After reading "Armed Inmate Holds Preschool Hostage, After Attacking Deputy" in the Women in Law Enforcement section of PoliceMag.com, I felt that it was an outstanding day for the blue team.
That is, until I read the comments following the story. Before we get to them, let's review the incident.
A career criminal was facing a life sentence for a previous kidnapping and robbery case. While at a hospital for an MRI, which requires removal of the shackles, 24-year-old Maurice Lamont Ainsworth assaulted Santa Cruz (Calif.) Sheriff's Deputy Cathy Bramanti, who had been assigned as his escort.
Ainsworth then grabbed the deputy's TASER, stunned her, brought her down and took her service weapon.
While fleeing through the hospital parking lot, escaped inmate Ainsworth shot at a witness; ran into a childcare center and held a teacher at gunpoint; fled through the playground with more than 20 children underfoot; attempted to steal the teacher's vehicle; and then forced entry into an occupied home, holding the residents hostage.
Law enforcement took immediate action. The hostage negotiating team was preparing to deploy, as the SWAT team cleared the adjacent houses. The escaped inmate surrendered peacefully. The deputy's gun and TASER were recovered, and officers found no injured parties in the neighborhood. True, the deputy took a beating and was injured, but she's expected to fully recover.
The reader comments at the end of the story threw me back in time.
Answering a congratulatory comment, RRocco wrote, "'The deputy did a damn good job?' She lost her TASER, her gun and her prisoner? How do you figure she did a good job? Because the suspect decided not to kill her?"
Also, scpdblue wrote, "I am grateful that the deputy is alive and no one was killed. With that said, I feel that all male prisoners should be escorted by male deputies, females prisoners by female deputies. Male prisons should have male corrections officers; females prisons should have female corrections officers."
Are these comments really from active police officers?
If one wants to find issue or place blame, I would look toward the policies and judgment of the agency's administration. Fact is, Ainsworth is a violent career criminal. His history includes violence against the police and gun possession. He is 6 foot 7 inches tall and weighs 270 pounds. Why was there only one officer escorting this inmate? Even Sheriff Phil Wowak has said his office will re-evaluate their prisoner-escort policy of one inmate, one deputy.
The deputy fought hard and, after being TASERed and disarmed, received numerous blows to the head, and was bitten. She didn't quit. Instead, she got up chased him down and fought him again. She was able to make radio contact, giving enough information for two agencies to set up a perimeter, lock down the hospital, and surround neighborhoods and three schools.
Sheriff Wowak stated, "She was very brave … it was her response to get all the field units on scene that made the difference."
To RRocco, scpdblue, and all those who would agree with their comments, consider this. Your FTOs should have informed you that no matter how big or bad you are; there will always be someone bigger and badder. I would be proud to serve beside any deputy that reacted and fought as she did.