Arrogance or Diligence?                                                                       Home

In the civil lawsuit filed by James Phillips, on behalf of his daughter's estate,  against Kevin Beary, sheriff of Orange County, Florida, a disturbing train of thought was expressed in the Defendant's (Beary) motion to dismiss. I quote from the summary of the Sheriff's legal argument:

"The significance of this Court's chore at this stage cannot be overstated. Each time a court proclaims that law enforcement action leads to liability, the court necessarily creates a future hesitancy in law enforcement that could have grave public safety consequences far beyond the unfortunate situation that led to the filing of this lawsuit."  
(View the complete document-
Defendant Kevin Beary's Motion to Dismiss )

Each time a court proclaims that law enforcement action leads to liability, the court necessarily creates a future hesitancy in law enforcement that could have grave public safety consequences...
When the national statistics show that 1/4 of police pursuits end in crashes, what is the logic of making split-second decisions? To chase, or not to chase, is a complex choice with life or death consequences. I would submit that hesitancy is a virtue in these situations. The sheriff's statement would have us believe that split-second decisions are critical to the efficient and safe conduct of his, and his deputies, duties. While this would be true in a mainstreet shootout in Dodge City, logic leads us to the inescapable conclusion that a more methodical approach would promote public safety. Further, there is an undercurrent in this statement that implies that the Orange County Sherriff is not accountable and that he, and his deputies, are above the law. A basic tenet of the American ideal, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and The Bill of Rights, is that the Government, and it's agents, are accountable to the people. Perhaps Sheriff Beary, and his attorneys, have not read the Constitution that he has sworn to uphold.

...grave public safety consequences far beyond the unfortunate situation that led to the filing of this lawsuit.
Maybe I am too close to this case, but I can't imagine how any situation could have greater public safety consequences than this case. The useless, needless, and terrifying death of an innocent young lady-the price does not come much higher.

The arrogance of the Orange County Sheriff Office is echoed in a statement made by Comdr. Angelo Nieves, spokesman for the Sheriff's office, less than 24 hours after the incident:
"The chase took place according to department policy, they were dealing with an incident in which they believed there were firearms involved." Later events have shown that the Orange County Sheriff's Office had only a cursory understanding of the events at that time, and indeed 15 months later have still not come to terms with the actual events. Nieves' statement demonstrates that they believed they knew everything they needed to know about the events of December 13, 2001 and there were no additional pertinent facts, and that the conduct of the Sheriff's Office was without fault.   Such monumental arrogance leads the Sheriff's Office to repeat the same mistakes over, and over, and over...

 

James Phillips
March 26, 2003



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