My father was a Marine. Actually, he’d probably get upset at me saying that he “was” a Marine, as a plaque in my childhood home states “Once a Marine, Always a Marine.” Growing up in the home of a Marine, I learned very early that a good citizen should have a healthy respect for authority. As such, my parents always sided with teacher and coaches in matters that involved me. I could state my case and my parents may have even agreed, but the teacher or coach gets the benefit of the doubt. The same applied to members of the military, police, firefighters, etc.
A person in a position of authority automatically deserved it… until they lost it.
A trio of police officers from Mission, Kansas have lost my respect and I expect that they have lost the respect and confidence of many in their community as well, after an incident of police brutality has come to light.
On the evening of March 16 at around 5pm, Catrina Engle was at the Post Office hoping to ship a couple of packages for her husband. With her, she had her two young children. The Post Office had just closed for the evening when Mrs. Engle noticed that her husband had mislabeled the packages. Noticing that Post Office workers were still milling about, she knocked on the door to get their attention – it didn’t work. So, Mrs. Engle called her husband, and as any parent knows, a situation like this can quickly become stressful when trying to manage two young children. In the course of their phone conversation the couple raised their voices. Finally Mrs. Engle left the Post Office without mailing the packages.
After she had gotten her children settled in the van, a local police officer pulled into the parking lot behind her and asked Mrs. Engle for her identification. Confused, the wife and mother of two asked why. The officer would not explain why she was accosting Mrs. Engle. After repeating the process a couple of times, Mrs. Engle got her identification out and was giving it to the female officer when she was taken to the ground roughly and handcuffed by the officer and a just arrived associate.
Soon a third officer (Officer Tige Dean) would arrive, though for whatever reason, his name is not listed on the police report. His part in the drama that unfolded that evening made me as a husband, very angry. I can’t imagine how her husband felt after watching Officer Dean humiliate, belittle and terrify his wife. Keeping his name out of the report was likely for his own good to not implicate him personally in any wrongdoing by the officers.
The toddlers were left sitting in the van for over an hour after, watching their mother be tackled and handcuffed. Eventually Mrs. Engle would be searched more thoroughly (including a body cavity search), before being taken away and charged with disorderly conduct.
She was never asked to explain what had transpired, so the officers cannot explain to the postal worker who called the police what she had said. If the officers would have sought an explanation, they may have been able to see if the story squared up with what the postal worker had thought happened. Instead, we have the abuse and criminalize a woman who just wanted to mail a couple of packages.
The officers involved need to be reprimanded, at the very least. This is a harrowing story, because as any parent of young children will tell you… it could happen to any of us.
Make sure to watch the video for the entire context.