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Officer allegedly draws weapon on 7-year-old girl
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Author Topic: Officer allegedly draws weapon on 7-year-old girl  (Read 54174 times)
Dr. Dos
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« on: September 19, 2006, 15:22:43 EDT »

http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/articlelive/articles/36017/1

What was supposed to be a typical drive through a peaceful Shadyside neighborhood, turned into a standoff with a police officer threatening the life of a 7-year old girl, according one local mother.
   
Pamela Lawton of the Hill District said on Aug. 26, she was on her way to Homewood for a Pee Wee League football game with her two daughters, 7-year old Joshalyn, 8-year old Jasmine, and two other children ages 2 and 3. She said she was driving her green, 1998 Ford Windstar and was approaching the intersection at Kentucky Street and Negley Avenue when a Pittsburgh Police cruiser signaled for her to pull over.
     
“He was flying up behind me and I stopped immediately because I wanted to stay in view,” said Lawton. “I felt like there was something wrong—why would he fly up behind me like that? Plus, I had my kids in the car so it kind of scared me.”
   
What Lawton said happened next was beyond anything her initial fears predicted.
   
“I said, ‘What’s the problem, officer?’ and he said ‘Get your hands up,’” wrote Lawton in a prepared statement. “He repeated, pulled out his gun and pointed into the passenger side of the window where my youngest daughter was trying to get her seatbelt off. So, I put my hands up.”   
   
According to Lawton, she and her children spent the next 20 to 30 minutes trying to convince Officer Eric Tatusko to put his weapon down or to at least go to the driver’s side to address the problem with the only adult in the car.
   
“The children were in the car screaming and crying,” she wrote. “My hands were still in the air and I was screaming ‘Help, someone help!’ over and over again.”
   
Florence Williams, a resident at the Kitley House Senior Center on Kentucky Street, said she didn’t see everything that happened that morning, but she knows she heard the cries for help.
   
“I happened to hear somebody screaming and I came to my porch,” Williams said. “I don’t know what the cop was doing because he was on the other side, but she had her arms out the door and she was hollering ‘Please, somebody help me.’” 
   
During this time, Lawton says Tatusko refused to take her identification, never told her why she was stopped and never left the passenger side of the vehicle. She said at one point the officer got so angry he cocked his gun and said if Joshalyn moved again he would “blow her brains out.”
   
“He clicked the thing back and then he turned off his radio,” said Jasmine. “I was like ‘He’s going to kill us.’”
   
“Me and the babies were crying and (Jasmine) jumped over me for my life, and I thank my sister for doing that,” said Joshalyn.
   
A witness at the scene said Tatusko kept his gun drawn at the passenger side window until more officers came to the scene and told him to drop the weapon.
   
“When I turned the corner, there were 10 police cars and (Lawton) was in the middle,” said Rick Hill, an employee of Shadyside Nursing Rehab on Kentucky Avenue. “I heard her hollering for help and she had her hands out the window and everything. The cop already had his gun, not on her, but on the other side. When I looked in there she had kids. One cop said ‘If the kids move again, we will shoot.’”   
   
Hill, who left a frantic voice message on Lawton’s sister’s phone during the standoff, said that once more officers arrived, they searched the vehicle for a weapon and found nothing. He also said Tatusko, who was not available for comment, was told to get into another vehicle and leave the scene. 
   
Since that day, Lawton says she has struggled to come to terms with what happened to her family. The Shuman Center employee and former nurse, who changed careers to become part of the law enforcement community, said she doesn’t understand why she was treated as she was before, during and after the standoff. From the time she was pulled over to when she said police Lt. Cindy Windsor told her to shut up or ‘You’re going to jail and your kids are going to CYF,’ Lawton believes she and her children were treated worse than most criminals.
   
Lt. Windsor declined to comment other than to say that she was off of work that day. Tammy Ewin, spokesperson for the Pittsburgh Police, also declined to comment because of the case’s status with the CPRB.
   
As it was, Lawton ended up being cited for an insurance violation. She was fined and her car was towed, but according to her, the ultimate cost has already been paid with her daughters’ security and peace of mind.       
   
“Your inspection can be wrong, your license can be wrong, there’s no reason for (police) to come to the passenger side and pull a gun out and aim it through the window of a 7-year old,” she said.
   
“I can’t even sleep at night, I just think about it every day,” said Joshalyn. “They got it deep in my mind. “He was talking to me the whole time.”
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2006, 16:36:49 EDT »

Well, that's something with the potential to cause psychological problems if ever I saw it. What in the hell?
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2006, 17:15:24 EDT »

And so, the crucial difference between an american policeman and a common criminal is?
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2006, 17:23:48 EDT »

And so, the crucial difference between an american policeman and a common criminal is?

Similar to the difference between a politician and an organised crime syndicate, I'd imagine. Only far lower down the ladder.
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2006, 21:08:21 EDT »

And so, the crucial difference between an american policeman and a common criminal is?

An American policeman is forced to confront a psychologist when he pulls shit like that. Common criminals just keep doing it again and again.
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2006, 23:40:51 EDT »

And so, the crucial difference between an american policeman and a common criminal is?

Very few criminals do anything quite that senseless...your average thug at least requires the promise of some sort of gain or profit before terrorizing a family...
At least most cops aren't like that. Just had a run in with a few a couple of days ago when a car thief came running across the parking lot of the apartment complex I live in, carrying a handgun. He was running from two cops who managed to tackle him, and I was impressed by the fact that even though the guy was carrying a (presumably) loaded gun the cops never drew theirs, and were downright gentle with the guy once they had him cuffed and the weapon confiscated. They then proceeded to assure onlookers (for quite a few of us were clustering at our kitchen windows watching the spectacle) that everything was under control, and asked very politely for witnesses to come forward and provide statements. All and all, a very restrained, professional response to a frightening situation, proving that men and women with training and guts often don't even need to draw their weapons to keep the community safe. They too, were american cops, and about as far from common criminals as you get.
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2006, 00:20:53 EDT »

Ain't society grand?
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2006, 17:27:49 EDT »

How come I get the strong suspension the was a BOLO out that looks similar to the pulled over car that describes them as armed and dangerous. it's the only thing I can think of to logical way a cop with start from the beginning like that, and not come to the driver's window as standard.

even they you think an officer with half a braincell would get there assess the situation and change tact a lot sooner.
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2006, 23:53:07 EDT »

And here I am where speeding, evading arrest, and confronting an officer gets me an unwritten warning.
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2006, 17:53:36 EDT »

How come I get the strong suspension the was a BOLO out that looks similar to the pulled over car that describes them as armed and dangerous. it's the only thing I can think of to logical way a cop with start from the beginning like that, and not come to the driver's window as standard.

even they you think an officer with half a braincell would get there assess the situation and change tact a lot sooner.

It took over 20-30 minutes of him threatening a little girl, and the intercession of other officers for him to realize that the vehicle wasn't a threat? I don't think so. That cop was just one taco short of a combination plate.
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2006, 10:49:23 EDT »

Here is an update: basically there isn't one.  The city has still not given any official side. WTF?  The reporter's story was very one-sided, but apparently this is because there is no one on the other side willing to speak.

Update:
http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/articlelive/articles/36196/1/One-Hood-challenges-system/Justice-seekers-challenge-others-to-step-up.html

Here's the bottom (not part of the official article):
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    * Comment #1 (Posted by Paradise Gray)
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      The Pittsburgh Police have given a summons to Mrs. Pamela Lawton requesting that she turn herself in before Fri., Oct. 13 for finger printing as they are charging her with disorderly conduct for screaming for help as Officer Eric Tatusko aimed his gun at her 7 year old child’s head, threatening to "Blow her brains out".

      She was also told that she would need bail money, suggesting that she will be arrested when she surrenders.

      We demand that the City of Pittsburgh:

      1. Drop all charges against Pamela Lawton immediately.

      2. Suspend Officer Tatusko without pay until further investigation. (It is crazy to arrest Mrs. Lawton, who has committed no crime, and allow Officer Eric Tatusko to remain at work carrying a gun in the community).

      3. Give cultural sensitivity training to all officers who serve the public in our communities.

      4. Better train all officers on de-escalating problems.

      5. Give the Civilian police review board more power.

      6. Place Video cameras in all police cars.

      7. Work with community based organizations to deal with crime.

      8. Re-establish Community orientated police.

      9. Give a formal public and written apology to the Lawton family from the City and Police Dept. top brass.

      10. Pay for therapy sessions for Mrs. Lawton and her children.

      Paradise Gray

      Justice 4 The Lawton Family,
      Paradise Gray
      http://www.myspace.com/onehoodorg
      http://www.myspace.com/paradisegray

Not that I think there need to be any more lawyers running around, but this lady needs a good one.  And chances are, she's not going to get it.  Were I her, I'd contest all charges.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2006, 11:03:56 EDT by Schroedinger's Cat » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2006, 14:32:09 EDT »

If that is true, its a serious matter.

Because if one officer behaves badly, yes, that does reflect badly on the whole police force, but doesnt neccesarily mean the police force as a whole has failed. It could do, but then again, it could perhaps have been something totaly unforseeable.

Now if one police officers abuse of power ends up with the victim being punished, and the offender getting away without any reprimand, that means there IS definatly a serious failing in the institution as a whole, which is worrying.
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2006, 15:05:51 EDT »

If this took place in a inner city ghetto odds are the women would be rescued by a angry mob (comming to bust the officer's face) as race riots have been started over police acting in such a manner aginst blacks in black ghettos.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2006, 15:08:33 EDT by Psy » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2006, 16:24:45 EDT »

chances are, both victim and offender are white.  If iether were not, im sure their race would have been specified by the media. They do like to point out ethnic minorites.
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2006, 17:20:22 EDT »

no, the victim is a black family. If you click the first link i think it shows a picture of the family.
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