18 April 2012

Regina Tasca: unfit for duty

Many thanks to Reason's Mike Riggs for posting the link that led me to this.

Story, from Reason.com, WPIX, and the Lehigh Valley Morning Call: Regina Tasca, a cop working with the Bogota Police Department in New Jersey, responded to a call from a woman asking that her emotionally disturbed son be taken to the hospital. Tasca brought two other cops with her for backup; the young man started walking to one side while he talked to them on the front yard of his house, and the other two cops tackled him and started beating him up.

Tasca pulled the other cops off of the young man - who was not charged with any crime, but was treated at the hospital with bruises on his head, back, arms, and wrists. The whole thing was caught on video.

So Tasca stopped a couple of cops from dealing out worse police brutality than they were in the process of handing out. For this, her department is calling her "psychologically unfit for duty" and trying to fire her.

From the WPIX story:

On the tape you can hear Tara, the mother, and Kyle, her son, screaming, "Why are you punching him?" and "Stop punching me!"

The two Ridgefield Park Sergeants are never heard refuting the claims that they punched the 22 year-old man as he was waiting for an ambulance.

Even worse, Kyle was never charged, nor arrested, for any offense. Tasca says it's because he never threatened, did not have a weapon, and indeed never resisted and was not violent. Eventually Tasca was able to pry the punching Ridgefield Park officer off Kyle, as seen in a picture taken by the Kyle's mother, who also later commended Tasca in a phone call.

The call came in to Tasca's answering machine and was kept on a recording: "Thank you Regina. I appreciate you standing up for him, for protecting him while the officer attacked him. I can't figure out what i would have done without you at the scene."

Catherine Elston is the attorney helping Tasca prepare for a week-long departmental trial. Elston is also a former police officer.

"This was excessive force used against an emotionally disturbed person," she said. "This was an unlawful tackle, this was a punching an emotionally disturbed person whose arms were pinned under his chest with his face pushed into the ground."

What happened next is so baffling to so many.

Tasca's voice began to waiver as she recounted the meeting with her superior officer:

"The next thing I know he asks me to turn over my weapon and be sent for a fitness for duty exam," she said.

Bogota PD, after hearing Tasca's story, believes she is psychologically incompetent to be a police officer, and she is being sent for testing. The Ridgefield Park Police officers seen tackling and punching an emotionally disturbed man waiting for an ambulance are never questioned. never interviewed by an Internal Affairs Investigator, and are still working the streets today.

If you believe that police brutality and corruption in the United States are the result of a "few bad apples", you need to think again. Corruption, violence, and a sense that the public are the enemy are absolutely pervasive throughout the entire system; indeed, given the history of American policing, one might say that they are foundational to it. The most positive thing you can say about our police is that, scattered from place to place, keeping their heads down and trying to keep other cops in check, are a few good apples - like, apparently, this Regina Tasca.

Of course Ms. Tasca is "psychologically incompetent to be a police officer." Being "competent", for the pigs, means being a racist, a sexist, a classist, and more than just a bit of a sociopath. Try to stop two cops from bashing some poor kid's head in? Psychologically incompetent. Do the bashing, and, like the two cops that Tasca tried to stop, you're good to go.


Nick said...

Sounds to me like Regina is the best cop in the entire country. It's really unfortunate that this isn't national news.

sprawwling said...

I agree - one of the "good apples" that, if any part of the system is going to be saved, we need more of. Feel free to spread this, or the Reason article, or both, around - national news via the grassroots might be nice.