The Cop who Handcuffed the Kid

What should happen to the San Jose police officer who handcuffed the teenage boy after confronting him about contact with his step-daughter? I believe that the cop should be fired immediately.

The Mercury News and several Bay Area TV news stations have reported that the officer in question went to the home of a teenager who had had sex with his underage step-daughter. The cop handcuffed the 15-year-old-boy and was heard to say on a cell phone recording, “A cop’s daughter is not somebody you mess around with. You’re stupid.”

“We thought he was there to arrest our son,” the boy’s mother told the Merc. “He was in full cop mode the whole time.” According to the report, “after lecturing the boy for minutes, the officer quietly told the parents he was not going to arrest their son after all…he just wanted to scare him, he said, and he handed the parents an arrest card that he suggested they put it up on the refrigerator to make sure the boy did not forget.”

Sean Webby reported that, “Police sources say it is not uncommon for officers to stop, search and sometimes handcuff youths if the parents ask them to as part of a “scared straight” tactic. But the parents of this boy say they gave no such permission.” 

One wonders if this practice is really all that common, or just an effort on the part of these police sources to diffuse the situation. That a parent would give an officer “permission” to handcuff their child does not give that officer the right to do so. What are we talking about here?

The officer’s attorney advances the argument that the officer was acting as a concerned father. Columnist Scott Herhold wrote, “If I were faced with the situation the San Jose cop was…I’d be tempted to do what he did.” Bull. Cops do not have a license to freelance, and are not entitled to take the law into their own hands. 

Take off the uniform, put the gun and badge in the drawer, and then go pay a visit to the teenager’s home to “chat” with the kid’s parents.

This cop abused his authority. There should be no room on San Jose’s police force for “cowboys” or bullies.

22 Comments

  1. You are so right Pete. This is another example of San Jose police officers’ anger management issues. So many of our police officers display the snarly,in your face behavior all too often. I was recently in Europe and noticed the everyday officers and their attitudes towards their FELLOW citizens (and visitors) was very different than here. It was not until we arrived at US Customs did the angry attitude present itself once again. Sad really.

    Rose Garden resident

    • The guys with the machine guns standing at the Spanish rail stations smiled at you and made you feel more welcome than SJPD?  Or was it the unarmed British police walking about in their quaint outfits and stopping in at the public houses?

      Maturity actually brings a better life perspective and there’s something to be said for the old beat cop who knows the neighborhood and rather than jumping fences and chasing a perp down alleys can stroll over to their house and ask the mother if they know what their son has been up to today.

  2. First off, Sean Webby nor the Murky News are credible sources.  Their exaggeration and purposeful mischaracterization are well documented.

    Second, even if what they reported is entirely accurate, such a mistake would not justify losing one’s job.  Counseling, training, a week off, another assignment are all much for fitting punishment.

    Everyone makes mistakes, including the children who created the situation to begin with.  Society cannot go around demanding everyone be fired when mistakes are made- if that were the case Sean Webby would be unemployed, and no doubt Pete Campbell would be as well.

  3. For whatever reason, this does not bother me.  It isn’t as if he pulled out his gun and threatened the kid.  Now the kid has a good story, and his friends are going to be envious.  Plus, he is also having sex!!!

    • As the recently late Joseph Sobran once wisely put it, “Behind every traffic ticket lies the threat of death.”  I don’t care whether he pulled his pistol or not; by handcuffing that kid, he engaged in a very serious breach of the public order under color of law.  I’m willing to offer him the chance to resign, in iieu of being fired, but that’s all the leniency I feel inclined to offer at this time.

  4. “I believe that the cop should be fired immediately.”—

    Without regard to any violation of department policy, what the officer did was:

    1. Not illegal. Confronting persons who’ve broken the law is what cops do every day. He had every right to take that boy into custody and book him, and every right to do something less (which he did). Parental permission is not required to arrest or intimidate.

    2. Not unethical. Cops regularly confront and/or handcuff and/or arrest people who’ve victimized them (cut them off in traffic, stole from them, assaulted them, etc.). Personal interest does not necessarily negate objectivity. 

    3. Not offensive. His “cop’s daughter” lecture is no more offensive to a horny teen than the typical “not on my beat” threat is to the graffiti punk, the “not in this town” warning is to the outlaw biker gang, or any of the other ways that cops use language to communicate firm commitment and certain consequences to people who need help restraining themselves.

    4. Not surprising. Given the situation the officer’s options were limited, he could have:

    a. Reported the offense to the appropriate investigative unit, thus risking his step-daughter to: suffer a level of embarrassment that ruins reputations and relationships; form resentments that tend to aggravate rebellious behavior; a potentially damaging criminal record. Also to be considered is the strain such a decision might create in the officer’s relationship with his wife and, perhaps, the girl’s biological father.

    b. Seek the assistance of a fellow officer to act in his stead and attempt to secure, without emotion or fanfare, the desired result, that being an end to an unlawful and potentially disastrous sexual relationship. Of course, seeking this path might, if the other parents prove scuzzy enough, put his friend in a bind.

    c. Attempt to handle the situation sans uniform and government authority, aware that the warnings and protestations of a composed, concerned parent pale in comparison to the impact of those delivered to a young man in an aggressive and intimidating manner (which is why drill instructors don’t carry themselves like Mr. Rogers).

    d. Do nothing other than to try to control the situation by increasing his control of his sexually-active step-daughter, the close the barn door approach to the runaway horse dilemma.

    That so many believe that what was done to this kid harmed him is exactly why this culture has done such a poor job of making men out of this last generation of young boys. Being intimidated by a powerful adult is a good experience for a teenage boy, especially one who thinks he has the right to use his burgeoning male attributes to take liberties with a 14 year-old girl. The boy needs to learn how his male attributes are received by those with the power to check his, lest he grow up without the required self-restraint and wind-up enclosed by bars or outlined in chalk.

    I am saddened to realize that the dense, estrogen-rich air of the Bay Area has caused so many to FEEL so much that they can’t SEE what it was the officer wanted to do. Trying to prevent hormone-charged teens from situations they’re too young to deal with is what responsible adults are supposed to do, even if it requires the display of power and authority. Better a scared boy than another unwanted child or disposable fetus.

    If it turns out this cop, who I understand has an otherwise unsullied decade plus of service, bullied his way into the house—something that appears quite doubtful, then some level of CORRECTIVE discipline would be appropriate. But these parents, who’ve found it necessary to get a lawyer and take their case to national television, appear to be motivated by something less noble than justice. Where is the evidence that this cop did anything to justify their stupid decision to take this case public and guarantee their son’s entry into the juvenile justice system?

    Whatever happens, what this cop did, if it spares his family from being contaminated by the gene pool that boy’s parents have put on public display, the cost will be well worth it.

    • “I am saddened to realize that the dense, estrogen-rich air of the Bay Area has caused so many to FEEL so much that they can’t SEE what it was the officer wanted to do.”

      If anything is estrogen rich, it’s your comments.  You must be a regular @ Asilomar.

      • Asilomar? Did you hit your head on something? I knew from your earlier comment, the one recommending anger management classes for the officer, that you were off your game, but how you could equate my post with Asilomar is more than I can figure out.

        By the way, anger management is nothing more than a government-approved scam to keep mediocre psychology grads off of the welfare rolls, so sentencing the cop to attend is, in reality, sentencing us taxpayers to pay for bullshit.

  5. You might support the cop if the kid he handcuffed and reprimanded was boinking your 14 year old daughter. You would be thanking the cop rather than writing a column demanding his firing.

    • I understand your point perfectly….cops are responsible for disciplining our children.  And, I suppose you’ll say that teachers are 100% responsible for educating our children.

      • How you can extrapolate this conclusion from my prior comment is interesting. Just to clarify, if hypothetically a 15 year old boy was, on multiple occasions, screwing your young teenager, you would not want a cop to take some drastic measures, even if they are for show, to scare the crap out of the 15 year old into staying away from your daughter? Conversely, if you were the father of the 15 year old boy, you wouldn’t want a cop to put a scare into him lest he actually be arrested or gets a girl pregnant? This cop did nothing wrong except trying to instill a little well placed fear into this boy. I didn’t realize cops are suppose to ignore the law if it involves their own family.

  6. Paid administrative leave followed by an investigation into all the facts of the case. 

    As each of us would expect to be treated fairly by our employer when faced with serious allegations, so should this officer.  Someone who served for a substantial period of time should not be summarily dismissed because its politically convenient (that’s for Army Generals with big mouths.)

    That means we don’t try him on the evening news or convict him via talk radio, blogs, newspaper editorials or other highly unobjective and non-impartial outlets.  Let the matter be investigated both within the department and outside by the legally appointed watchdogs (DA, Police Auditor).  If legal infractions, misdemeanors or felonies are alleged, let the DA and plaintiffs examine the case to see if facts merit proceeding.  If not, let management handle it as a personnel matter that might require corrective action up to and including demotion, reassignment, reinstatement of probation, suspension, and other normal remedies offered under employment law.

    • This would be more persuasive if the “legally appointed watchdogs” were not effectively controlled by the police department and police union.

      As it is, the police (with assistance from elected officials) have chosen to eliminate all but the appearance of independent oversight.  “Turn it over to the auditor” is another way to say “do nothing.

  7. “A cop’s daughter is not somebody you mess around with. You’re stupid.”

    Uh, officer, WHO’S stupid?  He’s a kid; you’re an adult, with the power of life and death in your hands.  Stick to de-caf, please.

    “The officer’s attorney advances the argument that the officer was acting as a concerned father.”  WRONG!! He went there in uniform, and abused his authority.

    I don’t think he should be fired if this is an isolated incident, but he certainly needs to be severely reprimanded, perhaps suspended WITHOUT PAY for a suitable period of time while he takes some anger management classes and learns some self-control.  If this is not an isolated matter of loss of self-control, then yes, he should be fired.

  8. I fail to see the problem.

    Police Officers are often brought into schools as role models for our young children and someone they should turn to when they have a problem. 

    I for one applaud this office for using his badge to protect his teenage daughter from something that has the potential of turning her into another non-productive member of society.  If anything he is the role model super cop that we should all want protecting our neighborhood.

    I wish more parents would call the cops when they catch their kids having sex before they are legally consenting adults.  You would do the same if they were drinking or doing drugs, so why the hypocrisy about sex?  All of these behaviors in adolescents can have serious impacts for their futures as well as the larger issues for our society.

    If it was my teenage son bonking his daughter I sure would want him to get the scared straight talk instead of 18 years of child support payments and another fatherless child being brought up in this world.  Wearing the uniform or not this conversation is something we should all be willing to have with our kids.

    • “Wearing the uniform or not this conversation is something we should all be willing to have with our kids.”

      It is precisely the wearing of the uniform that IS the problem.  Had he gone home, changed into “civvies”, and then gone to the boy’s house to talk with him and his parents, this would have been a non-event, and perfectly justifiable.

      He took action improperly under the color of his authority as a uniform-wearing cop.

      Those who have been on this blog for a long time know that I am VERY pro-cop.  But this particular act by this particular cop is unjustifiable.

  9. I don’t see what the Officer did wrong?  I would have tazed the kid if it was me.  Odds are the boy had a mouth on him, why else would he end up in cuff’s?  Way to many bleeding heart liberals with all the answers here… You all know so much about police work, kids and family affairs with horny teenagers.  Which I would assume most of you are single,thus why else would you be on this blog wasting time.

  10. If this was gender flipped it wouldnt have happened. If the cop found out his step-son was having sex and the female was older, would have the cop reacted the same? NOPE.

    I find numberous comments posted are all about the boys “hormones” and that he some how made the girl give it up because of his natural hormones and natural human behavior. If this was the case the girl would have told her parents teacher etc that she was raped, and then the “legit” police would have handled the case.

    I find that the cops attorneys claim that “the officer was acting as a concerned father.” I dont think so.  Think about it, if the father had any other career would have he been able to force/intimidate his way into the boys home? Place handcuffs on him ? Yell at the boy?  HELL NO, so the cop DID cross the line

    The cop should be fired and arrested, he should be charged with a minimum, home invasion, unlawful detainment. and “impersonation” of a legit on the clock police officer

    • a few corrections…. 

      and the female was older, would the cop have reacted the same? NOPE

      his way into the boys home? Place handcuffs on him ? Yell at the boy? If the “father” had been an accountant or a teacher, would they be able to dress in a cops uniform with a badge and a gun, go to the boys house identify himself as a cop then pull the bs this father/cop did ? HELL NO, so the cop DID cross the line….

      Explain the “legit” cop portion, If this cop/father was not on duty/clocked in for a shift, this father wasnt a “legit” cop at the time. If I am a cashier, and I am off the clock, can i go and do something wrong but then claim it was okay as I am a cashier, It wouldnt hold up, so why is a cop allowed to pull it? He MISS USED his “powers” as a cop to break the law.  The Family SHOULD sue…

      The one thing I dont get is why the boy or girl would worry about the age of consent, he is 15 and her age is unknown via the article, however unless she is under 12 then he can be in a little trouble but if she is 12 and up, they cant prosecute unless the “romeo and Juliet” law was repealed… (one of the many perks straight couples have)