Police officer accused by crowd of using excessive force punched in face and grabbed by the throat

A Madison, WI police officer responded to what appeared to him as a street fight. A crowd had gathered to watch a domestic dispute between a man and a woman. You won't believe what happened to the officer when he attempted to perform his duty.

The officer stopped in the area of Prairie Road and Jacobs Way around 6:20 p.m. after spotting a large number of people in the street. He said that as he approached he saw a woman punch a man in the face, and he could see that the woman had a can of pepper spray.

The officer said that as he went to arrest the woman he was surrounded by a crowd that was voicing anti-police sentiments, including "We need to start killing these officers."

Police said the woman’s daughter was grabbing the officer while trying to free her mother. The officer said he tried to diffuse the situation by explaining to the crowd that the woman had just punched someone and was armed with pepper spray. Police said his words were ignored, and the struggle with the two people continued.

The older woman punched the officer in the face and grabbed him by the throat, according to the release.

The officer said he could see many in the crowd were recording the incident on their cellphones while some accused him of misconduct and using excessive force.

A witness told police he or she "felt the officer was in trouble" and said it appeared someone had gone for his gun.

The two women were arrested when more officers arrived.

"He demonstrated fantastic patience and restraint in dealing with these folks," Madison Police Department Capt. Vic Wahl said. "He was able to literally get assaulted in the midst of a large crowd and still take these women into custody without causing any injuries to anyone."

Police said Latonya B. James, 40, of Madison, threatened many times to kill the officer while on her way to jail. She was arrested on suspicion of battery to a law enforcement officer, possession of pepper spray, disorderly conduct and resisting.

Nanyamka N. James, 20, of Madison was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, resisting and on a parole hold.

Police said a nearby resident who was not involved in the melee told a detective the officer who was battered has, in the past, done a great job reaching out to residents and communicating with the neighborhood. (Emphasis mine)

We don't hear about these kinds of policemen often enough. In the face of provocations that would enrage any of the rest of us, he quietly and competently performed his duty. He might have backed off and waited for additional police to arrive. But in the meantime, the fight might have escalated or the two combatants injure each other. 

Given recent confrontations between police and angry black people, it's heartening to know that the "Thin Blue Line" is made up of men and women like the unnamed officer. Training, discipline, and a cool head are weapons that can be just as powerful as any used by law enforcement.

A Madison, WI police officer responded to what appeared to him as a street fight. A crowd had gathered to watch a domestic dispute between a man and a woman. You won't believe what happened to the officer when he attempted to perform his duty.

The officer stopped in the area of Prairie Road and Jacobs Way around 6:20 p.m. after spotting a large number of people in the street. He said that as he approached he saw a woman punch a man in the face, and he could see that the woman had a can of pepper spray.

The officer said that as he went to arrest the woman he was surrounded by a crowd that was voicing anti-police sentiments, including "We need to start killing these officers."

Police said the woman’s daughter was grabbing the officer while trying to free her mother. The officer said he tried to diffuse the situation by explaining to the crowd that the woman had just punched someone and was armed with pepper spray. Police said his words were ignored, and the struggle with the two people continued.

The older woman punched the officer in the face and grabbed him by the throat, according to the release.

The officer said he could see many in the crowd were recording the incident on their cellphones while some accused him of misconduct and using excessive force.

A witness told police he or she "felt the officer was in trouble" and said it appeared someone had gone for his gun.

The two women were arrested when more officers arrived.

"He demonstrated fantastic patience and restraint in dealing with these folks," Madison Police Department Capt. Vic Wahl said. "He was able to literally get assaulted in the midst of a large crowd and still take these women into custody without causing any injuries to anyone."

Police said Latonya B. James, 40, of Madison, threatened many times to kill the officer while on her way to jail. She was arrested on suspicion of battery to a law enforcement officer, possession of pepper spray, disorderly conduct and resisting.

Nanyamka N. James, 20, of Madison was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, resisting and on a parole hold.

Police said a nearby resident who was not involved in the melee told a detective the officer who was battered has, in the past, done a great job reaching out to residents and communicating with the neighborhood. (Emphasis mine)

We don't hear about these kinds of policemen often enough. In the face of provocations that would enrage any of the rest of us, he quietly and competently performed his duty. He might have backed off and waited for additional police to arrive. But in the meantime, the fight might have escalated or the two combatants injure each other. 

Given recent confrontations between police and angry black people, it's heartening to know that the "Thin Blue Line" is made up of men and women like the unnamed officer. Training, discipline, and a cool head are weapons that can be just as powerful as any used by law enforcement.