For the second time in a week, bystanders intervened to help a San Diego (Calif.) Police officer patrolling the Mid City Division, who was attacked by a man on a bicycle.
The assault on Officer Kelly Doherty came less than a week after Officer Jeremy Henwood was assassinated by a suicidal man with a shotgun several blocks to the west.
"Officer Doherty did a good job," Lt. Todd Jarvis, the acting Mid City captain, tells POLICE Magazine. "We still need to stop people and do our job. She came out victorious, and I'm very appreciative of the citizens who came to her aid. That does give these officers hope, when they see the community step up and defend them like that."
While on patrol at 12:35 p.m. on Sunday near the 4200 block of 34th Street, Officer Doherty saw a man on a bicycle violate a vehicle's right of way. Officer Kelly Doherty was attacked while checking the name of a suspect she had stopped.
The officer questioned the suspect, 43-year-old Michael Gonzalez, who then tried to flee. Officer Doherty grabbed Gonzalez by the backpack. He then wheeled and began punching her in the face. During the struggle, he attempted to grab her service weapon.
Two civilians watching the incident from nearby intervened in the fight to help subdue Gonzalez, who then flipped open a folding knife and began slashing the officer and the two men. Officer Doherty deployed her TASER twice, eventually ending the fight. She was treated and released from the hospital, after receiving several stitches in her face.
"Felonious assaults on police officers are rising," says Jarvis. "It seems to be a national trend, and it's the first we've seen of this in San Diego. I don't know if it's bad timing, coincidence or if we have something else going on."
Bystanders also intervened on Aug. 7, after Dejon Marquee White, 23, fatally shot Officer Jeremy Henwood at a stop sign in City Heights. A former Navy officer with a law enforcement certification used Officer Henwood's radio to give dispatchers a description of White's vehicle. She also provided medical aid to the officer at the scene.
San Diego PD's Mid City Division is a blue-collar cultural melting pot covering eight square miles and policed by 170 patrol officers and an additional 55 sworn personnel. The division, which uses the motto "Policing the world in the middle of the city," has a high school with students who speak more than 50 different languages.
By Paul Clinton