Police Abuse

Sheriff: Video of Natasha McKenna Incident Shows Professionalism, Restraint, and Patience from Officers

McKenna was Tased four times in a county jail in Virginia, dying four days later.

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sheriff's office

In late January, 37-year-old Natasha McKenna called 911 to report an assault. She agreed to go to a hospital with police that arrived from Fairfax County At the hospital, she decided she didn't want to pursue charges. Cops found she had an outstanding warrant in Alexandria for allegedly assaulting an officer at a car rental agency in January, and placed her under arrest.  

She was taken to the county jail, where Alexandria police failed to pick her up. Police in Alexandria had reportedly not arrested her after the incident that led to the warrant because it was recommended she seek mental health treatment.  

County authorities say on February 3rd, after contacting Alexandria police multiple times about transferring her and after, authorities say, personnel at the jail had noted her "deterioration" mental state, authorities say McKenna resisted officers' commands when she was Tased four times. She died in a hospital four days later. 

The county suspended the use of Tasers in its prisons and launched an investigation into the incident. Yesterday, the Fairfax County sheriff's office released video of the incident. The sheriff, Stacy Kincaid, who met with McKenna's family to offer condolences and explain why she decided to release the video. NBC 4 in Washington reports

"There has been so much inaccurate information that was being put out, and it was important that we were able to show exactly both the professionalism and the restraint and the patience that the deputies demonstrated in trying to get Ms. McKenna treatment and back to Alexandria," she said. "That's where she needed to be." 

Nevertheless, despite insisting police officers did nothing wrong, Kincaid also pointed to changes made in the wake of McKenna's death: 

She said she also wanted to convey to the McKenna family that their loved one's death has spurred change. 

"Natasha McKenna did not die in vain, and there will be something good that comes of this tragedy and that is a better system that's going to be set up in terms of how we treat those with mental illness," Kincaid said. 

In the wake of the incident, Tasers are no longer being used at the jail. A team from the sheriff's department has traveled to see model programs designed to divert mentally ill offenders from jail and into treatment. Fairfax County has a launched "Diversion First" task force to begin routing more offenders with mental health issues to other programs rather than locking them up. More sheriff's deputies are also receiving Crisis Intervention Team training to help them better understand and handle mentally ill offenders. 

Offering condolences while denying wrongdoing and paying lip service to change is a kind of standard go-to for law enforcement after "tragedies" that law enforcement after "tragedies" that would be crime if they weren't committed under the color of law. 

The investigation into McKenna's in-custody death is apparently still ongoing, with files submitted to the county attorney two months ago, That's never stopped claims that the evidence supports officer professionalism before. 

Watch a short excerpt of the video via the AP below: 

And the 48 minute video released by the sheriff's office here

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  1. “She was taken to the county jail, where Alexandria police failed to pick her up.”

    That alone is grounds for release. If the originating agency doesn’t want to process, you cite and release.

    There’s gonna be a payout. I’m guessing $2-3 million. And nothing else happened.

    1. … Alexandria police failed to pick her up.

      Concern was caused as the passive tense was not used. In lieu of that, the prison resident failed to be picked up.

    2. Well, Alexandria should never have confirmed the warrant in the first place, if they weren’t going to pick her up.

      Unless agencies in VA do it very differently from the rest of the US, they would have contacted Alexandria while the officers were with her, and had Alexandria confirm that the warrant was still active. Presuming this happened, that confirmation would necessarily include a tentative agreement to come pick her up.

      That, and the fact that Alexandria didn’t even want to arrest her, but sought a warrant anyway, tells me that they are the ones who started the f’d-up ball rolling.

      And, no, Alexandria didn’t pull the Taser triggers.

      1. Yes. That’s exactly how it works. They call, abstract and verify the warrant, and whoever in charge confirms that there are no medical conditions, and they agree to a pickup and book her. It sounds like they didn’t do that.

        Alexandria will be responsible for at least part of the payout. The fuck up started with them, and ended in a death in custody.

  2. “personnel at the jail had noted her “deterioration” mental state,”

    I would like to see them locked up in a cage by people they had come to for help. I wonder how much “deterioration” they would have in their mental states.

  3. In the wake of the incident, Tasers are no longer being used at the jail.

    Blackjacks are cheaper, anyway.

    1. That doesn’t sound like the Black Jack I know. The Black Jack I know charges a premium for his “services”.

        1. *throws empty whisky bottle at Seminole casino*

          1. You still have Seminoles in Florida? I thought Jackson got rid of them all. Why else would he be on currency?

  4. The investigation into McKenna’s in-custody death is apparently still ongoing…

    An investigation of this type is designed to be ongoing until journalists and reformists stop asking for the results of the investigation.

    1. Once again, what the fuck are they investigating that takes so long? Its a closed universe in there. They have video, they know exactly who the witnesses are, etc. Shouldn’t take more than a couple weeks.

  5. Seven months after the incident this is what they release. It took them seven months to not come up with answers.

  6. disgusting.

  7. A team from the sheriff’s department has traveled to see model programs designed to divert mentally ill offenders from jail and into treatment. Fairfax County has a launched “Diversion First” task force to begin routing more offenders with mental health issues to other programs rather than locking them up.

    So, the “treatment” is voluntary, since it’s presented as a contrast with “locking them up,” right?

    1. shut up and pay your taxes peasant.

    2. involuntary commitment is a nightmare, because it is imposed by subjective analysis by a psychiatrist,(may harm himself or others), ordered by a magistrate without a jury, the “analysis” is of behaviors that are not in themselves criminal, and are meant to determine things that might happen (pre-crime).

      Once that judgment has been made, you no longer have civil rights. You can’t own guns; you can, effectively, be re-locked up anytime your guardian/caseworker decides you’re not being cooperative enough. Terms of incarceration (oops, “hospitalization”) are entirely subjective and open-ended. You may never be free from the system.

      Avoid all mental health professionals and social workers. NEVER talk to them. NEVER talk to police. Don’t talk to ANY health care worker about your mental state.

  8. I wonder if this mandatory treatment disqualifies them from legally purchasing a firearm.

  9. lesson: never ever call the cops. ever. never.

  10. This is a nice story to show all the cop-fellators who attack anyone who criticizes the behavior of cops with the old “Then when you’re the victim of a crime, don’t call the cops”

    She should have pressed charges….I wholeheartedly believe her refusing to press charges contributed to her mistreatment.

    1. Cop-fellators, are a breed I really can’t seem to understand. Is it all team politics? The hippies, and the Blacklivesmatters people hate the police, and so team red supporters have to like them?

      I’m sure the media only highlighting white on black cases, where the criminal is a thug, and the facts about the case are a little fuzzy helps contribute to that.

      Is it the racial angle? Are people so sick of cries of racism that their kneejerk reaction is to reject it and take the other side?

      Are their people whose only interaction with “police” was watching old episodes of the Andy Griffith show, and so they think all cops are like Andy?

      Are there people that bought into the narrative that cops do a dangerous, thankless job everyday just to selflessly keep us all safe from thugs?

      Honestly I would like to hear any theories, I always try to understand people that are different then me, but this one I’m having trouble with.

      1. The first step to understanding those that aren’t like you: Stop grouping them. People like the police for many reasons: Family are cops, a cop rescued their cat/dog/mother/brother/etc, pure blind faith in the system, and so forth. Each reason is an experience-valid backing of the system.

        The problem I see is that both sides draw a line and then try to push everything they see across that line. Someone gets shot by police and all officers are either savage jack-booted thugs out to prove they are men or the last line of defense against scum like who was shot. There is no evaluation of the evidence, and there is certainly no actual public review of the events that could lead to a conclusion in any case, much less generalize across a line.

        What needs to happen is states need to setup a review of every excessive force situation outside of the department that cause the concern, not just those that result in grievous injury, and enact both changes to training as well penalties for out-of-line activity, with some grey bars for fringe situations.

        1. Personally, I see both sides of the argument and I agree with both sides. Police deal with people at the worst time of their lives and it’s a stressful, suck-ass job without any side drama from the rest of your life going on. They are called upon to be solid as a rock in those situations. It is hard, but they get a shit-load of perks for taking the job.

          On the flip side, police are there to protect life and property (NOT the state). Sometimes that means an officer loses their life because not every situation is clear cut. That’s the risk they take by putting on the badge. If they don’t accept that risk, they need to take off the badge.

          Basically, they do NOT get to get away with crimes (outside of stings) simply because they have a badge. At any point that that happens, the person in question needs to get walked out of the station and told to never come back regardless of position or seniority on the force.

      2. The Occupy hippies and the BlackLivesMatters people don’t hate the police for being abusive and brutal; they hate the police for being abusive and brutal toward the wrong people. They’re happy to see such things as the Wisconsin “John Doe” investigations & SWAT raids targeted against those dirty right-wing tea-bagger types.

        1. There’s a classic memepic of riot cops pepper spraying some Occupados that captures this nicely.

          http://danieljmitchell.wordpre…..a-statist/

      3. I do think for some people at least, a lot of leftists complain about the cops, so therefore the cops are good/great people. Sorta the same knee jerk reaction over the military. The leftists vocally complain about the “military-industrial complex” so therefore the military is great and any cuts to it are an attempt to weaken the country. (Never mind in both cases the leftists don’t actually do anything to reign in either the cops nor the military, but because they say they will those two groups are great and need to be supported). I know a few people on both extremes on Facebook. One gal occasionally makes posts about how racist the cops and how they target blacks, and a couple other gals occasionally make posts about how great the cops are and the “war on cops” needs to end. Ugh, I eye roll every time at both.

    2. “If she hadn’t broken the law, she would have had nothing to worry about”.
      “If she hadn’t resisted, she would have had nothing to worry about”.

      There, I showed you the answers you’d get.

  11. I will not be watching that woman suffer at the hands of police state goons for 48 minutes.

    1. Yeah, same here. I’m hoping my laptop will hold together until I can replace it sometime next year, it won’t help matters if I throw it against the wall.

      This story is infuriating, yet a carbon copy of something we’ve seen… how many times here?

    2. What, you don’t like snuff films?

  12. The scary part is that the cops really believe that their behavior in this incident was professional, restrained and patient.

  13. Deputies told Morrogh in the report that the 181lb McKenna was the most difficult inmate they had ever encountered, that she possessed what they described as superhuman strength during the struggles. One inmate said the growls McKenna made during a prior struggle were comparable to a demonic possession.

    SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH!

    Well obviously she was on PCP, Angel Dust.

    1. Nah, she was possessed! Call an exorcist!

  14. Nah, it was probably marijuana. You know it gives you superhuman strength. All those old movies told me so. Turns you into a rapist too… (or is that another thread?)

  15. So, ed, your byline gets capital letters but the victim’s alt-text doesn’t? What are you trying to signal, ed? Eh?

  16. This is the sheriff who ran on being a woman and a democrat. That was the whole platform. I read her entire website and there was not one actual position on anything. She is a woman, she is a democrat, and that was enough to get her elected.

  17. The mere fact that they used the Taser 4 times when 3 is the max proves they weren’t professional.

    1. “Procedures were fo….huh, they weren’t? shit…..is this mic still on?!…uhhhhhh…..That concludes today’s press conference.” *Big Smile* *turns around to deputy* “Are they leaving?”

      “Well, it looks like a few are opening up some down pillows, and I think I smell tar wafting in from outside. Annnnd, yup, that’s definitely a pitchfork over there.”

  18. does anyone know why the hacks are wearing spacesuits? is this a thing now?

    1. “Personal Protective Equipment” when they are dealing with a spitter or bleeder, I believe.

  19. Can anyone explain how repeatedly shocking someone until they die isn’t torturing them to death?

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