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Am I totally wrong here?


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  • Am I totally wrong here?


    Fla. Cop Suspended Over Arrest of Woman Racing to Hospital
    Florida Deputy Suspended After Rough Arrest of Woman Who Was Speeding to Hospital to See Dad
    The Associated Press

    TAMPA, Fla.

    A sheriff's deputy was suspended for manhandling a sobbing woman who was speeding to a hospital to see her ailing father and didn't want to wait for him to write a ticket.

    After Deputy Kevin Stabins stopped Melissa Langston a second time in the hospital parking lot, video from his cruiser's dashboard shows him yanking her from her car and slamming her against it.

    "Please let me see my dad, " she cries as he handcuffs her. "If it was your dad ..."

    Stabins cuts her off, saying, "Now you're not going to see him, 'cause you're going to jail."

    Stabins, 29, was suspended for five days without pay for using excessive force. Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee signed off on the suspension Tuesday, and Stabins will begin serving it on May 22.

    Charges against Langston, 37, were dropped.

    "I think (Stabins) understands that he was wrong and could have handled it better," Gee told The Tampa Tribune for Thursday's editions. "On both sides, really, it could have been done better."

    Stabins first stopped Langston after clocking her driving 63 mph in a 35-mph zone near University Community Hospital in November.

    The video shows her telling the deputy that her father had suffered a heart attack and had driven himself to the emergency room.

    Stabins returned to his car to write a ticket, but after several minutes, she drove into the hospital parking lot. After a short pursuit, she brakes, and he strides up to her, saying, "That was not smart."

    "I need to get there. I'm sorry but oh, my god!" she says.

    As he tries to pull her out of the car, her foot slips off the brake and the car begins to roll forward.

    "Put it in park. Put it in park. Get out of the car. Hands behind your back. Now you're going to jail," Stabins says.

    He gets Langston out of the car, put her in an arm lock that left bruises, spun her around, and slammed her against her car's hood hard enough her feet leave the ground.

    Her father, William Johnston, stayed in the hospital six days, his wife, Mary Johnston, told the St. Petersburg Times for Thursday's editions. He went home with two stents in his arteries.

    It was not clear when the suspension takes place. The sheriff's office did not return a message left early Thursday by The Associated Press.

    Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures
    This was posted on another board I post on, a political board. I took the side of the officer. She was clocked at 63 in a 35, just because her father is in the hospital I do not believe that she has a right, or should be exempted from speed laws putting innocent lives at risk. Not only that, but then she sped off from the officer when he went to write the ticket, he arrested her. Everyone else on the board is siding with the lady.

    Maybe other LEOs disagree with my position? What do you guys think?
    Last edited by Kildars; 05-07-2007, 04:01 AM.

  • #2
    Well, some may flame me for this but I don't rightly care. Granted, she almost doubled the speed limit but also consider her frame of mind. Not saying it was okay, but circumstances could have dictated other options here. I would not have done what this officer did. Was he right in citing/arresting her? By the letter of the law, yes. BUT, if he man-handled her the way the story reads and she was not resisting at all, then he did use a little excessive force, which is never acceptable for a police officer to do.

    Just my two cents.


    • #3
      You know this is why police officers have discretion. Think about like this, what if someone you loved like a son or wife was in the hospital on deaths door. I know a speed limit sign wouldnt stop me from maxing out my speedometer.

      I do not pretend to know all the circumstances,
      1. was the father deathly ill
      2. was the infraction so great as to jeopardize other peoples safety
      3. was she combative.

      Not saying the officer was wrong, I wasnt there. I just know that if my son or wife was at the hospital or in danger it would take more than a police officer to stop me from seeing them. (Again, though it would have to be a significant injury or life threanting, not a routine hospital stay like getting your tonsils pulled)
      Annoy a liberal use facts and logic

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      • #4
        Handled differently, maybe. Well try to look at it like this, If she's driving nearly DOUBLE the speed limit on city streets and in a parking lot, to get to her ill father, is her dad's life worth more than all the other innocent people she could have killed? NO! This lady was wrong! Every thing she did in this incident was wrong and the police officer is taking the fall. BS!
        "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

        "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep


        • #5
          They're both wrong. She for driving off, he for not using his head... Use some descretion here. Minor traffic violation -vs- real medical emergency. How about this situation if it was your wife? Heck, they were right in front of the hospital. Nuff said.
          "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

          Thomas Jefferson


          • #6
            Well, lets look at the list of events that occurred leading to the arrest....

            The driver -
            1. Not being in the proper state of mind to be driving in the first place.
            2. Speeding (63 in a 35)
            3. Driving off before the traffic stop was finished.
            4. Attempting to drive off a second time while in the parking lot.

            The officer -
            1. Possibly using too much force when effecting the arrest.

            Quite honestly, it looks like the driver is more to blame for the incident than the officer. The driver reached several decision points during the incident to prevent the arrest from ever occuring.

            First, they shouldnt have been driving. If she is so emotionally upset about her father being in the hospital, she should have had someone drive for her. Perhaps, no one else was available, who knows.

            Second, she was speeding. Not just by a little, but ALOT. Ive stopped people on their way to the hospital for emergencies and I seldom write them a ticket, provided I can verify it is legitimate. However, lets be realistic she was doing almost double the speed limit. That is reckless and very dangerous.

            Third, she didnt wait the additional few minutes to allow the officer to conclude the traffic stop. If she had just been patient she would have arrived at the hospital just fine. She could have taken the ticket to the court and explained the circumstances of the situation and there probably would have been a good chance the prosecutor or judge would have dismissed the ticket.

            Fourth, she should have stopped the car and put it in park. To the officer, when the car moved forward, it appeared she was trying to leave AGAIN. Every officer I know would have tried to stop her and not just let her go. I repeat, if she wasn't in the proper mind-set to put the car in park, she shouldnt have been driving in the first place.

            Any one of those decision points could have prevented the arrest from ever occurring, but for whatever reason, she made bad decisions.

            Granted I wasnt there and didnt see it, so whether the officer used excessive force is up for debate. I will not second guess another officer without factual evidence, so there is no way to determine if thats the case.

            There are extenuating circumstances in this case, but most of the blame falls on the driver. Thats just the way I see it.



            • #7

              There is a video on the right that you can watch to make a better decision. Though, some may be edited to make the officer look worse. We know the media is usually anti-LE.


              • #8
                She was wrong she goes to jail. end of story. For those not in LE, believe it or not people do lie to us. they will make stuff up to get out of a ticket. hard to believe for all of you not in law enforcement.
                Wandering the world aimleesly since 2004.


                • #9
                  Now that I have seen the video, Im more convinced the officer did not deserve a suspension. Could things have been handled better? Sure, but that doesnt mean what the officer did was wrong.


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