The Daily Sheeple recently published an update about an officer who was fired in 2012 for stopping another officer from using excessive force on a mentally ill man. The links in the article reveal how we often aren’t told the whole story.
According to a New Jersey news outlet:
Tasca, who is gay and was the borough’s first female police officer, was fired last month, after the borough adopted Donohue’s recommendation. She had faced more than 20 administrative and departmental charges and an unfit for duty charge in connection to two April 2011 incidents.
She was accused of failing to help her partner as he struggled to restrain a drunken woman in the first incident and interfering with two Ridgefield Park officers as they tried to restrain an emotionally disturbed man in the second.
More of the story from an article at LewRockwell.com:
Regina Tasca, a 20-year veteran officer from Bogota, New Jersey, was terminated by the Borough Council on September 21. This decision came after a lengthy investigation into her purported misdeeds.
Prior to her termination, Officer Tasca had never generated a single citizen complaint or official reprimand. She was being considered for promotion before she got in trouble in April 2011.
The article subsequently lists a number of “cases of severe police misconduct that either went entirely unpunished, or resulted in sanctions short of termination.” It then returns to Tasca’s story:
Tasca was on patrol on April 29, 2011 when she got a call for medical assistance. Former Bogota Council Member Tara Sharp, concerned about the erratic behavior of her son Kyle, called the police to take him to the hospital for a psychological evaluation. As noted earlier, requesting police intervention, particularly in cases of this kind, is never a good idea…Tasca acted quickly to calm down the distraught young man, whose mood changed abruptly when he saw the other officers arrive.
The official report on the matter, which was written by retired Judge Richard Donohue, claims that Kyle “was aggressive [and] started to walk away….” Only someone incurably inhospitable to both logic and honesty would describe walking away as “aggressive” behavior. Kyle also instructed the police not to step on his property, which was a lawful order the police were required to obey. Instead, Sgt. Chris Thibault tackled Kyle, wrapped him in a bear hug, and attempted to handcuff him. Within an instant, Sgt. Joe Rella piled on and began to slug Kyle in the head while his horrified mother screamed at the officers to stop.
Tasca instinctively did what any legitimate peace officer would do: She intervened to protect the victim, pulling Rella off the helpless and battered young man. Tasca’s act was one of instinctive decency, genuine principle, and no small amount of courage. It was also the action dictated by her department’s use-of-force policy, the first page of which specifies that it is “the responsibility of law enforcement to take steps possible to prevent or stop the illegal or inappropriate use of force by other officers.”
In his report on the case, Judge Donohue acknowledged that Tasca acted in compliance with the use-of-force policy – but he dismissed that fact on the preposterous grounds that “no evidence was presented to establish that Officer Tasca even knew about the document.”
The judge dismissed the fact that Tasca acted according to the law because there was no proof that she knew the law? This judge is the so-called independent expert that the Bogota mayor and his cohorts hired. He’s now retired. I wonder when that happened. The New Jersey article provides this quote about the judge from the mayor:
“She had the hearing. He turned around and said she should be fired. We did the right thing by her I think. We did what we were supposed to do. It certainly wasn’t political.”
Regarding the other charge against Tasca, from the Lew Rockwell article:
Earlier in the same month, Tasca had prompted criticism for failing to rush to the aid of her partner, Officer Jay Fowler, during a brief confrontation with a tiny, drunken woman at a hospital. The woman, who was not a criminal suspect, was taken to the hospital for medical attention. She decided to leave, and when Fowler – who had already surrendered custody to the hospital – tried to stop her, the young woman “flailed” her arms, inflicting a small scratch on one of Fowler’s hands that tore open an old scab.
As a result of this “altercation” with a woman whom he outweighed by about 100 pounds, Fowler spent a week on paid medical leave, according to Donohue’s report.
“Nobody had said anything to me about the earlier case until after the incident with the Ridgefield officers,” Tasca pointed out to me. Her refusal to gang-tackle a tiny, confused woman in a hospital, coupled with her active intervention to stop a criminal assault on an unarmed, mentally unbalanced man who was not a criminal suspect, supposedly established a “pattern” of behavior that made Tasca a danger to her fellow officers.
The “good old boy” cop suffers a scratch on his hand and gets a week off with pay, while Tasca gets fired and worse. This is what happens when good officers don’t go along:
After being put on suspension, Tasca was subjected to a psychological evaluation by Dr. Matthew Geller, a psychiatrist who does contact work for New Jersey law enforcement agencies. Geller’s assessment reads like something compiled by a State-employed psychiatrist in the Brezhnev-era Soviet psihuska. Geller claims that Tasca suffers from something called a “mixed personality disorder,” displaying “a personality type characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiose self-importance and exaggerated sense of talent and achievement.”
That does not sound like a true assessment of an officer who acted like an actual human being. Rather, it sounds like an assessment of one of the out-of-control officers we’ve been hearing about, such as those who shot an 80-year-old man who was in his own bed and the officially-sanctioned officer/thugs who beat Thomas Kelly to death. From the article:
This purported dysfunction, once again, wasn’t noticed until after Tasca displayed the character and integrity to take the morally appropriate action – one dictated by the official guidelines of her department – in defiance of pressure from her peers and superiors to conform.
This is truly scary. Few upstanding people are going to want to become peace officers, thus leaving the rest of us vulnerable to officially-sanctioned psychopaths (just like what’s happened in D.C. politics).
Another point to this post is that it’s so important to take the time to research things for yourself. For example, someone who’d read only the NJ news article would have thought Tasca was a bad cop. Like all bloggers, I try my hardest to do good research and get good info to you, but I don’t have access to all the info that’s out there. Who does? I simply offer some of the pieces in order to help us gain a picture of what’s really going on.
UPDATE March 2015: The Free Thought Project is reporting that Officer Tasca has been reinstated. It seems that during the reinstatement hearing not only did the officer who punched the victim admit to covering it up, but Tasca’s captain admitted to lying in his report to get her fired. Neither of them received disciplinary action. The only mainstream report of this (that I can find) is at Pix 11.