply let the guy leave when he started to. Our standard MO when dealing with homeless is: you call for back up (first), once your back up has arrived you make contact with the individual and advise him (or her) of the policy (no loitering, panhandling, etc). 9 times out of 10 at that point they leave, occasionally they might curse at you (so what). If things do escalate you have a partner to assist in the arrest. And you certainly don't lose your baton or try a lot of fancy moves.

    Fortunately no one was killed.

    After near dismissal, Frazier heads to trial

    By Ari Bloomekatz

    Tuesday, January 27, 2004

    After almost dropping the felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon, a judge ruled to move forward to a trial against the suspect shot in an altercation at Kerckhoff Hall.

    Police say UCPD Officer Terrence Duren confronted Willie Davis Frazier, Jr. in the Kerckhoff Hall second floor study lounge on Oct. 5. A physical confrontation ensued and Duren, reportedly in fear for his life, shot Frazier.

    At the preliminary hearing Monday, Duren was asked by both the prosecution and defense to recount the entire event.

    Duren said he entered the study lounge around 10 p.m. that evening and noticed Frazier sitting down. He said he approached Frazier and asked if he was a student or faculty member. Duren said Frazier responded “Why are you harassing me?” and became belligerent.

    “I said ‘if you are a student or staff member you would be appreciative of the security measures,’” Duren said, adding that he had activated a mini cassette tape recorder on his gun-belt and had made a call for backup.

    Duren said he placed his hand softly on Frazier’s shoulder after Frazier abruptly stood up and tried to leave.

    Duren said he then tried to detain Frazier for an investigation of trespassing – noting that the study lounge is restricted to students and faculty. He also said he thought Frazier was a trespasser because his demeanor and clothes were those of a homeless person.

    When Frazier attempted to flee, Duren said he grabbed Frazier in a bear hug and began yelling “relax, relax.” Duren said Frazier was yelling “help me, somebody call the police,” and that he knew he was being watched by video cameras and witnesses on the stairwell who saw part of the incident.

    Duren said he tried to perform a number of holds on Frazier but was not able to control or subdue him, and ended up wedging Frazier against a wall.

    While up against the wall, Duren said his finger was scratched and he pushed Frazier away.

    “He was escalating the situation, so I was going to escalate it by using my collapsible baton,” Duren said.

    Duren said he struck Frazier right above the knees and was yelling, “Get on your knees, get down,” while Frazier was against the wall. Duren did not remember whether or not he struck Frazier two or three times, but that after one of the blows he lost control of the steel baton.

    When he turned to retrieve his baton, Duren said Frazier ran away to hide in a nearby bathroom.

    Duren said he thought about letting Frazier stay in the bathroom and waiting for back-up to come, but was worried Frazier may be a threat to civilians if they were in the bathroom.

    Duren said Frazier punched him in the face with a closed fist when he entered the bathroom.

    “Fists were flying. He was striking me, I was striking back. It was violent,” Duren said.

    Duren said he tried to subdue Frazier by performing a leg sweep, however, in the process, he said he was kneed in the crotch.

    “It was excruciating pain. I felt my muscles become marshmallows,” Duren said.

    Now both on the bathroom floor, Duren said he felt a tug on his semi-automatic weapon. Originally during the preliminary hearing, Duren said Frazier had the weapon in his hand, however, he later said that Frazier was only lifting it slightly out of the holster.

    Duren said both he and Frazier had their hands on the gun and were struggling for control – although Duren had his hand on the handle of the gun and the barrel faced Frazier’s chest at all times. Duren said they were bouncing off the walls of the bathroom and said he was not sure who pulled the trigger, but the gun went off, hitting Frazier.

    Duren then said he separated himself and saw Frazier holding his baton. Duren said he pointed his weapon at Frazier and told him to drop the baton, but when Frazier appeared to be approaching, he shot him, ending the incident.

    Frazier is now charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of assault, and one count of removing an officer’s weapon – charges that could mean up to 20 years in prison.

    Toward the end of the hearing, John Raphling, Frazier’s attorney, made a motion to dismiss both counts of assault – nearly successfully.

    Raphling said Frazier at no time had enough control over the gun to make an assault with a deadly weapon and that Frazier is entitled to at least some self defense.

    “The people’s position is that the officer was in performance of his duty,” said District Attorney Keri Modder, who was sitting in for lead prosecution District Attorney Frank Tavelman while he was in another trial.

    “My instincts tell me that the people’s argument is not persuasive here,” said the judge, noting that the weapon had been pointed completely at Frazier during the initial shot.

    However, after taking a short recess and researching the subject, the judge reversed his position and denied the motion to dismiss.

    The incident will now go to trial, with the initial arraignment on Feb. 9 where Raphling said Frazier will plead not guilty. Raphling said the first pre-trial hearing will be 60 days from the arraignment.

    Duren said he hopes that Frazier doesn’t get sent to jail, but instead gets mental help.

    “You put this man in prison, and he’s going to get harder. This man needs mental help. In a way I feel sorry for him,” Duren said.

  • #2
    I don't see anything wrong with the officers actions. Waiting for back-up might have been wiser but every action he took seems to be justified. One thing to remember is his use of force is excused while in performance of duties and police officers can use any force to make an arrest.
    Last edited by bigdog; 11-05-2007, 11:41 PM.
    "Get yourself a shovel cause your in deep Sh*t"


    • #3
      I think this was handled right , yes he should have had backup , But it was a causal contact at the start to see if the man was a student ( if he was why need the other officer, If he was not then was he supposed to disengage and wait for back up ?) Think about how many times a day you make casual converstaion with people, even who dont look like they belong. . Also how many times.The Officer is a police officer and has a right to detain the person for investigative purposes. The demeanro may have meant he was up to no good. When the suspect started to fight he used the proper measures. Should he have waited for back up to go in the bathroom? you could argue both sides. When they started fighting and the officer felt a tug on the gun that is assualt with a deadly weapon as that is the only reason that some one would grab an officers gun. This sounds like the suspect got the baton in the restroom altercation where the officer was focused on saving his gun. The shooting seems justified as the suspect had a baton and could inflict serious injury or death. I fell this police officer was right in his actions.
      Here endith the lesson


      • #4
        I have to agree that these actions seem to be justifiable. Why would anyone request back up for a casual contact, even transient flying the sign, or silver mining... I just let others, if applicable, know via radio that I am out person(s), and my location, on my account. I would request back up when needed.

        Car54, when you say your standard MO is to call for B/U, does that mean it's policy to do so before any contact, or just your compnay's personal history of havnig casual contact turn violent with transients? I've dealt with transients from Portland to Reno, and hardly have issues with them going violent, even in the midst of committing a crime. But who knows, those LA area transient might be a different bread...

        So, it's been four years since the court/news story, how did this end.
        ~Super Ninja Sniper~
        Corbier's Commandos

        Nemo me impune lacessit

        Grammical and Spelling errors may occur form time to time. Yoov bin worned


        • #5
          Sometimes it's not just a matter of policy, but of the law and the realities of the particular environment. Like the officer in this article I work for a Campus Police Department (as did my sister did a while back in San Francisco, she's a Deputy Sheriff now), and for us sometimes "catch and release" isn't an option.

          What happens to a Campus police officer if it's found out that you escorted someone off campus without determining who they were and later on it's found out that a crime occured near that area? Answer: bad things.
          What happens to that same Campus police officer if he/she doesn't determine who the person is and it turns out that the person had a major want/warrant out for them? Answer: worse things lol. You pretty much have to temporarily detain them in order to conduct an quick investigation into whether a crime is being committed, not doing so is basically neglecting your duty as a peace officer.

          I know because I've been on the carpet for it (the 1st case, not the 2nd) and at 1st didn't understand what I'd done wrong. I was still pretty new (3 months, just off FTO) with my department, most of my experiance up to that point had been as a private security officer where the company and/or client just wanted me to "make the problem go away" (an attitude shared in some ways by my college's administration) and my 1st police job was in a small town where I never dealt with any urban homeless. So I still had the "just make the problem go away" mentalitly.

          So I escort a "harmless" homeless non-student off campus, I figured the bag he was carrying was his and didn't give it a second thought. Turns out he'd just stolen it, and only shear dumb luck allowed us to recover the property and arrest the guy (the owner of the bag just happened to be standing outside the door as i was escorting the guy off). Boy did I feel stupid.

          I've never let it happen again, and in almost 10 years since only twice so far I've had people actually fight (one guy ran, another tried to swing on me as I was patting him down) so i can see how it can go as wrong as it did in this case. Still you gotta do what you gotta do lol.
          ~Black Caesar~
          Corbier's Commandos

          " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher


          • #6
            Black Cesear is correct. The second I read "UCPD," wondered what the problem was. This wasn't a "security guard" asking someone to leave and not return. This was a police officer investigating a trespassing person. The police officer is able to arrest in presence for misdemeanor trespass, and this is part of this job description.

            Many security companies will repeatedly say, "Just remove them, don't bother the police or try to arrest the guy, just get him out." That's fine, so long as your job is protecting the client's interests (asking trespassers to leave without confrontation or problem), but if you're job is to enforce law, then there's a problem.

            The man is breaking a law by being in the student lounge.
            Some Kind of Commando Leader

            "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law


            • #7
              Any LEO has the right to stop, detain and question ANYONE without the need for an arrest or for any valid reason. I have had SL's dump stump only for me to signal the police in the area to speak with them and this has resulted in the arrest of some of them with warrants (no bonus for me). Whilst in this case the escalation of force was reasonable, the officer had only his duty weapon to rely upon to protect himself and anyone else who may have been unaware of the situation. I am upset that it came to this level and do know some overzealous heroes who will take advantage but did not see it, in this case at all.
              "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


              • #8
                I did a quick search on the officers name who was involved in the shooting and it turns out it's the same officer who recently repeatedly tasered that UCLA student.

                Not passing judgement, just thought it was a odd coincidence.

                And yes, we always call, and wait, for back up before making any type of contact with the homeless. It's been our experience that their behavior tends to be too unpredictable.