Sentence In the Head Kicking Case: What Is The Message Out of Superior Court?
That you can kick a handcuffed person in the head and not go to jail …
1.) Whenever you want?
2.) Only if you’re a police officer?
3.) Either of the above as long as you have the right attorney?
Edward Krawetz, the Lincoln Police Officer convicted of kicking a handcuffed suspect in the head outside of Twin River Casino in 2009, will serve no jail time.
On Monday morning Superior Court Justice Edward Clifton sentenced Krawetz to a 10 year suspended sentence and 10 years probation. The state asked for 7 years with 18 months to serve behind bars but the judge showed leniency because the crime was not committed with a knife or gun and there was no injury. Krawetz could have faced up to 20-years in jail.
This just encourages more bad behavior for these cops. I don’t know who trains them or screens them, but they are doing a lousy job. This is how communities get sued. If they have out of control law enforcement, the taxpayer has to pay for their horrid behavior.
“This just encourages more bad behavior for these cops. I don’t know who trains them or screens them, but they are doing a lousy job. This is how communities get sued. If they have out of control law enforcement, the taxpayer has to pay for their horrid behavior.”
I encourage you to do some research on the selection process and the training in this state before puking up further moral indignation. Sometimes you can’t but wonder how someone like you can travel through life with this amount of ignorance and manage to live and breath.
It is always difficult to form an opinion on sentencing when one has only reported information. I tend to err on the side of caution and think that the judge may have had information that we do not have that informed his decision. I don’t think the 3 choices Monique offers are very serious.
There is no doubt this guy is a thug but if he wasn’t a cop it would have gone to felony screening and been reduced to a misdemeanor simple assault with or without the video. That along with no testimony from the victim puts the case at risk of being overturned on appeal. I would never defend this disgrace but let’s keep it real. If the AG only asked for 18 months to serve, they knew he would get less from the start. Let’s not forget this is an automatic ticket to a firing and none to soon.
“I tend to err on the side of caution and think that the judge may have had information that we do not have that informed his decision.”
That would in the vast majority of situations be unconstitutional.
Posted by Kathy
“I don’t know who trains them or screens them, but they are doing a lousy job.”
I did know a lawyer in Boston who “trained” the State Police. I don’t remember all of his stories, but this one stuck. “If you hit someone, make sure you arrest him”. If you don’t arrest him, you don’t have a defense of “resisting arrest”. I also remember his story of being assigned to investigate police response to a “race riot” in Lawrence, MA (don’t quote that, I am a little hazy on the city). He found the police chief hiding under his desk to avoid questioning.
There is a shortage of jail space, I am sure the judge knows this. I am sure he also knows that no “hardened criminal” is going to survive 10 years probabtion without an offense. Sort of kicking the can down the road.
Police are just people, ask yourself who is attracted to it. I remember, from at least 25 years ago, a tv ad to join the forestry service. Repeated, at least 5 times, in the commercial was “Wear a uniform and arrest violaters”. I wonder if that was “focus grouped”? Many times police forces, such as the Capitol Police in Washington, are “employers of last resort”. Seeming to exist in order to provide “good jobs at a good wage” to politicians relatives.
“employers of last resort”. Seeming to exist in order to provide “good jobs at a good wage” to politicians relatives.
Yes Warrington this is exactly why a police force exists. It amazes me that a seemingly intelligent person would write something so stupid.
It’s common knowledge that different professions have particular problem areas based on selection bias and perverse incentives on the job, and it is only natural that this would be the case. Why deny that these exist for police officers and lose all credibility while perpetuating the problems?
For example, it’s not due to happenstance that half of the ethical rules for attorneys have to do with mixing of personal funds and client funds. When an attorney comes up a couple of thousand short for rent one month – where do you think he’s going to go if he has access to $1 million in clients’ money sitting in the bank? It’s not a question of integrity as much as it’s a question of overwhelming incentives to do unethical things.
“It’s common knowledge that different professions have particular problem areas based on selection bias and perverse incentives on the job, and it is only natural that this would be the case.”
Selection bias and perverse incentives? You’re trying to stretch your own personal agenda as cause for bad apples. How about no matter how well you vet and train someone in any profession, you don’t really know the result until you’ve hired them.
All I’m saying is that responsible members of a profession will acknowledge their unique sets of challenges and problems. When we put on blinders toward our own and ignore the issues, e.g. “there is no problem with disability fraud in the Providence Fire Department,” we enable them to persist and become just another part of the problem. I’m sure that there is a unique set of problems in the police force and I’m sure you know what they are even better than we do. It would just be nice to hear them acknowledged openly once in a while instead of serially denied and buried out of the public view. The thin blue line concept hasn’t exactly helped public relations.
Posted by seirra1
“Yes Warrington this is exactly why a police force exists. It amazes me that a seemingly intelligent person would write something so stupid.”
Sierra, I will spare you my personal experience with the Washington Capital Police where I recieved a black eye for taking a picture of the White House, and just go to an incident from the news.
The last Capitol Policeman killed in the line of duty, a random killing, not an attempted arrest, was Rep. Moakley’s brother in law. He was a former house painter who was hired at age 57, two years past mandatory retirement age. Do you think a desire to “serve and protect” was what drew him to Washington? What kind of experience, or training, could he possibly have had. What was the “selection process” at work there? Kind of reminds me of TSA. Are they not “police”?
“It would just be nice to hear them acknowledged openly once in a while instead of serially denied and buried out of the public view. The thin blue line concept hasn’t exactly helped public relations.”
Poor character. There’s really no test for that. The most squared away looking applicant can be your worst nightmare. Sure there are the occasional hires that have pull and you know certain character flaws were overlooked but they could just as well be the best. You just never know how someone will handle the authority to suspend an individual’s freedom.
“a random killing, not an attempted arrest”
Warrington if this is the case then all the training or none of the training, all the desire to “serve and protect” or none of the desire to “serve and protect” would’ve mattered. Once again, useless anecdote not germane to the conversation.
No Warrington the TSA is not, nor ever will be “like” the police. They’re not even “like” airport security guards.
Dan, I’ve yet to hear one police officer, whether publicly or privately, condone Krawetz’ behavior. Like Max said, no background check, no matter how thorough, is going to reveal if someone has a hair trigger temper or poor character and judgement if the person has managed to keep it in check for most of their adult life. Several thousand active police officers in the state and there’s a few bad apples. It happens, no hiring system is fool proof unfortunately.
Warrington-TSA are not “police”in any sense-they are security screeners.
I remember an old Chief Patrol Agent at the Border Patrol Academy who said very bluntly-“there’s no timekeeper in the riverbottom-if you have to kill the motherf*cker to get out of there alive,don’t hold back”.
I don’t think they put it quite that way any more.
I was kicked in the head by a prisoner I was transporting to the office after a fight with him in the street in Chicago back over 30 years ago-he was handcuffed and in the front seat at the time-he was cuffed behind the back,but was agile and still extemely pissed off-I reacted by backhanding him in the face with a lead weighted blackjack.
I almost drove into the opposite lane on Lake Shore Drive when he kicked me-I felt my life was in danger at that moment.There is no one size fits all response.It was the only time I ever hit a handcuffed person.
Two of my classmates were killed in the line of duty.
I don’t tolerate comparisons between outfits like TSA and those which actually have to enforce the law hands on-whether in the street,in prisons,or certain other locations.
BTW no average citizen convicted of unarmed battery where no serious injury was inflicted would get any jail time on a first conviction.
“BTW no average citizen convicted of unarmed battery where no serious injury was inflicted would get any jail time on a first conviction”
Like Max said, this wouldn’t have made it past felony screening, chances are it wouldn’t have even made it past the sgt’s desk without being amended to a simple assault. They would have pled out the next day in court and gotten 1yr suspended/1 yr probation. But, at least the profession is rid of Krawetz.
Now if Monique could just do a little research before posting emotion driven hit pieces a la Dan Depietro this blog would improve immensely.
There are more bad police who are kept in their jobs in this state than those like Max and sierri want to admit. Who cares what a “regular” person would have been prosecuted for? If you’re wearing a badge and a gun you have more power than a regular person and should be held to a higher standard. Why pretend that this would have been the “first time”, or that there was never any behavior that indicated the guy was likely to do such a thing? There are lots of bad apples in uniform, they just are in a position to cover up their stink. Good cops know that those bad apples take away from how all cops are perceived, and they know who on their force are dangerous and/or crazy, who beats their wife, who has drinking problems, who sleeps on the job. This is one bad apple, but he’s not the only one wearing a police uniform.
You watch way too much bad TV. To say that there are a “lots” of bad apples in uniform is a gross overstatement.
We’re always held to a higher standard as was Krawetz in this case. Like I said no one else would have gotten more than 1ss/1probation, if they were first time offenders they would’ve gotten a filing on the case. Krawetz got a 10 year suspended sentence. CLearly a higher standard of justice.
We’re also held to a higher standard when a judge dismisses an assault on a PO charge and says in open court you can’t charge that crime because “getting assaulted is part of your job.” So, victim or suspect, we’re always held to a higher standard.
” So, victim or suspect, we’re always held to a higher standard.”
Firstly, that sure didn’t happen here.
Secondly, there was, in fact, an aggravating circumstance that should have nudged the judge towards jail time, though it wasn’t the use of a weapon (setting aside for a moment the questionable conclusion that a booted foot wielded by a karate practitioner is not a weapon). It was the fact that the victim was handcuffed.
Monique-I seldom disagree with you here,but don’t let the fact that someone is handcuffed make you believe they are harmless.
Ever watch “No Country For Old Men”?
That stuff happens in real life.
If my incident above wasn’t convincing,I’ll tell you another one.
Some years back an agent in our Portland,ME office was attacked by a front cuffed arrestee(bad idea)and seriously injured by being struck in the head with the steel cuffs.Another agent shot and killed the attacker.
I’m not defending the actions of Officer Krawetz,but he is now a convicted felon;he will lose his career;pension;health insurance;and his employability will be minimal.
That’s not a slap on the wrist.
“Firstly, that sure didn’t happen here”
Monique, I don’t know why this is such a difficult concept for you to grasp. Remove the emotional bomb throwing rhetoric from the equation and this is what you’ve got:
average citizen kicks person in the head resulting in no bodily injury=filing, possibly 1yr ss/1yr probation
cop kicks person in the head resulting in no bodily injury=10yr ss/probation.
Again, he was charged with a felony hence the 10 year sentence. Try Google or Bing if you can’t get down to the court house, they help with RESEARCH.
I don’t think there was any testimony about Krawetz being a “karate practioner” either.
I think one of the problems here is the average citizen not associated with the justice system doesn’t understand how dreadful it is on an average day. When people tell you we should decriminalize small quantities of marijuana, they don’t realize the RI Justice System already did. If you get caught three or four times, well then even they can’t help you. When people tell you they went to jail on their first felony offense, not unless you committed a capital offense. First time felons are put through ‘diversion.’ Kind of like a misdemeanor filing and it goes away. No one goes to jail for a misdemeanor unless they violate a previous offense, probation, parole, or a suspended sentence. So in that context, what sierra is trying to say is that Krawetz was held to a higher standard. I’m OK with that.
On a side note, after all that, our prison is still full. Next time some politician wants to close a correctional facility, give that some thought. More often then not, they are the worst of the worst.
As for riborn, you know nothing of what you speak.
Joe B, I’ll take all of that under advisement.
I can’t say if the officer should have gotten jail time (my gut emotional reaction was yes) but I think everyone is better off with him no longer being in a position of authority. Regardless of the fact that she was drunkenly kicking her barefoot legs in his direction, she was for all intents and purposes, subdued. She was a woman, smaller and without any of his specialized defense training. She was more of a danger to herself at that point than him. Police have to deal with a lot as a group, but each incident has to be judged on it’s own and this woman did not, on the basis of the video, warrant a kick to the head.
All things said, how stupid do you have to be to let some drunken loser (probably harmless too) take down your entire life? Pretty stupid I guess.
Not sure if any of you read the local papers. He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2007. The department didn’t have any policies regarding what to do with an officer having PTSD so they kept him on the road and never asked how he was doing or got a doctor’s note. The judge never said what caused or triggered the PTSD but I’m going to guess it was work related.
From knowing a little of the case, he took 3 months of karate back in the 80’s. He had a departmental issues dress shoe on – no steel toe and what made contact was the top of the shoe (where the laces are) to the side of her head. She was not knocked out – continued to swear after the kick and had no injuries and did not seek medical attention. She was so drunk she doesn’t even remember the incident. The AG’s office are the ones who brought the charges up. She did not want to press charges. She assaulted a man at the bar and slapped the officer twice inside the establishment when they tried to cuff her. She had to be taken down by 2 officers to get handcuffs on and had to be dragged out because she wouldn’t walk. Add this to someone who is hypervigilant caused by PTSD and that’s what you get. You can tell it was a reaction and a quick one at that – not to mention you should never strike an officer.