I’ve witnessed law enforcement officers being nicknamed or referred to as “Superman” or “Man of Steel”. My family teases my state trooper brother with such nicknames. Society sees the “Man behind the Badge” facing inordinate danger to keep our streets safe.
All of us can so easily forget that these men and women aren’t superhuman, even though they are heroes. They have family and friends who stand by their side, walking through the victories and the challenges that their beloved “Man behind the Badge” faces to bring justice to the streets. What about justice for these dedicated men and women when doing their job becomes detrimental to their future?
In addition to being a 19-year police veteran, Corporal Jason Nokes of the Winooski Vermont Police Department is a loved family member and dear friend to so many.
Cpl. Nokes is facing aggravated assault charges for allegedly shooting an unarmed, mentally ill trespass-suspect in the leg during an altercation in April 2013. Nokes sustained multiple injuries during the encounter including a concussion and a broken nose.
In a recent Burlington Free Press article, defense lawyer Brooks McArthur said on February 2 2014 “Cpl. Nokes remains on medical leave because of the injuries he sustained in the unprovoked attack while protecting the citizens of Winooski.”
Winooski Police Chief Steve McQueen’s own internal review exonerated Cpl. Nokes of violating departmental procedures. In September 2013. An independent investigation by a retired Los Angeles deputy police chief also cleared Nokes of any wrongdoing.
Jeffrey Wimette of IBEW Local Union 300, the union representing Nokes stated, “This is a bad case. We wish they would get rid of it,” The police union says the state’s attorney should drop the charges. The Union points to the independent investigation that concluded Nokes’ actions were justified.
The Union representative further says Nokes could have done what he’s trained to do — shoot to kill. “Yeah, he did shoot somebody, but he shot him in the leg. Given his condition and the condition of his partner at the time, I think the guy got lucky he got shot in the leg,” Wimette said. “It (the lawsuit) should be dropped.”
The Union representative says this is hurting Nokes’ law enforcement career and could cost him up to $100,000 to fight. “He’s already in the hole for tens-of-thousands of dollars to fight to prove his innocence — for justice, if you will. He’s had to sell his house,” Wimette said.
Since the beginning of this case, Jason has sold his home, his vehicle, valuable belongings, etc. and still falls short of the monies needed for his defense. Fundraising attempts have been extremely helpful. Officer Nokes appreciates all of them. Yet there’s still much more needed for Jason to stay afloat.
To donate, checks can be made payable to:
WPEA – Winooski Police Employment Association – (Memo – Jason Nokes)
27 West Allen Street, Winooski, VT 05404
For more information, please contact:
Tel: (802) 655-0221