The Price of Bullying by Law Enforcement
This is a factual account of what happened to me. The rest of this article contains my opinions and feelings.
My horse Harvey was my best friend, the greatest source of beauty and joy in my life, and simply magnificent, so beautiful he would stop traffic so people could stare. He was a silvery palomino and feisty and friendly and spoiled and happy, and he waited at my gate for me to come home every day. Then he was tortured and killed by some very ugly people. His killing involved a police officer and two sheriff’s deputies, a very ugly old man whom I refused to go out with and his accomplices, and some veterinarians who decided I deserved to lose my beloved horse (litigation has now settled, but my complaints to the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners are ongoing.) This is his story.
It began one day in 2010 when I was driving home from work. I had a long and boring commute, the price I paid to live in the countryside so I could have my two horses with me. I was behind a gold van with blacked out windows. There was a burgundy sedan in front of that van. As we passed a traffic light, the gold van moved to the right lane. I thought it was just going around that slower moving sedan and I followed it. Fortunately, I was paying full attention because without warning and without reason that van driver suddenly slammed on her brakes. I narrowly avoided a collision. My first thought was that was an attempt at an insurance scam, and I still believe that. I saw that van two more times in the following month and then it disappeared and I never saw it again. I would not be surprised to hear it was the front vehicle in a rear end collision.
I was angry about it. People who pull those scams are scum and innocent people have been killed in these scams, which are about collecting money in false insurance claims. I got around the van, not wanting to stay behind them for obvious reasons, and once around them I touched my brakes and shook my fist at them. I drove on, but I kept them in my rear view mirror for fear they would try it again. A few miles down the road, a police car pulled me over. The gold van pulled up behind the police car. A woman exited the passenger side of the van and reported to the police officer that I had just slammed on my brakes and nearly caused a collision. I was shocked and could not believe it. I told her to tell the truth about what happened because it was probably on one of those cameras at that intersection we had passed. I asked her if she was tailgating me and she admitted no, but then said “my family will say whatever I tell them to.” Turns out this woman, the passenger in the van, is a county sheriff’s deputy and her mother was driving and they had a toddler in the van with them. Nice set up for an insurance scam. The police officer pointed out to me that she was a deputy sheriff. The gold van and its occupants left the scene and the police officer went to his car and wrote a ticket. He came to me and handed it to me. It was for a class B misdemeanor reckless driving charge that could have put me in jail. I was livid over it. I was not guilty of reckless driving but the other driver was. He didn’t talk to that driver at all, only his buddy, the deputy who had called him. They were nowhere near me when I touched my brakes – if someone slams on their brakes like they did, they’re not going to get on that victim’s bumper because they would expect a reaction. The police officer who wrote the ticket had not seen any of what happened and my accuser had just admitted to him she was lying. I told him he had just bought the city a trial I didn’t think they were going to want. Then things went from bad to worse. The police officer reached up and turned off the device on his collar, which I assume was an audio recording. He then puts his hands away from his body as if he was going to draw his weapon and shouted at me “ARE YOU GETTIN’ UPSET WITH ME! ARE YOU GETTIN’ UPSET WITH ME!” At this point, I am sitting in my car with my hands on the wheel, afraid to move. I didn’t know if I was going to be shot or arrested. The only thing I moved was my eyeballs to the left to see if the drivers in the cars waiting at the light across the street were watching (they were). That was enough. As soon as that officer realized he had witnesses, he just walked off. I later realized that what he did was recorded by the camera at that intersection and that was the reason he walked away. I found out later from my attorney the officer had a jurisdiction problem. The judge threw out the ticket the following week. It left me badly shaken. I hoped that those two (the police officer and the sheriff’s deputy) were rookies and the power of a badge and a gun made them bully the public for a period of time, then they would mature and stop doing that. But that was a failed hope, and things would get much, much worse.
I lived at the time in a rural area outside Austin, Texas and commuted into Austin to work. My home was a beautiful small eight acre place with a little house and a workshop. I had also built Harvey and his mother (my mare, Rachel) a barn they both loved and spent a lot of time in. I planned to retire there. I had gone through the master naturalist course and wanted to spend my retirement years enjoying Harvey and volunteering in the State parks nearby. Because of the events I’m writing of, I was forced from my home and still don’t know what I’ll be doing when I retire. Losing Harvey ended my life, too.
I had mostly elderly neighbors. The ones across the street and down the street were wonderful. The one next door was evil, a sociopath, the neighbor from hell. I had no idea what that monster was capable of. His wife died and a year later, he began asking me out. I was worrying about that because he had started driving alongside our fence line whenever I was outdoors. It had become annoying. His record was six times one Sunday when I was out working in the back cutting yaupon (a chore required by my wildlife management plan). Every time I went out the back door, he would drive by shortly after wanting to chat. He could see me out his windows apparently. He finally asked me out and I politely told him no. He asked again a couple of weeks later and I politely declined again. I was trying to be especially nice about it because I was afraid of him because of what he had done to my good neighbor. He had harassed my neighbor across the street for 19 years until that poor man had a stroke he never recovered from, all because ugly neighbor couldn’t have a free gas line and good neighbor had one (because he had been there decades before when the gas companies did that).
I told the ugly neighbor that I worked full time and just didn’t have time for him. He needed to find someone retired like himself that could devote some time for him. This is a man more than 20 years my senior (in his eighties) with a known history of brutal behavior toward people. But this ugly neighbor doesn’t like not getting what he wants. He started harassing me. First he threatened me over a boundary issue on our fence line. After that, I just didn’t want to speak to him anymore so I avoided him (hard to do with him next door). Then he called the sheriff and complained that my horse Harvey was sticking his head over the fence and damaging the fence. The sheriff deputy told me the fence looked the same all the way around and most of it didn’t have horses near it. This was a 20 year old fence that had burned in a wildfire. It wasn’t in good shape, but my horses had not done any damage to it. This was just more harassment. I talked to another neighbor about what to do, whether I should have the fence tightened or replaced to make him happy, but ugly neighbor rushed in and had the fence worked on, running up an unnecessary bill of about $750, and then filed a fraudulent claim with my insurance company. They paid it to avoid the lawsuit he was threatening to file. My insurance company told me they knew it was a fraudulent claim because the fence had burned in a wildfire and they believed he had already been paid for the fence. You can’t claim twice on the same fence. I just couldn’t believe how ugly he was, but I underestimated just how sick. I seem to have done that a lot – expected people to do the right thing and not do evil, horrible things. I was wrong on all counts.
My granddaughter was heading off to college and she and I went shopping one Saturday. We got home around 4:30 in the afternoon and there was Harvey waiting at the gate for me. Ugly neighbor and his ugly son (who lives next to him) were driving out as we came in. Ugly son gave us a very threatening look. (He did this multiple times driving by and I complained to the sheriff and it stopped.) Two days later, Harvey had a large burn mark across his rump. I knew what it was. He had been burned with a cattle prod two days earlier (it takes two days for a cattle prod burn to show up). My vet confirmed it was a cattle prod burn. Harvey had never been abused in his life. I know him well and he would have walked right up to his attackers and stood there while they burned him, not understanding what they were doing.
I called the sheriff’s office and complained and they came out – and did nothing. Harvey was burned a second time, again I called the sheriff and they said they asked ugly neighbor if he had a cattle prod and he said no. A neighbor confirmed to the sheriff that ugly neighbor did indeed have a cattle prod. That was the extent of the only investigation I’m aware of. Later, Harvey was stabbed with a stick and I called the sheriff. It was my veterinarian that told me horses didn’t get stabbed with sticks and this was done to Harvey. Again the sheriff did nothing. The list of horrible things this ugly neighbor did is long and I won’t go into all of them here.
I work for a law firm and had one of the attorneys there send a cease and desist letter to ugly neighbor. He responded with a letter that is scary in its complete absence of reality. There was no shred of truth in it, but things got quiet for more than a year after that. During this period, ugly neighbor sold the house and part of the acreage next door, but kept a large part of the acreage which included the part bordering my house. Ugly neighbor moved to a place across the street from his old house, still within striking distance. He was in talks with a neighbor behind me to sell that acreage next to me when he suddenly broke off those negotiations and sold the property to a friend of his ugly son. I was concerned, but again hoped for the best. I hoped that ugly neighbor had done enough to me and would stop. I should have paid attention to the 19 years he harassed my good neighbor. I lived to regret that, but Harvey didn’t.
On July 20, 2013, I came home from running errands on a Saturday and found Harvey hiding in some trees with deep cuts across his hind legs. I believed he had kicked through the fence and I found a spot in the fence where it had happened. I loaded him up and took him to the vet for treatment. At this time, the friends of the ugly neighbor’s son had just moved in next door.
On September 20, 2013, while Harvey was still healing with scabs from the July incident, I came home from work on Friday evening and found Harvey had been mutilated. It had rained five inches that day, the perfect day for an attack because the rain would have covered up their tracks. I knew who was behind it. Initially I phoned the sheriff’s office, but then told them to wait until I spoke with the veterinarians. Two days later, ugly neighbor drove by and saw me in my front yard. He slowed down and rolled down his window and shouted “HA HA HA HA.” Harvey was stitched up and sent home with antibiotics. The deputy in charge of animal cruelty cases is a good friend of my veterinarian. The deputy who wrote that ridiculous ticket changed jobs (I do not know the nature of that job change) and he now worked for the county. The remaining details of what those veterinarians did to my beautiful horse is set out in my complaints to the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and my lawsuit against them, both of which are linked to Harvey’s website. Harvey should have survived this awful injury. He didn’t because of the gross negligence (and I believe the willful intention) of those veterinarians. The lawsuit has settled but the board complaints are in process. Those veterinarians mistreated Harvey terribly, waiting until he was so lame and his joint infection (which I was repeatedly told he didn’t have) was so severe he required arthrodesis surgery. He foundered on the off leg and his coffin bone rotated and went his foot, and he had to be euthanized after suffering horribly for months. I have never recovered from the torture and death of my beautiful, beloved Harvey. I could not believe veterinarians would intentionally torture a horse. It’s not humanly possible in my mind. Only very sick people harm animals. The veterinarians killed Harvey but I am the one who drove him to them and that makes me blame myself for his death, an unbearable burden. If I had taken him to different veterinarians, he would be alive today. A reading of other victims of veterinary malpractice will tell you people who lose their pets to veterinarians suffer the same torment. No one ever recovers from it.
Even though I knew who had attacked Harvey, I could not deal with that while Harvey was at home and injured. I was terrified they would attack him again while he was in that condition and I needed him at home while I treated him morning and night. I set up a camera watching the pen while I was gone. In fact, the ugly man next door (the friend of ugly neighbor) threatened to go to A&M and kill Harvey after I refused to allow him to run an electric line through my back yard.
Harvey spent months at A&M University while they tried to save him. I drove every night to visit him. On April 24, 2014, Harvey was euthanized at home and I died with him. I was barely functioning for more than a year, so deep was my grief and disbelief that he was gone. Finally, I began the horribly painful task of compiling the evidence against the ugly neighbor and filing the lawsuit against the veterinarians. I put up a reward for information and, having been warned about posting that freely in the neighborhood (by the deputy, ironically), I sent it to the one neighbor I thought had the courage to stand up to the ugly neighbor. He told me he had leased his property to someone and gave me the first name only. He promised to talk to him and get back to me. Within a week, my horse Rachel was forced into a barbed wire fence and left to struggle out, getting badly injured in the process. She has arthritis and a hip issue that made it difficult for her to get herself out of that fence. It had happened exactly the same way Harvey had been injured on July 20, 2013: both hind legs through the second to the top wire on a Saturday morning. The ugly neighbor drove by a few days later as I was exiting my back door (which can be seen from the street). He honked his horn from one edge of my property to the other, one long honk. He was proud of what he had done. He’s a bully and a coward and picks on women and animals. I realized Harvey had not kicked through the fence. He had clearly been forced into it, just as Rachel had. It was devastating to realize this. If I had only known Harvey had been forced into the fence, I would have moved him to safety and that final attack would not have happened and Harvey would not have needed any veterinary care. He would be alive and I would still be enjoying him. I moved Rachel to a friend’s house and could visit her only rarely for fear I would be followed and they would find her. Clearly, I had very strong evidence now against my attackers.
On April 24, 2015, the one year anniversary of Harvey’s death, I took a binder of evidence to the sheriff’s deputy who had “investigated” the attacks. It was a listing of all that had gone on in date order with all the details I had. I gave the deputy the binder of evidence. He took it and promised to have a look. Nothing was done. There was no investigation and no charges ever filed. These were state jail felonies that should have been vigorously pursued. It wasn’t only an animal cruelty case, it was an attack against a woman for refusing a man. When I realized nothing would be done, I filed a public information request to get whatever information they had in order to see what was missing from the case because it was outrageous to me that nothing was being done to these people who deserved jail terms. I got a few police reports back and they were falsified reports. They are attached here, but note that the name D. Hamilton on the ticket is not the officer who wrote the ticket. That’s just the name on the form. One stated he did not have access to Harvey but Harvey was standing a few feet of him (this was the same officer who wrote that ridiculous ticket – he had changed jobs from the City to the County.) Another claimed I told him someone had reached through the fence and cut Harvey with a knife. That’s ridiculous. I never said that and any reasonable person who saw Harvey’s injury would know that the injury could not possibly have been done by someone reaching through the fence with a knife. That was a story fabricated by that deputy, who clearly wanted an excuse to do nothing to help us. Is trespassing is a bigger crime than brutally attacking a horse? I believe this was retaliation against me and they wanted to do nothing to these cowardly thugs. One of these deputies wrote in his report that he had talked to my veterinarians who told them Harvey had been cut in a fence across his shoulder and back, which had never happened. He never had cuts across his back and shoulders. His injuries on July 20, 2013 were exactly like Rachel’s in January, 2015, solely on the back legs except Rachel’s were more serious because she is not as tall and strong as Harvey and it took her longer to get herself free of the barbed wire fence. The deputy also wrote that veterinarian Darren Weiss told him a horse would have moved away from a cattle prod before being burned as badly as Harvey was. That’s not true. I know Harvey well, and he had never been abused in his life. He wasn’t afraid of anything. He wouldn’t have immediately known those thugs were trying to hurt him. He would have stood there trying to figure out what was going on and I’m sure he walked right up to his attackers. I wondered what else that deputy told my veterinarians. Another report stated Harvey had multiple cuts across his legs from brush, which was also completely false. The report also states that based on what the veterinarians told him, there would be no charges filed by the Bastrop DA’s office. I believe this is the reason the veterinarians only pretended to treat Harvey. There was very clear gross malpractice by those veterinarians. Harvey could have been saved, but wasn’t because of them. Those veterinarians could have said four words – take him to A&M – and Harvey would have survived. Any reasonably competent veterinarian who wanted to save Harvey could have. See more information on this issue in this website.
The deputies needed only to threaten that ugly neighbor with arrest and he would have backed off, just as his son had stopped driving by and giving me and my granddaughter threatening looks. No one from the sheriff’s office had contacted the neighbor I offered a reward to, and no one had bothered to find out who his tenant was and ask him who he talked to before my horse Rachel was attacked. I realized I had no police protection. These ugly thugs could attack me with no fear of law enforcement action. Once my horses were out of the way, what would they do next?
I could not live in my own home with these very threatening people so close. They had figured out nothing was going to be done to them so they could attack me with impunity. The injuries to my horses constituted felony animal cruelty and torture. Harvey had been mutilated in the morning and left to suffer for eight to ten hours before I found him. Rachel was also left for hours to struggle in pain, trying to get out of the barbed wire fence they forced her into. These are dangerous criminals and knowing that people who commit animal torture are more apt to commit more serious crimes, and I had no protection from them, made me move from my home shortly after I saw those false police reports. I knew I was in danger. I could not keep my horse there, nor could I feel I was safe there. I had lived there for sixteen years and had loved my home.
It was also hard to move because Harvey is buried there on a hill. Every night I spent time at his grave. His grave had a headstone and I had put solar lights around it and made it a beautiful place. I often brought him yellow roses because I always told him he was beautiful enough to lead the Rose BowI Parade. I cried and talked to him. I think I could have borne his death if he had died from a disease or something natural or unpreventable. That he was intentionally tortured and murdered made it impossible to bear. The memories and images of his suffering haunt me.
In response to my public information request, the district attorney actually phoned me to tell me there was no grand jury because there was not enough evidence. I asked him if he had seen the binder and he said no. The only reason he had no evidence is because he didn’t look for any and neither did the sheriff’s department. I told him I was being retaliated against and he said he couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t. It was clear he was going to do nothing. He had zero empathy with what I had suffered. I learned that district attorneys typically go along with whatever the police and sheriff departments want them to. I was told I was wasting my time pursuing the case with the district attorney.
That became clear to me when the Yvette Smith case (where deputy Daniel Willis shot her to death when she answered her door) was tried twice. Initially, the sheriff tried to say Yvette Smith had a gun, which she did not have. They dropped that effort. The first trial ended in a hung jury. The second was tried by a judge with no jury from Waller County, the same Waller County where Sandy Bland had her own run in with an ugly bully in uniform. I don’t need to tell you the result of that move. Law enforcement got what they wanted. The same thing happened in Baltimore in the trials regarding the death of Freddie Gray. These are only the cases we read about in the media. Think how many of these same stories we never hear about because the victims can’t speak or are too afraid to.
It’s been indescribable to learn I have no police protection due to retaliation. I lived overseas in a third world country (Egypt, which likes to think of itself as a developing country and I hope it is) and did not have police protection. I know what it’s like. At least there, the company kept us safe, more or less. We were taught where we could and couldn’t go and at what times of day and what to do in the event of a problem. I also worked for two years in London, which has what I consider the finest law enforcement in the world. I never felt safer than there. It seemed whenever there was a problem, the police were there in seconds, not minutes. I never saw them be rude to anyone. This was in the mid 90’s, so maybe it’s changed, but I was impressed while I lived there. I think the worst scenario is one where you think you have police protection, but when you need that protection you find out you don’t.
Further, I’ve learned that it’s not just the district attorneys that go along with whatever the law enforcement groups want. It seems mayors, governors, and congressman all hesitate or back down when it comes to reining in the power the law enforcement groups have. The police unions are so powerful, individual law enforcement personnel who commit egregious acts are rarely punished with anything meaningful or punished at all.
The Sandy Bland case hit home for me (I cried hard and long for her). She was clearly bullied and did not deserve to be in that jail cell. How hard it must have been for her to know she was wrongfully jailed in a hideous injustice, would probably lose her new job before she even started, and did not have the money to get herself out of that situation. That young, beautiful, intelligent woman with her whole life in front of her is dead because she was bullied. That is so wrong to me. If Sandy Bland had not been bullied by that ugly officer, she would be alive today. This bully wasn’t even fired from his job until much later. Bullying by police should be illegal in all cases always.
If you think this problem is only a problem for people of color, I am a lily white 62 year old female.
I had no idea that law enforcement was this out of control and outside the scope of any control. They act like the laws of this country don’t apply to them or their family members – just a perk of the job. They think they have a public relations problem. That’s not what they have. They have a hiring problem, a training problem, a big oversight problem, and a failure to identify and address meaningful reforms to fix these problems. In smaller communities like the one where my horses were attacked and I was forced from my home, there is probably a lack of suitable candidates for law enforcement jobs. They have no choice but to hire the local school bullies and people either so bereft of morality or so narcissistic they are unable to recognize right from wrong. A case in point would be that same Deputy Daniel Willis, an officer rejected by the City of Austin after he failed a psychological test. He was the one who shot Yvette Smith to death for answering her door.
It seems no one talks about what is right or wrong anymore. Some say the victim, whoever that victim is, must have deserved it. Sandy Bland had speeding tickets, so she must have deserved it (seriously, speeding deserves a speeding ticket and nothing more). She had marijuana in her system, so she must have deserved it (despite the fact that more states are making pot legal, so it’s a really minor infraction). No, Sandy Bland did not deserve to be slammed to the ground and thrown in jail for a lane change. How would you feel if that happened to you? How would you feel if you were given a ticket for something you didn’t do, but the accusing officer had just done? How would you feel if an officer pointed a gun at your seven year old daughter sitting in her booster seat?
Bullying is wrong everywhere, in our schools, in our work places, and most importantly in law enforcement. Do we really want to be forced to become a nation of sheep? Are we to roll over and accept bullying by law enforcement? Should I have not told that ugly police bully that he just bought the city a trial? Who do you want around you – people who will stand up to authority when it’s absolutely in the wrong? Aren’t we supposed to stand up for truth and justice? Isn’t that the right and courageous thing to do? Isn’t standing up to authority in the wrong how this country gained its independence? How many of us are brave enough to stand up for what’s right? God bless Sandy Bland, a courageous young woman who paid the ultimate price for police bullying.
If this sounds extreme, understand that we have more than one million law enforcement personnel across this country. They are essentially a standing army who government refuses to control and the citizens can’t control, and with apologies to the many fine officers who are out there doing the right things (their jobs), others are committing gross acts of violence and retribution across this country every day, as well as bullying regular citizens. We’re seeing the backlash from the public in the news media. What human being could watch the video of Freddie Gray’s limp body being dragged off to his death and thought that was okay? Remember that Freddie Gray didn’t do anything to be arrested – nothing. As someone put it, he was jogging while black, and he’s dead. Those involved were charged and the police responded with a big work slowdown (no heroes there). The numbers of people killed by police is approaching (or has exceeded) 1,000 each year. Police are rarely charged with a crime, and even if charged with a crime, they are more rarely found guilty. I point out the increasing incidences of work slowdowns as indicating police are failing or refusing to do their jobs to protect and serve the public. Also understand that the courts have backed them up. In multiple court cases, the police do not have to respond to your 9-1-1 call. They can ignore you if they want. It’s truly outrageous and something needs to be done. Instead, the courts are moving in the wrong direction and I am referring to the Kleinert case in the City of Austin. Kleinert killed Larry Jackson in a fight where Kleinert’s gun accidentally discharged when Kleinert was trying to arrest him. Kleinert is a veteran officer, he admitted what happened and there was a witness, and he was charged. He has shown significant remorse for the death, which is to his credit. Since he was on a Federal task force, the courts ruled he couldn’t be held criminally liable and the case was thrown out. While I personally feel Kleinert has probably suffered enough at this point for a shooting that was clearly accidental, the extension of that law to apply to all federal officers and anyone on any federal task force is just scary. They are people like anyone else and should be held to the same laws as anyone else. Note: Murdering police officers because they wear a uniform is absolutely wrong. Adding to the body count and grieving families is counterproductive to any meaningful change.
Our Congressmen need to step up and stem the tide of criminal acts against the public by law enforcement. A woman interviewed in Ferguson stated the police there acted like gangs. She’s exactly right. They do back each other up to the point of lying for each other and covering up their own crimes. The Laquan McDonald case is on point. We the public are not their enemy. It’s not us against them, but that’s the attitude they seem to have. Again, right and wrong do not enter into the picture.
These are no heroes but everyone thinks most of them are. I did. My understanding is the good ones, the professional ones, are in the upper echelons of law enforcement organizations. The ones the public is dealing with on the streets are the younger, less experienced and less educated ones, some straight out of high school with clearly insufficient training and a host of personal issues. Unlike the City of Austin, most probably aren’t given psychological tests. They are given guns and badges and set loose amongst us with the power over us the badge entails. If the old adage of absolute power corrupts absolutely, then the percentage of cops who commit crimes against the public is probably much higher than any of us suspects, but no one is taking down those statistics. We need to know this information. And in the event we are victimized by the police, most of us have no one to complain to (as in my case), don’t have the means to complain, or are afraid to complain. If your police or sheriff does something wrong, there is not a lot you can do about it since the district attorney is most likely going to back them up. You’ll need a video of what happened to you and a civil rights attorney. Keep those cell phone cameras ready to go and use them, and support body cameras for police.
A big problem is the oversight of wrong doing by officers. The town I was treated so horribly in had no police monitor at all in 2010 and even if they had, the monitor would probably have done nothing. Self over sight is useless. In the Laquan McDonald case, while at least eight officers were nearby monitoring the situation ( and not shooting their guns), officer Jason Van Dyke drove up, got out of his car, and immediately pumped 16 bullets at this 17 year old troubled kid with a knife who was actually moving away from him. Van Dyke had 20 complaints on his record, none of which was properly dealt with. If they had, McDonald would still be living and Jason Van Dyke would not have been wearing a uniform. Again, self-oversight is useless.
I believe this oversight should be the job of unrelated and unelected persons, drawn much like a jury for each case, except with no involvement by the district attorney’s office, who is too often a biased party. This oversight group would have the power, once they believe an officer has committed an offense, to fire them or apply lesser means of punishment.
The easiest way to fix most of the problems of bad cops is for good cops to step up. I saw that in the disgusting fecal sandwich case where good officers reported a bad cop who had fed a fecal sandwich to a homeless man. I saw it again in the case of rowdy teens at a pool party where an over reacting officer (not a bully) slammed one teen to the ground and pulled his gun on another, but you will see in that video the good cop reach out and put his hand on that officer’s shoulder. That completely defused the situation. That’s all it took. I know this happens every day and we just don’t read about it, but it’s clearly not enough. It was also encouraging to see charges filed in the death of Philando Castille, the good cop stating “unreasonable fear” is not a reason to kill someone. Bullies are cowards and they make dangerous police officers (Daniel Willis, who killed Yvette Smith, is another example.) They either need to be removed from the force or carefully managed and never allowed on patrol by themselves. There must be a good cop with that bully to ensure public safety.
I believe police unions should be prohibited from involvement in any oversight of police misconduct because unlike other unions, public safety is at stake. I believe the courts should rule that police do indeed have to do their jobs. Maybe bullying or retaliation and other wrong doing by police should be punishable by immediate firing by the mayor or the governor or a congressman and not just the local chief of police or county sheriff or district attorney. It’s time to check the power of law enforcement and their unions. Every day we read about some wrong doing by law enforcement. Why isn’t something being done? Our courts and government representatives seem to be going in the wrong direction. If you think that law enforcement is just fine, then you just haven’t had a run in with one of their bullies yet, but your chances are going up every day that something isn’t done.
I am seeing the same problem with veterinary oversight boards. The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners dismisses about 90% of the complaints they see. How likely is it that 90% of people complaining about incompetent or negligent veterinarians because they have an injured or dead pet are not complaining of something deserving action? Oversight boards across the country are made up of veterinarians (self-monitoring again). Decades of doing so little about bad veterinarians has left us with a lot of bad veterinarians who shouldn’t be practicing. Worse for pet owners, your pet is near worthless in the eyes of the court because pets are personal property, not sentient beings with value even though we spend billions in veterinary medicine and food every year to care for them, and we are devastated with grief when they are tortured and killed. It’s senseless. No judge yet has been brave enough to give a reasonable value in cases of the negligent death of a pet. Shame on our judiciary members.
The only thing I can do is tell Harvey’s story. I have yet to make it through a whole day without crying. I am telling his story, I am sending it to my Congressman, and I sued the veterinarians. I promised Harvey I would do everything I could to get justice for what was done to him. The people who attacked him, the deputies who refused to do their jobs after multiple pleas for help, and the veterinarians who apparently decided I deserved to lose my beloved Harvey, so they tortured him to death.
Lastly, I know you will ask me if I had it to do over again, would I stand up to that police bully. I would soar around the world a zillion times a millisecond and turn back time, back to a place where Harvey is alive and I could make the right decisions to save him so he would be with me still. I would be superman or god or anything that would bring him back to me. If I could. I just want my best friend back. If I could do it over, I would have moved as soon as Harvey was burned the first time. I would have changed veterinarians when the two dogs were rescued and that veterinarian was so horrible. I would not have trusted my veterinarian of fourteen years. I want to live in a world where people do the right things. They do their jobs, they don’t torture animals, and they don’t retaliate against people and run them out of their homes.
As for standing up to that bully deputy, my answer is yes, I would do it again because if all of us refuse to stand up to wrong doing, that’s all we’ll have around us. What happened to me and Harvey is not what’s supposed to happen. We are all vulnerable to law enforcement and our veterinarians, and our doctors, and so on, so they have to be held accountable for what they do. There are crazy people out there, some are intentionally cruel people, sociopaths and psychopaths are among us, and some of them are attracted to professions they should not be in. Those need to be held accountable for what they do and removed from those professions. There must be a process to accomplish that. So many people believe as I did, that the police are the good guys, but very often they’re not. We trust our veterinarians, but some of them clearly don’t deserve that trust, and some clearly shouldn’t have a license. There must be a fair process to remove them. If we all write our Congressmen, maybe it will help change the laws and rules. Maybe we should all join the peaceful protests wherever they are held. We need this to change. We need right and wrong to matter again.
This is for Harvey. I miss you with every breath I take.