A difficult lesson to learn

November 1, 2012

Dear Editor,

We read with interest Mr. Timothy Bailey’s letter to the newspaper about taking personal responsibility. The problem is that not everyone that is hassled by authorities has done something illegal like Mr. Bailey did. We have watched the video that Mr. Bailey was referring to and the police and prosecutors were way out of line and they need to take responsibility themselves. The police and prosecutors need to realize that they are dealing with human beings with real feelings. We have rights too.

Earlier this year, I was cutting down a tree when the tree took an unexpected direction and crashed down on me. My wife Julie called 911 and asked for immediate assistance. It took some time, but the ambulance did finally arrive. My lung was punctured, my hip was broken, my back was fractured and my ribs were broken as well. I was having a very difficult time breathing and it was also difficult to speak. The responders attempted to place me on a flat board and my wife made it clear that I could not be placed on a flat board due to my scoliosis and kyphosis. She urged them to use the padded carrier to take me to the ambulance.

The police officer present got upset with my wife and started yelling and bullying her to back off even though she was about ten feet away. The responders were not taking any action to get me to the hospital because they could not figure out what to do and my wife advised that if they did not do something quick she was going to take me to the hospital in her own car.

Again, the officer got upset at my wife and got in her face.  I had to struggle to take off my oxygen mask and tell my wife that I was ok because the officer was being overbearing against my wife made me believe the  that the police officer was about to arrest her for no reason except being worried about me. In reality I was ok, but the way the officer was treating my wife made me worry more about my wife than my own situation.

Ultimately, the responders did what was suggested by my wife and used the padded carrier to get me to the ambulance. Once in the ambulance, the officer was laughing and talking away with the responders and my wife became upset that they were not leaving and did not seem to have a sense of urgency.

When my wife arrived to the hospital she had no idea if I was still alive or not. She was very concerned and wanted to know my condition. Instead of being helpful or understanding, the same police officer from the scene of the accident and two others started yelling at her that she was not entitled to know the condition of her husband and this of course did upset my wife.

Keep in mind that my wife has absolutely no criminal record and was only concerned about the welfare of her husband as any wife would be. My wife took great offense that the officers would tell her that she was not entitled to know the condition of her husband.

A nurse overheard this conversation and was kind enough to make an inquiry as to my condition to let my wife know what was going on and further she made arrangements for my wife to be able to come  back and be by my side.

Thankfully, I survived this ordeal but the way my wife was treated has never left our minds. We filed a complaint with the officers supervisor and was later handed several letters by other officers and some of the responders that contained outright lies about the actions of both myself and my wife. The entire event has left us with a very poor opinion of the officers and responders. This was a difficult lesson to learn.

Sharing these stories has nothing to do with “hate” as suggested by Mr. Bailey. What creates “hate” is when people in authority lie and abuse their authority against us. We would urge anyone with a story to tell to share those stories with others so that poor treatment by those who say they are there to protect us will stop. Also, we have learned that every time you come in contact with a police officer you should videotape the contact every chance you get even if it is just with a video camera on your phone as this will be the only way to keep everyone honest.

Larry Wagner
Julie Wagner

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