I was watching a video today about a guy in a county jail who was beaten and wrestled and fought with by staff until he eventually died. Now having worked in a prison, I know inmates can be very trying and very often uncooperative to the extreme. Usually when this happens, its a battle of wills between the officers and the inmate.. Inmates are mad and unwilling to accept whatever they think is a wrong doing toward them. (may or may not be) Many times its just them being assholes and wanting to fight.. Cops are more often than not.. very willing to oblige. Cops and detention officers are trained in situations just like that to react in a certain way. They meet force with force and usually a bit more force than they are faced with. They try to not let the inmate have the advantage due to their lack of effort to control the situation. To the untrained eye, this usually looks pretty rough, and the truth is, it is rough…. Its meant to be. What cops expect people to understand is.. do not resist and you wont get hurt. the more you resist, the more were going to hurt you.
LEO’s and Detention officers are trained in what to do but many times situations are carried too far. Not that the officers are wrong in following their training but in that they are not recognizing problems that should be recognized. I think much of this is attributed to attitudes and adrenaline. When anyone is fighting hard and heavy, they are not always thinking about all possible issues. We have seen where people being subdued have died for various reasons.. Not being able to breath is a common one.. Officers deal with the criminal element so often that they learn all the excuses and tricks and stunts that criminals pull to maneuver the officers. Telling the officer that something is hurting them unbearably and they cant breathe and any number of other half truths. Criminals lie.. its not uncommon for them to say they cant breathe just to get you to ease up on them so they can attempt to get the upper hand again.. This is why cops generally don’t ease up in those situations.. On the other hand as we have seen in several viral videos that the person gasping for air and saying they cant breathe were telling the truth. This is something I personally think cops should be held responsible for and trained to learn the difference in bullshit and the real thing. When you are dealing with a man who weighs as much as a small car, you should have enough sense to take into account that he is not going to be able to move like normal people. He is not going to be able to lie flat on his back very well or actually in many positions… I see cops do things like digging their knee into the back of someone pretty much unable to move already and start yelling at them. many times that person is moving and squirming because of the pain being put on them.. when you twist someones arm to the breaking point, there is almost no way to just sit still and take that pain.. anyone is going to squirm and try to relieve that pain.. its human nature.. Many cops dont seem to take that into consideration.. they just scream louder to stop resisting and bear down harder on the arm bar or the choke hold or whatever they are applying. Now im not trying to come across as a hug a thug saying be nice to criminals.. what I am saying is recognize when you have the upper hand and your actions are escalating a situation even higher than it needs to go. sometimes pain causes resistance from the pain, not resistance from the situation. You are screaming stop resisting and hurting them to the point of making them try to make you stop hurting them. its like OK OK OK stop hurting me and put the damn cuffs on me. when a fat bastard tells you he cant breathe and your answer is.. you can talk so you can breathe.. NO. you dont understand how easy it is to lose your breathe when you weigh 300-400lbs your weight on top of their own weight while laying on their chest and stomach is like having a damn boa constrictor sucking down on you where you cant take in a breath.. That is how people die from that..
What made me think to write this was my Alumni group from the Boys Ranch where I grew up. There has been so much talk lately about abuse on kids out there growing up in the 40s through the 80s. Some of the abuse being talked about was how rough some staff were when punishing the boys. While there was some of the punishment that was way out of line I would call real abuse, some of it was probably pretty harsh by the standards of the day and would be considered abuse by today’s standards hands down.. of course most corporal punishment is considered abuse by today’s standards.. (not in my opinion) We got licks with a belt for punishment among other things. Other things usually meant lots of hard work. The licks we got while I was there were generally your run of the mill whipping with a regular old leather belt. We had a swat limit (per session) of 10 licks. Doesn’t mean they couldn’t walk you out and walk you right back in a few minutes later for another session. they had their ways to deal with hard heads.
I bring this up because as kids, most of us were hard headed boys (as most boys are) and I would assume dealing with a pack of boys with hard heads and defiant attitudes must be a lot like dealing with inmates in a prison. they are stubborn and will try to figure a way around anything including trying to stay out of trouble through whatever means necessary aside from doing the right things. I would assume much of the staff got pretty irritated with kids not doing what they were supposed to do (in general) and found ways to go a little above and beyond to try to get a kids attention. One of my dorm parents had a belt he used specifically for spanking.. It was a very thick heavy belt and when he hit you, you knew it. many of the staff had reputations.. some couldn’t give licks to save their life ( or so they would let you believe until they wanted to show you otherwise) and some of them had reputations for just being damn mean and someone you didn’t ever want to have to take licks from. I dont really know for sure but I think a lot of this heavy special belts or belts lined with nickles or whatever they did to go over and above to get a kids attention had to do with kids just being stubborn.. kids are like inmates in the fact that they are stubborn as hell and will many times cut off their nose to spite their face.. which means they would be so stubborn, they would not comply just to show you they arent going to give in.. they can take your licks.. you cant break them.. Sometimes the staff accepted that challenge.. and the truth is.. sometimes some kids needed to be broken because they were just bad kids and needed to be set right.. they have to be shown that they dont make the rules.. they follow them.. thats just how I saw it. Was it abuse? by today’s standards? hell yes.. by the standards of our day.. no I dont really think so.. it was a rough time and we weathered the rough times and were better for it.. lessons were learned. if nothing else we learned what being unfair looked like and what to do to avoid it in our adult hood with our kids.. But most of us did get the education that was meant for us through the hard work and strict discipline. Thats not to say there was no abuse but abuse was not everything that the ranch provided..
just some thoughts..