Did Tennessee cop take down college student with Vulcan nerve pinch?

This article was in the Daily Mail. The Drudge Report linked to it today. The article states that this officer, Frank Phillips,

TN nerve pinch officer

choked this college student, Jarod Dotson,

TN college student nerve pinched by officer

while another officer was handcuffing Dotson.

It all started when around 800 students celebrating the end of finals week got drunk and “began spilling into the street” from wherever they were partying. When police arrived, the drunks began throwing beer bottles at the police cars. Dotson was handcuffed and taken to a nearby paddy wagon where the handcuffs of the arresting officer were removed and replaced with paddy wagon cuffs. The police report states that Dotson resisted arrest at that point and “grabbed on to an officer’s leg.” That’s not in the photographs. What the photographs show is officer Phillips placing one hand behind and one on the side of Dotson’s neck while another officer cuffs Dotson and another looks on. Here are the photos:

TN 01b TN 01cTN 01 TN 02 TN 03 TN 04 TN 05

Phillips looks like he may be smiling at Dotson in the fourth photo. Or is an evil grin as he sees his nerve pinch doing its dastardly deed? In case anyone doesn’t remember it, here’s a photo of the Vulcan nerve pinch for comparison:

TN Vulcan nerve pinch

Someone was nice enough to provide these instructional drawings:

TN nerve pinch instructions

Despite officer Phillips’ rather menacing appearance in the headshot, he doesn’t appear at all agitated in the arrest photos. He also doesn’t appear to be choking Dotson, as the photographer alleged and the news headline declares. Unless Phillips is a master Vulcan nerve pincher, then doesn’t it seem more likely that Dotson may have passed out after drinking too much? And how reliable is the photographer’s account? He also stated that Phillips “slapped [Dotson] around the head a few times before walking off.” Where are his photographs of that?

The article further states that Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones found Phillips “unsuitable for continued employment.” It also states:

Jones’ action in disciplining the officers was well-received by the community. He’s now up for re-election, with early voting already taking place.

I find it very disturbing that it’s become popular to vilify police. Even the opportunist sheriff, JJ, is doing so, and to one of his own officers.

If I’m wrong, and Phillips actually strangled Dotson, then my apologies to Dotson and it’s good that someone has finally taken action against a bad cop. On the other hand, the photos don’t seem to support the assertion that Phillips strangled the young man.

What’s disturbing is that no one is doing anything to the really bad cops; for example, those who beat homeless men to death while other officers watch. In this case you have Phillips, who may well be a good cop, declared not fit for duty while bad cops are getting away with murder. Playing to the anti-police crowd is not going to help relations between officers and the general public. Rather, it’s going to make the us-against-them mentality even worse and that will make things less safe for both law enforcement and the rest of us.

Good cops fired. Bad cops exonerated. The promotion of bad feelings between law enforcement and the people they’re supposed to serve. Remember also the militarization of police forces and the violent, sometimes murderous, activities of really bad cops. Feel free to add those up and draw your own conclusion.

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