Sunday, July 1, 2012
He screamed, “I’ve got a bomb up my ass.” He was thoroughly convinced of that standing naked in the middle of El Cajon Blvd.
It’s no secret that al Qaeda’s desires to bring down an American airline with explosives smuggled in the body cavity of a would be Jihadist. The cops felt this guy could be the real deal. In a typical critical response configuration one person gave commands with less than lethal munitions and his cover had lethal options at the ready. A hand’s on team was also ready to pounce.
There were two events this week that highlighted the diversity of policing. Chris Ball retired and naked man almost forced a lethal confrontation. Both paint a picture of how we view ourselves.
Chris is a former British Bobby with almost 40 years of policing here in the United States. When he retired most of the police captains in SD took him to dinner at the SD Yacht club. We toasted him and told stories of his storied career. He was a wild man. From the cover of Time magazine in a community policing article, to the focal point of our current policy on handling demonstrations and crowds, Chris left an indelible imprint of the face of SDPD. Most important was how Chris treated people. “I love people! All of them. Rich, poor, black, white, cops or crooks.” He was being truthful. He frequently sat down for coffee with a cop and then was standing on the street corner with his arms around a woman who looked like Precious, but the victim of domestic violence. Chris could be seen yucking it up with a parolee in handcuffs.
Then there is Bath Salt Boy. He crashed through the glass sliding door of an unsuspecting homeowner cutting himself to pieces. Tried to steal their car with a popsicle stick and finally stripped himself naked to “tear the bomb” out of his butt. Standing naked in the street screaming he had a “bomb in his ass” patrol officers closed in. As the officers closed the gap he grabbed his testicles and pulled them apart, grabbing handfuls of scrotum screaming frantically. The officers subdued him and took him to the hospital for help.
I can learn from Chris and how my guys treated Bath Salts Boy and how we as a society and people of faith treat those unlike us. God gives us clear direction. Matthew 5:43 ff.
It begins with how I view myself. People of faith (me) have an elevated view of our worth because we have based our positions, judgments and justifications on God, therefore we are right, in just about everything. It’s an exclusive club we belong to. The always right club. Anyone can join but you do have to join.
On the other hand look at what Jesus said, “He causes his sun to rise on the veil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” He loves each of us, the evil and the good, equally. That should change my theology. God loves the guy in the back seat of my patrol car as much as me. The drunk who just vomited. God loves him. The dope dealer, gangster, 290 registrant, yup, God loves them. It’s hard for me to grasp, because I’m much easier to love than they are, aren’t I? I’m more worthy.
“If you love the brothers what are you doing more than others? Don’t the pagans do that?” Here is he hard part for me. In this area of faith God says: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly father is perfect.”
Jesus’ demand for perfection in this area hurts. I only want to love those who don’t smell and can pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Why couldn’t Jesus have stopped there!?
Posted by SD COP at 3:44 PM
Saturday, June 9, 2012
This week one of my guys was recovering a stolen car in the garage of a no-tell- motel. As he searched the car, he found a sawed off shotgun behind the seat. It was with a hoodie and a pair of gloves. Not the average luggage in a normal persons car. Following up on the recovery he checked the registry of the hotel against some of the paperwork he found in the victor. Bingo! A name match. The person who stole the car registered under their real name…even paid cash for the room. I love good police work.
I went to cover him. We set up on room 227 while computer checks were run on the name. Its kind of hard to be sneaky when you have black and whites in the parking lot and a bunch of guys running around in blue uniforms and shinny gold badges. So stealth was out.
After we had a tight perimeter and we were getting assets in place, the door to the room cracked opened. The person we had a photo of came out cautiously looking around. Casually looking up and down the balcony she motioned for her partner to come out. He was a typical ESD gangster; shaved head, tattoos, Chargers sweat top and baggy shorts with white socks. Hummmm, I wonder who had the shotgun?
An officer approached the pair and immediate the fight was on. I ran up four flights of stairs huffing and puffing taking them two at a time. Amazing how a few seconds seems like eternity. Yelling and screaming ahead of me. I ran faster. Because of the gun and two people against one cop in a small corridor, I wanted this fight to be over. Fast!
Beto the ESD gangster squirmed out of his sweat top trying to free himself. Throwing elbows and burying his hands to prevent handcuffing we pushed him into a stucco wall. There was heavy breathing, radios blaring and emergency tone piercing the radio air. The cops were yelling at the top of their lungs, stop resisting. Give my your hands. The woman was screaming stop he did nothing wrong. Try fighting while trying to keep a cautious eye on someone who came from a stolen car with a shotgun. I’m still huffing and trying to suck in all of the air I can. Fighting is not as easy as I remember it.
Realizing we are in a fight with a motivated gangster the officers went for the hands, I went for the neck. I put Beto into a chokehold, aka sleeper hold, technically known as a Kansas City lateral neck restraint. Don’t want to call it a chokehold, people get nervous. You’re trying to put him to sleep, not kill him they would say.
All four bodies crashed to the cement floor as Beto began to loose consciousness. He released his hands with the force of the fall and the officers prying them loose. He submitted.
After the initial fight was over and I caught my breath, I muttered quietly, “Andy, what are you thinking, you’re 55 years old.” I looked at this 25 year old parolee with some compassion. I’m not sure why. He had the tattoos of ESD a murderous gang. He had the tattoo red lips a sign of being a sureno, supporting the Mexican Mafia. He sat dejected realizing he was going back to prison.
Each Wednesday I meet with a group of guys to discuss biblical things and push each other spiritually. It’s an eclectic group with broad backgrounds and varying education. One of the questions that arose out of our conversation was where would we find Jesus hanging out if he were in San Diego today. It was a robust discussion.
What did Jesus see when he looked at the largest city of that time in Israel? Its recorded for us in Luke 19:41. According to most scholars Jerusalem was a city of an estimated 80,000 that swelled to possibly 250,000 during festivals. A center of commerce it was a busy city with people on top of people. I like to think it was a city like Mayberry RDF. Not the case. It was busy, dirty where disease and prostitution was obvious. It was a place where robbers hid along the roads and ambushed people on the way to the center of religious life. When Jesus looked at Jerusalem he wept for the people. All of them. The good, the bad, the busy, the cheats and the hookers, even the ESD gangsters. They were his people. He loved them.
It was Jesus’ triumphal entry, when he was coming to claim his kingdom. They rejected him and it moved him to tears. Not because he would not be their king, he knew that he already was their king. He wept because only his plan would bring Jerusalem peace. In a city of strife, crime and disorder they had the opportunity for lasting peace. They rejected the peace and the peacemaker, Jesus. Sadly they still today do and so do we.
Where would Jesus have been? With Beto the ESD gangster. With you and me. We all have an opportunity to live in peace. It begins and ends with us following Jesus – He is shalom…He is Peace. It's our choice to accept that and follow him.
Posted by SD COP at 9:53 PM