All things considered, this is not the best time to be a police officer. No matter what your feelings about law enforcement, we can all agree that the press they’ve been getting lately is not the best. For some officers, this fact may improve their on-the-job behavior. But it does not seem to have that effect on all officers.
Three members of the Phoenix, Arizona Police Department recently resigned amid allegations that they forced a man to eat marijuana during a traffic stop in lieu of the man going to jail.
Officers Richard Pina, Jason McFadden and Michael Carnicle were all in their first year on the Phoenix Police force. In the early morning hours of September 13th they allegedly pulled over a 19-year-old driver, found a gram of marijuana in the car and told him they wouldn’t take him to jail if he ate the gram. None of the officers had their body cameras on.
According to the complaint the man filed, he did eat the gram of marijuana and was allowed to leave after receiving traffic tickets for his original offense, the one that caused him to be pulled over.
Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner issued a long statement about the incident, chastising the disgraced officers for their conduct. “The Phoenix Police Department was recently made aware of an incident involving alleged misconduct by several of our officers. The incident is currently under both criminal and internal investigation. The allegations against these officers are disturbing and upsetting,” he said in part.
“As your Police Chief, I want you to know how appalled I was when I was informed about these allegations,” Yahner continued. “The conduct alleged by our resident is contrary to everything we stand for as community servants. I have directed our criminal and internal investigators to make their inquiries thorough and swift. Once the facts are determined, I will take quick and appropriate action to ensure those involved are held accountable for their actions.”
Without being at the scene at the time of the incident it’s still probably safe to surmise that the officers thought making a man eat marijuana was funny and they were amusing themselves during a long shift. Of course, there are many ways to get through a shift without playing with a member of the public like they are a puppy.
In the end, not everyone who dreams of being a cop is cut out to be a cop. Good decision-making is a key ingredient that goes into making a good police officer. These officers made a bad decision and now will have to find another line of work.