JACKSONVILLE, FL- Last April, a Jacksonville, Florida woman was shot and killed by Jacksonville law enforcement officers during a response to a disturbance call in the northwest sector of the city.
Last week, the State Attorney’s office released body camera footage and have ruled the killing a justifiable police shooting, according to News 4 in Jacksonville.
On April 11, police received a call about a dispute during which Leah Baker, 29, answered the door with a knife in her hand. She immediately stabbed Jacksonville officer E. Mechling in the arm.
In the video accompanying the body camera footage, Mechling is heard yelling, “I’ve just been fucking stabbed!” on the police radio as she begins a tactical retreat.
At this point, the officer takes out her firearm and targets Baker, demanding that she drop the knife, which she did.
Mechling then commands Baker to get on the ground, at which point she (Baker) is seen picking up the knife once again.
Mechling fires two shots as she again moves back away from Baker to apparently increase the distance between her and the threat. Both shots missed. At this point, Baker once again dropped the knife.
“Shots fired!” Mechling called over her radio.
By this time, backup arrived in the form of Sgt. J.C. Nobles, who also called for Baker to drop the knife. Mechling approaches Baker telling her to get on the ground.
Baker once again lunges for the knife, grabs it, then goes to attack Nobles, who shoots four times. At least some of his shots found their mark, and Baker falls to the ground, still holding the knife.
By this time, a third officer arrives on the scene, and tells her numerous times to stay down. Additional assistance then arrives and one of them treats Mechling’s knife wound. She was apologetic to the officer for some reason, saying:
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m shaking,” she told the treating officer.
With Baker on the ground, a police K-9 takes hold of her leg, whereby she starts punching the dog. On the video, an officer can be heard saying, “stop hitting my dog,” at which point yet another officer finally gets the knife away from Baker.
Baker was dragged into the street a short distance by the police K9 and paramedics arrived in order to treat her and take her to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
The body camera video was reviewed by a crime and safety expert for the news station named Ken Jefferson, who looked at the video footage and analyzed how the situation was handled by Mechling.
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“She exercises officer safety as we see in the video, when she knocks on the door she steps back,” Jefferson said. “She could have easily stabbed her in the upper torso or even in the face or neck area.”
Jefferson noted that when Mechling fired and missed, stress could have played a role in her missing the shots.
“She could have made the shot had she been calm,” he said while noting that she had already been stabbed with a knife.
When Baker ran toward Nobles with the knife, Jefferson said he was left with little choice, saying that it “happened so fast that had he not stopped the threat, he could have been stabbed as well. So he did the right thing.”
News 4 said they spoke with Baker’s mother, Charity who noted that while she didn’t condone what her daughter had done, she had “fought with different hospitals to get the help she needed.”
Baker had spoken to the outlet back in July during a rally, at which time she said, “I had her in what I thought was a safe house. She did suffer from mental illness. I never thought the police would kill my daughter.”
In this case, the State Attorney’s Office ruled the action of both Mechling and Nobles as completely justified. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office engaged in 14 shootings that were recently cleared by the State Attorney’s Office.
For Off. Mechling, this was her first line of duty shooting. In the case of Sgt. Nobles, it is his fourth.
These incidents happen fast. As you can see, Mechling had a split second to make a decision that attorneys, Facebook lawyers and Hollywood celebrities have months to dissect.
Protestors say police killed Daniel Prude. But new reports show that’s not even remotely true. (Op-ed)
This editorial is brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
ROCHESTER – Rioters smashed Rochester all in the name of Daniel Prude. But new facts coming to light should entirely clear the police.
Here’s the deal.
On March 22, Daniel Prude was on a train en route to Rochester, NY.
When the train got to Buffalo, he was forcibly removed due to erratic behavior and smoking on the train.
Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, drove out from Rochester to pick him up, and brought him back to Rochester. Hours later, Daniel Prude was dead.
A crowd of approximately 5,000 rioters trashed downtown Rochester Friday night because, they say, police killed Prude.
According to Prude’s brother Joe, Prude was on the drug PCP and hallucinating earlier in the day.
That is, before he ever encountered police, Daniel Prude had voluntarily engaged in dangerous, potentially life-threatening behavior. After he arrived at Joe’s home, he developed the delusion that Joe and his wife were trying to kill him.
After first trying to hide under a couch, Prude threw himself headfirst down a flight of 21 stairs. That act was also potentially life-threatening, and Prude did it to himself.
According to Joe, Prude made several suicidal statements, as if to explain his self-destructive behavior.
Prude then ran from the house without shoes, gloves, or a jacket. It was snowing outside. Running into inclement, cold weather without proper clothing is life-threatening behavior and Prude did it voluntarily. It was at this point that Joe called police.
After arriving on the scene, police talk with Joe about Prude. As they talk, they receive a call about an “unclothed male with blood on him.” Joe identifies the call as describing his brother.
Bodycam footage released by Rochester police show police approaching Prude, who is now totally naked, standing in the middle of a dark wet street as snow falls around him.
This is dangerous also.
Now, he is no longer wearing the tank top and long johns his brother saw him wearing when he left the house. Prude is now even more exposed to cold, inclement weather than he was before, and has been for some time.
They observe a nearby broken window and blood on Purdue’s wrist, surmising that he broke the window manually and cut himself in the process.
At this point, it is apparent that Prude has already done the following dangerous things:
1) ingested PCP
3) thrown himself head-first down a flight of stairs
4) removed his clothing in slightly below freezing weather while it was snowing.
On their own, any one of those four things could have led to his death, and Purdue did all of them before police arrive. If Purdue had broken the window manually, he could have cut himself severely enough to die, particularly given that the bleeding wound seen on his wrist appears to intersect a major artery.
Prude followed police instructions to get on the ground and be handcuffed. This, according to various news sources, proves that Prude not only was compliant, but that any force exercised against him during his arrest was unreasonable.
The bodycam footage shows Prude spitting, and earlier we heard that he had the covid-19 virus. An officer then places a spit hood over his head, to prevent him from spitting on, and potentially infecting, officers or paramedics.
According to Park City, Utah police chief Wade Carpenter, spit hoods are designed out of a mesh that is designed to be breathable. They are held in place by an elastic around the neck that can easily be broken. Prude can be clearly heard through the mesh as he continues to talk to officers.
He requested that he be given a gun because “I need it”.
About two minutes later, Prude vomits what looks like water. Officers then notice he has stopped breathing. Paramedics have by then arrived.
One of them says that Prude’s current distress is due to the PCP and not officer actions. He is taken to the hospital where he was pronounced brain dead.
He was kept on life support for a week after that, then declared dead.
One thing that is obvious throughout is that at no time did any officer say or do anything that was overtly racist, nor did they behave as if they intended injury.
Their goal was to look into a report of what they learned was a disturbed and suicidal individual, suffering from delusions, who was high on drugs, and had already committed several acts of self-harm.
By some measures, it is a miracle he hadn’t managed to kill himself before police arrived.
When police arrived, they subdued and handcuffed the suspect, which prevented him from doing anything else to harm himself. When he started asking for their guns and spitting, after telling them he had covid-19, they used a spit hood for the purpose it was designed, and put it over Prude’s head.
Protesters and news media, not to mention Prude’s family, now claim that Prude’s death five months ago was the fault of the police.
“They put a bag over his head, and they squeezed the air out of him,” said Nicolette Ward, a lawyer for one of Prude’s daughters.
No mention is made of all the things Prude did before police found him naked on the snowy streets of Rochester, blood dripping from his body due to self-inflicted wounds.
Chief Carpenter points out that the spit hood “wouldn’t put any pressure on the carotid arteries in the neck. It wouldn’t restrict blood flow to the brain and certainly wouldn’t block the mouth or nose.” He added that officers in Park City have used the devices for years without issues.
And now we have riots in Rochester, supposedly because Prude was murdered by racist police.
It is amazing how much violence can be caused by a simple misunderstanding, particularly when the news media is there to amplify the mistake, to edit out the facts, and to emphasize everything that could possibly be construed negatively toward the police.
The truth is that the police did as they were trained to do, but Prude’s self-destructive acts prior to the encounter put them in an impossible situation. How do they restrain him for paramedics without exposing themselves or the paramedics to covid-19? The reason the hood was put on his head is that Prude forced them to do it by his own actions.
And now there are more crimes to deal with because the proxy army of the press, the mobs that descended on Rochester, have committed acts of vandalism, looting, arson, and assault.
Supposedly, idle hands do the devil’s work. In this case, and others around the nation, many people with keyboards have busily done their bit to encourage anarchy and obscure the truth by dishonestly portraying the police as racists who must be stopped.
What would have happened if the police hadn’t answered the call? Would Prude have survived the night on his own?