ACAB, now and forever

I’m always so critical of the police…maybe I should give the Central Marin Police Authority an opportunity to express their side of the story first, to be fair.

Police Chief Michael Norton declined an opportunity to be interviewed, but in an email said that his department “regrets that Bruce Frankel has elected to pursue litigation against us for an alleged improper emergency medical response to him.”

Norton added that his department “will vigorously defend itself against this meritless and factually inaccurate litigation. Unfortunately, this individual has decided to first litigate his case in the media rather than in court, where we are confident the action of our officers will be vindicated.”

Oh, dear…they are being unjustly accused, they say. Of what, you might wonder.

Bruce Frankel’s wife called for emergency help because he was having a grand mal epileptic seizure, expecting EMTs to come to the rescue. He was incoherent and flailing about. The police arrived instead (uh-oh!), repeatedly told the unresponsive man that they were there to help, and help him they did: by handcuffing him and tasing him. They charged him with resisting arrest.

I guess the police considered that a proper emergency medical response.


  1. remyporter says

    an alleged improper emergency medical response to him

    Can I sue them for the tortured passivity of that sentence? I shouldn’t have to read that crap.

  2. says

    Remember a similar response to a guy who went into diabetic shock while driving: He managed to pull over and park. Cop saw him convulsing and tased him when he didn’t respond. Police suck when it comes to handling medical emergencies and people with disabilities.

    Crap like this is why, as an autistic, I’m afraid I’ll get shot if I stim in the vicinity of a cop. Then there’s the whole thing about the symptoms of autism and other forms of neurodivergence being labeled as signs of lying in the Reid interrogation technique.

  3. Walter Solomon says

    Police suck when it comes to handling medical emergencies and people with disabilities.

    That’s by design. They’re trained to bark out orders then become aggressive whenever someone is perceived to be “resisting” those orders. They’re not trained to deescalate or provide any meaningful help in a situation that doesn’t involve active violence.

    Shit, even in situations that do involve active violence they can often be completely useless (e.g. Uvalde).

  4. Matt G says

    That wasn’t a taser, that was one of them new fangled AED devices we use to reset heart rhythm….

  5. birgerjohansson says

    Two- three years before Black Lives Matter started, there was this octagenarian veteran that had his apartment brojen into by two cops who then killed him. He may have had a mental problem but the neighbors who called the authorities expected them to help him.
    I think the case was discussed here.

  6. muttpupdad says

    they feel that a proper police response depends on several factors that are not medical, these come in to play when they act on their first reactions to whether they are confronting a patient or someone that they feel may be in the wrong. This will determine if the victim goes to the hospital or the morgue.

  7. kentallard says

    The cop involved was previously sued for beating a 60-year-old pizza delivery man with cerebral palsy. He was not disciplined.

  8. mamba says

    #2: According to the REID technique there is literally NOTHING you can do that can be seen as a sign of not lying.

    Sitting still? Controlled movements from nervousness due to lying.
    Fidgeting slightly? Agitated movements due to lying.

    Looking at the cop when talking? Forced eye-contact to try and hide your lying and concentrate on your story.
    Looking away from the cop? You’re thinking of your lie and how to talk around it.

    Dry mouth? A sign of deception.
    Wet mouth? Licking your lips to try and appear truthful through your lying.

    Getting your story perfect? Clearly practised so you’re lying.
    Having to think a moment when remembering? You’re trying to find a lie that fits.

    Feeling haggard? Well it’s been hour 7 of the interrogation but it’s really the exhaustion of keeping up your deception.
    Seemingly refreshed? Overconfidence projection as a sign of lying.

    etc…etc…etc…Go ahead…tell me ANY action that a cop cannot interpret as a lie from the REID technique! You’re guilty the moment you sit down until the moment they decide they held you long enough to torture you into a confession.

  9. says

    Police suck when it comes to handling medical emergencies and people with disabilities.

    This is true. And the other side of this problem is, why did cops show up where EMTs were needed? Also, why are there not enough LCSWs or other such experts to inform and assist the cops who are called to deal with such cases? And offhand, I’m guessing the answer has a lot to do with relentless Republican tax cuts and defunding of nearly every social service that doesn’t involve guns and brute force. If guys with guns show up for mental-health incidents, it’s very likely because they’re the only ones on-hand with any resources at all.

  10. tacitus says

    They’re trained to bark out orders then become aggressive whenever someone is perceived to be “resisting” those orders. They’re not trained to deescalate or provide any meaningful help in a situation that doesn’t involve active violence.

    The fundamental problem here is the “myth of the warrior cop”. They’re trained to see themselves as combatants — the equivalent of soldiers on a battlefield — but unlike on the battlefield, where casualties are an excepted part of the job, they’re trained to put their own lives and safety first. No risks, zero (cop) casualties is the primary goal.

    We saw the horrific results of this in the Uvalde school shooting where not one cop was willing to risk being shot to save the teachers and children who were dying just yards away from where they stood.

  11. dorght says

    I agree that the police cannot be held responsible, they were just following their training. And who, but society, is to blame when that extensive weeks long training does not include a doctorate of medicine. How is a whole series lectures and labs on common sense and its application suppose to fit in around “Yelling Nonsense in a Commanding Voice”, “Nascar Driving on Public Streets”, and the vast majority of time spent on beating to within a fraction of an inch of liability, shooting, shooting some more, shooting then asking questions and oh boy more shooting. Optional negative credit PC-DOS computer training and test (passing will get you expelled) titled “Those People Not in Uniform Have Rights.”

  12. bcw bcw says

    I disagree that “cops cannot be held responsible, they were just following their training.” Cops routinely resist any effort to curb their abuses and have undermined police chiefs that try to change their behavior. Police, police administration and police unions fight any effort to hold violent cops responsible. Even in this case, the police chief is immediately denying that there was any problem with their response. “Following their training” is just another version of “I was just following orders.” You don’t need training to be a decent human being.

  13. Snarki, child of Loki says

    “Cops routinely resist any effort to curb their abuses”

    With enablers, willing or otherwise, on Grand Juries, prosecutors offices, judges, and trial juries.

    It seems that “cop accountability” now only comes out of the barrel of a sniper rifle, since they’ve closed off all other options.

  14. Artor says

    Whom are you agreeing with? I don’t see anyone else in this thread suggesting that we can’t hold cops responsible. The courts won’t do it, but we know whose fault it is when someone in a medical emergency is tazed or murdered.

  15. says

    Also, we can’t be sure anymore what “following their training” really means. There’s the “formal” training they get before they get assigned, but there also seem to be rules and protocols (written or not) followed by departments, which may or may not coincide with the training. I’ve heard allegations of formally trained officers being told “forget all that training stuff, kid, this is the real world and we gotta be tougher than that!” I’ve also heard of private “security” firms bringing in military veterans to “augment” formal police training with occupation-army tactics. So when an officer tries to excuse a blatant act of injustice with “I was following my training,” the next question should always be “which training, exactly?”

  16. jenorafeuer says

    Given the descriptions of some of the courses that were part of the police training (“Yelling Nonsense in a Commanding Voice”) that were obviously more important than training them to actually understand medical emergencies, my take on dorght@#13 is that it should be read in a voice that would leave pools of dripping sarcasm on the floor.

  17. nomdeplume says

    These stories are repeated over and over all round the world. The reason seems to me twofold. The police have absolute power over other people. The police mindset has them at war with the public. No room for ordinary human interaction, empathy, sympathy, common sense, logic.

  18. gijoel says

    “regrets that Bruce Frankel has elected to pursue litigation against us for an alleged improper emergency medical response to him.”

    Ya fucking think! They should handcuffs those two arseholes to a chair, give Mr. Frankel a handheld taser and then let him do whatever he wants for as long as he wants. Why are American police departments so fucked?

  19. robro says

    Raging Bee @ #9 — “…with relentless Republican tax cuts and defunding…” Yes, that’s probably a part of it, although not so much in Marin. Marin is very Blue, but California as a whole was in the late 70s a bastion of anti-tax activism. The state has suffered ever since, forced to pay for things with income tax, sales tax, road tax, gas tax…taxes that hit working folks rather than property tax which hits the richer part of the population. At least that’s my take on it.

  20. robro says

    Did I smell some subtle Fox racism in the background story? Oakland cops always go on emergency calls because of the dangers. Piedmont and other small towns also alert the cops, but going is more up to them…I guess calls aren’t so dangerous for the EMTs. In case you don’t know, Oakland is a predominantly Black part of the Bay Area. Piedmont borders Oakland in the hills but is probably predominantly white and affluent.

  21. raven says

    There is a well known alternative to expecting police to be mental health professionals or emergency medical professionals.

    It involves….using mentl health professionals or emergency medical professionals as first responsders. It works and works well.

    One common example is the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon.

    Eugene PD website:

    What is CAHOOTS?
    CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is a mobile crisis intervention program staffed by White Bird Clinic personnel using City of Eugene vehicles. This relationship has been in place for nearly 30 years and is well embedded in the community.

    CAHOOTS provides support for EPD personnel by taking on many of the social service type calls for service to include crisis counseling. CAHOOTS personnel often provide initial contact and transport for people who are intoxicated, mentally ill, or disoriented, as well as transport for necessary non-emergency medical care.

    How does the City support CAHOOTS?
    The City funds CAHOOTS through the Eugene Police Department. In Fiscal Year 2018 (July 2017 to June 2018) the contract budget for the CAHOOTS program was approximately $798,000 which funded 31 hours of service per day (this includes overlapping coverage), seven days a week. One van was on duty 24 hours a day and another provided overlap coverage 7 hours per day.

    Over the last several years, the City has increased funding to add more hours of service. The Fiscal Year 2020 (July 2019 to June 2020) budget included an additional $281,000 on a one-time basis to add 11 additional hours of coverage to the existing CAHOOTS contract. CAHOOTS was able to add 5 of the 11 hours of service to bridge an afternoon gap to maintain two-van coverage. The City carried over the funding for the 5-hour expansion through Fiscal Year 2021 (July 2020 to June 2021).

    Calls for Service
    CAHOOTS is dispatched on EPD’s service channel and calls are triaged through the Central Lane Communication Center. Each van is staffed with a medic (nurse or EMT) and an experienced crisis worker.

    Over the last six years, the demand for CAHOOTS services has increased significantly:

    2014: CAHOOTS was dispatched and arrived at 9,646 calls for service
    2021: CAHOOTS was dispatched and arrived at 16,479 calls for service

    In 2021, EPD received 109,855 public initiated calls for service and had 27,672 self-initiated calls for service.

    CAHOOTS Diverts 3-8% of Calls from Police
    If not for CAHOOTS, an officer would be dispatched to handle the situation. Some of the CAHOOTS calls are a joint response, or CAHOOTS is summoned to a police or fire call after it is determined their services are a better match to resolve the situation. However, CAHOOTS remains a primary responder for many calls providing a valuable and needed resource to the community.

    This crisis intervention service is cheap for what it is at around $1 million a year.

    The police like it because it saves them from spending time on mundane calls like someone drunk passed out on the sidewalk.

  22. raven says


    CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) provides mobile crisis intervention 24/7 in the Eugene-Springfield Metro area. CAHOOTS is dispatched through the Eugene police-fire-ambulance communications center, and within the Springfield urban growth boundary, dispatched through the Springfield non-emergency number. Each team consists of a medic and a crisis worker.

    CAHOOTS provides immediate stabilization in case of urgent medical need or psychological crisis, assessment, information, referral, advocacy and, in some cases, transportation to the next step in treatment. Any person who reports a crime in progress, violence, or a life-threatening emergency may receive a response from the police or emergency medical services instead of or in addition to CAHOOTS.

    CAHOOTS offers a broad range of services, including but not limited to:

    Crisis Counseling
    Suicide Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention
    Conflict Resolution and Mediation
    Grief and loss
    Substance Abuse
    Housing Crisis
    First Aid and Non-Emergency Medical Care
    Resource Connection and Referrals
    Transportation to Services

    Contact us!

    The power of White Bird’s CAHOOTS program lies in its community relationships and the ability of first responders to simply ask, ‘How can I support you today?’ White Bird Clinic is proud to be a part of spreading this type of response across Oregon and the rest of the United States.

    More about CAHOOTS.

    Each team consists of a medic and a crisis worker.
    CAHOOTS is run out of Whitebird clinic and has been around for 30 years.
    It is widely accepted by the Eugene community.

    The point I’m making is that we don’t have to let this police incompetence continue.

  23. raven says

    The Eugene CAHOOTS program has been copied in a few places and Federal funding is available.

    One place is Portland. Also Seattle and San Francisco. (Seeing a pattern here?)

    Portland Street Response, despite successes, faces an uncertain future

    By Alex Zielinski (OPB)
    June 27, 2023 9:37 a.m.
    The program was an effort to help people with mental illnesses or experiencing homelessness get the help they need, rather than face arrest. Early results are positive. But some city leaders remain skeptical.

    For decades, Portland law enforcement tried to arrest away the existence of people living at the crossroads of mental illness and homelessness, with little success. Two years ago, the city took a chance on a new first response program staffed by mental health workers meant to interrupt this fraught cycle of criminalization. And it’s working.

    Portland Street Response, which sends unarmed employees to 911 calls related to people having behavioral health crises outside, has kept thousands of Portlanders out of jail and away from emergency rooms. In the past year, the team responded to more than 7,000 emergency calls that would have traditionally gone to police.

    The different approach is palpable for those living outside who are familiar with police interactions.

    “When [they] talk to you, [they] look you in the eye, not look down at your feet or look at your chest, or look at the clothes you’re wearing,” said one unidentified Portland Street Response client in a recent city-commissioned survey. “They care. These people care.”

    Despite its measurable early success, Portland Street Response is at an inflection.

    It is early but these programs seem to work.

    For some reason, they aren’t getting a lot of support from the people who fund them, i.e. the city administrations.
    I don’t know why.

  24. hillaryrettig1 says

    Take the legal settlements out of their pension fund, instead of taxpayer dollars, and watch them reform themselves overnight.

  25. numerobis says

    Per the linked story:

    In December 2023, the police department promoted Sinnott to corporal.

    Based on a review of the footage they decided they needed more of that, because apparently the proper response to what they assumed was a drunk guy in bed was to jump into the room and wrestle with him.

    Even if it were a drunk guy, how the heck would it be a proper response?

  26. numerobis says

    raven: the local program here in Montreal has massive local support. The province recently decided not to continue funding it though; sure they’ll fund pilot projects but if you want to maintain a program that works, too bad.

  27. gregory112barrows says

    Fuck you PZ Myers! You’re a hypocrite now and forever! A rape joker, bestiality defender, vandalism advocate, joker about male domestic violence victims, silencer of rape allegations against himself, fascist, terrorist apologist, defender of black racists, and downplayer of suicide is in no position to be criticizing police! you don’t get to dictate who can and can’t be an atheism activist asshole! antifa if you hate police so much then why did you call them for help when Michael Korn threatened you asshole?!

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