A California State University Monterey Bay police officer has been fired from the force after he chose not to use his Taser on a student threatening suicide in February.
The officer, a 20 year veteran of the force who has not been named, was reportedly the first officer on the scene when a CSUMB student was threatening to kill himself in a dorm room. The student in question was holding a knife, hammer, and was threatening to light himself on fire, according to the Free Thought Project.
Rather then using his Taser on the student, the officer began to talk to the student which resulted in a deescalation of the situation. The officer then went to get the student a glass of water when officers from the local Marina Police Department showed up and began to use their Tasers on the suicidal student.
Marina Police Chief Edmundo Rodriguez said, according to the Monetery Herald, when his officers arrived on the scene, they found blood in the student’s dorm, and the student’s sweater appeared to be singed. The knife and hammer were also in the room, but the weapons were not in the student’s hands.
Rodriguez then said, the student “was clearly a danger to himself and he was in crisis… We were trying to keep him from accessing the weapons or leave, to get him medical attention.”
After the incident, Rodriguez’s department issued a “failure to act” complaint against the campus police officer because he did not engage in the situation as the other officers had done. “He just stood there,” said Rodriguez.
The president of the Statewide University Police Association (SUPA), Jeff Solomon, said according to the Raw Story, “Our officer said and felt that there was no need for the level of force that was applied.”
Solomon then said, “The other officers started yelling and screaming to get down, Tased him multiple times, and from what we understand (told the university officer) to Tase him again.”
Later, the father of the suicidal student told reporters, “It defies logic and is extremely disappointing that, at a time when law enforcement is under fire for using more force than necessary, an officer is being terminated for attempting to use civilized methods to resolve a situation,”
University officials did not comment on the details of the case, but they did say the situation “is much more complex than was conveyed.”