Police

Pine Bluff Cops Killed 107-Year-Old Man And Got Medals For Doing It, Now Won't Give Them Back

"I don't understand...were you in the war? No, I killed a 107-year-old man"

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Christy Bowe/Polaris/Newscom

Police officers in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, are lawyering up after the city council voted to rescind medals of valor handed out to the SWAT team in 2013.

What did the SWAT team do to earn those valorous medals? They stormed into the home of 107-year old Monroe Isadore, shot him to death—and then successfully dodged a state investigation of the incident.

Nearly three years after the incident, the city council voted unanimously this month to revoke the medals. As of Monday, however, the police force has yet to return the medals and is seeking legal counsel to challenge the city's decision, according to local TV station KATV.

"I don't understand the rationale, I don't understand why anyone would want a medal, who can you show it to? Oh, I have a medal of valor, well were you in the war? No, I killed a 107-year-old man…you know…who would want that?" Councilwoman Thelma Walker told KATV, the local ABC affiliate.

Walker sponsored the resolution, which said conferring medals and awards "in the aftermath of such a sensitive and emotionally charged event is unconscionable and reprehensible and should not be sanctioned by the City of Pine Bluff."

Awarding those medals seems to have been done in secret. Isadore's children were unaware the medals even existed until the city council voted to rescind them, and the city won't say how many were actually given or who made the decision to award them, according to KATV.

Asked about the city's decision to revoke the medals, Pine Bluff Police Chief Jeff Hubanks told the Pine Bluff Commercial the department was "going to talk to an attorney" and declined further comment.

It's unclear whether the city has the legal authority to strip the medals. City Attorney Althea Hadden-Scott told the Commercial that the council resolution is not binding and lacks enforcement authority.

Isadore was killed on September 8, 2013. Police responded to a call and found him in his bedroom with a gun—his family later said he was upset about being moved to an assisted living community.

After safely evacuating two other people from the house, the cops used negotiation tactics and smoke bombs in an unsuccessful attempt to get Isadore to surrender.

When that failed, they called in the county SWAT team. When SWAT officers broke down the door to Isadore's bedroom, he fired at them and they returned fire, killing him.

Although the shooting might have been justified since Isadore reportedly fired at the cops first, it appears that police escalated the situation to a point where a violent ending was nearly unavoidable. It was not a hostage situation and Isadore was not a threat to anyone but himself, at least until officers forced their way into his room. Was sending in a SWAT team to use deadly force against a 107-year old man really the best option available?

It's doubtful that any answers will be forthcoming. Nearly three years later, even with awareness of police violence at higher levels, it's unlikely that there will ever be a full investigation of the circumstances that led to Isadore Monroe's death.

The officer who killed Isadore was placed on paid leave, and his or her name was never released to the public. The state police declined an invitation to investigate the incident and subsequent attempts by Isadore's family to have the shooting investigated went nowhere.

(Lawyers' fees for the cops are being covered by the local Fraternal Order of Police, so the police are not costing taxpayers anything by refusing to comply with an order issued by the local government that, theoretically, controls them.)

But even if accountability is out of reach, is it too much to ask that police officers not be feted like they returned home from a war zone after gunning down a confused centenarian?

Isadore's daughter, Paula Aguilar, told KATV that she doesn't think the honors were deserved. "I looked up `valor,' and I'm like, `No, that doesn't fit to what they did to my dad."

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  1. Aside from FYTW, why did the cops go to his house and then shoot him in the first place?

    1. Monroe was killed on September 8, 2013. Police responded to a call and found him in his bedroom with a gun

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    2. An old man had a gun. Also, Willard Scott hit squad.

    3. When that failed, they called in the county SWAT team. When SWAT officers broke down the door to Monroe’s bedroom, he fired at them and they returned fire, killing him.

      We have a case here which is on the edge.

      However, knowing that he was 107 years old, it seems reasonable they could have waited for five or six minutes for him to fall asleep, then quietly enter. They could have then given him 2 months in country, aka a life sentence.

      1. he doesn’t want to go to the assisted living facility.
        leave him alone to get his own prune juice and applesauce for a day or two, see how long he lasts.

    4. I remember this story.

      Ed’s post on the story here. And I put out a lot of words trying to defend the cops.

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  2. Who the fuck cares how old he is? It’s irrelevant. All that matters is whether he was black.

    1. His first name is Isadore. Something something book covers.

      1. Same difference… ever since Bernie and Obama the GOP is gung ho for KKK and NSDAP.

        1. ever since Bernie and Obama the GOP is gung ho for KKK and NSDAP.

          Citation?

      2. And in Pine Bluff, AR.

      3. “Call me Isadore”. Oh wait, that’s Ishmael.

    2. When you are 107, you should be allowed to shoot at whomever you want.

    3. And yes – he was black

  3. Damn. All they had to do was wait him out. He probably would have fallen asleep eventually. But smoke bombs and killing are way too much fun to pass up.

    1. No they had to keep him form killing himself… oh never mind. More proof that the government does not like competition even when it comes to offing oneself

      1. They shot that deaf 107 year old 32 times!!
        Obviously, these hero’s were thorough professionals.

    2. I don’t see why you wouldn’t didn’t just dress up like Matlock and lie to him and tell him you could file some papers to make sure he doesn’t go to the home, then disarm and arrest him.

      1. WTF? This requires creativity, compassion, and maybe a little bit of cleverness. Those are all disqualifying attributes on the police academy entrance exam.

      2. +1 Jimmy McGill

    3. And get all juiced up for nothing? That’s BOGUS, man!

      1. It’s is dishonorable to return your tacticool gear unsplattered with blood.

        1. Come home with this riot shield or upon it!

      2. How do you ever expect these cops to get sexually aroused if they can’t shoot anyone? I mean, at least let them shoot a dog or something.

  4. it appears that police escalated the situation to a point where a violent ending was nearly unavoidable

    You know what other violent ending was nearly unavoidable?

    1. The Red Wedding?

    2. Steve Smith climax?

    3. My deflowering of your mom?

    4. Gus Fring?

    5. Last night?

    6. Crusty’s colonoscopy?

    7. diversity taking over the Harry Potter play?

    8. Some people call it a sling blade.

    9. Tommy DeVito getting made?

  5. The saddest part is that they STILL weren’t able to get him into the assisted living facility.

  6. The family should be thanking the cops for saving them a lot of money for that assisted living facility. Fucking ungrateful civilians.

    1. Yeah, seriously. He outlived his contributions to Social Security and Medicare a long time ago.

  7. “I don’t understand the rationale, I don’t understand why anyone would want a medal, who can you show it to? Oh, I have a medal of valor, well were you in the war? No, I killed a 107-year-old man…you know…who would want that?”

    A sociopath, that’s who.

    Related question: who the fuck would give someone a medal for that? Oh, that’s right – your colleagues on the City Council.

    1. Came to post exactly this.

    2. Related question: who the fuck would give someone a medal for that? Oh, that’s right – your colleagues on the City Council.

      Err, I think that’s doubtful. It was probably an internal award. Chief or some high-ranker feels they have to do something for their guys, and what better way that with a Murder Medal?

      1. ‘Murder Medal’
        Brilliant!

  8. This is just like when they wanted to cancel the parade for those heroic cops that flashbanged the baby’s crib.

  9. What? The guy clearly wanted to suicide by cop. You say “unwarranted escalation that resulted in a needless death”, I say “good customer service” and “proper employee appreciation”.

    1. Not many 107 year olds clearly want anything.

      1. And a good thing too considering how many times I’ve done essentially that by accident.

  10. It’s unclear whether the city has the legal authority to strip the medals.

    The city council should have the authority to fire everyone involved. Oh wait, Union. Never mind.

    1. If they had the authority to issue them, how do they not have the authority to revoke them?

      1. They have the authority to revoke the award. They don’t have the authority to confiscate the medals.

        In order to apply pressure to get the medals remitted, they’ll have to tangle with the union. The real question is, how do other cops see them and their (now-phony) medals?

        1. The real question is, how do other cops see them and their (now-phony) medals?

          As heros, being deprived of their rightful due, would be my guess.

  11. No doubt that cleaning up the puddles of urine the heroic SWAT team left on the floor was funded at the taxpayers’ expense.

  12. Cops give each other awards so that later, press releases can describe the one who shot an unarmed civilian as “two time officer of the month” to contrast against the dead perp as someone with “numerous brushes with the law”.

  13. I’ve never understood why we give medals to cops when their guns shoot people. They just can’t let anything else get well deserved credit, I guess.

    1. Cops should be given medals when they ACTUALLY SAVE AND/OR PROTECT life.

      Not take it.

      They seem to conflate soldiers and the military with police duties.

      1. They saved their own lives. Blue lives matter, you know.

      2. They seem to conflate soldiers and the military with police duties.

        Not even. Soldiers aren’t generally awarded medals for being in rough proximity to a vague sense of danger. They have to, you know, do something meritorious. Although I suppose you could say these are like campaign ribbons. You were there, something happened, here’s a title to pad your promotion request.

        1. They started giving a combat V on the Bronze Star for a reason.

          1. I don’t understand why they have to conflate combat awards (i.e., medals) with non-combat awards. You shouldn’t get a medal just because you were a good logistician. Yes, the military needs good logisticians, and yes the logistics chain can come under fire. But just because you are in the military and did your job doesn’t mean you should get a medal. That having been said, people who do non-combat jobs well should still be recognized. It’s just a different form of recognition.

        2. I’ve been a soldier in wartime. I do not consider civilian police officers to be my peers, nor do most of my actual peers.

  14. It’s perfectly legit. They did a job and got rewarded for it. This is valor since valor entails doing a job. They deserve to keep the medal.

    /David French.

  15. They have just as much right to get home to their families (in time for the game) as anyone.

  16. Did they ever release the arrest record of this old felon?

    1. I think I read he had held up a stagecoach back in ’03

  17. 107 years old, yes. But he had the body of an 87-year old.

  18. Easy solution: Issue the following resolution: “Henceforth and forever, these medals will only be issued to cowards who besmerch the good name of the city. Any officer who wishes to exchange this medal for our new medals of valor may do so at the agreement of the city council.”

  19. They couldn’t just wait for him to take a nap?

  20. Should rename them “Got Home Safely” medals.

    1. And issue them every day, like participation trophies.

  21. When US customs assassins murdered Henry Virkula in front of his wife and children to please Dry Hope Herb Hoover, the International Falls City Council telegraphed the prez and issued protests that June: “and whereas, our appeal has remained unanswered, even though the vicious and unlawful conduct of said government agents have continued unabated??except that there has been no fresh murder of our innocent neighbors; ? “Therefore, be it resolved that we, the City Council of the City of International Falls, in regular session assembled, do hereby remind the President that the memorialization of the citizens’ appeal was and is the articulate pleading of the community: ? “And be it further resolved that the City Council of the City of International Falls does hereby join its official voice in requesting from our President an urgent response to the pleas for help from our people. Some local elected officials had guts back in them days. The episode is recorded in the Presidential Papers.

    1. Hank, HANK! Buddy, we’re over here man. C’mon over here and sit down. That’s it, just relax.

      1. I’m surprised he didn’t bring prohibition and abortion into it.

  22. Police officers in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, are lawyering up after the city council voted to rescind medals of valor handed out to the SWAT team in 2013.

    It’s unclear whether the city has the legal authority to strip the medals. City Attorney Althea Hadden-Scott told the Commercial that the council resolution is not binding and lacks enforcement authority.

    To be honest, this seems cut-and-dried – only the group with the authority to issue the awards has the authority to rescind them.

    I would think, however, that the city has the authority to order the police department to rescind the awards (assuming it was the police themselves who issued the award).

  23. On any given day, the murder of a 107-year-old man is probably not the worst thing happening in Pine Bluff.

  24. Although the shooting might have been justified since Monroe reportedly fired at the cops first, it appears that police escalated the situation to a point where a violent ending was nearly unavoidable. It was not a hostage situation and Monroe was not a threat to anyone but himself, at least until officers forced their way into his room. Was sending in a SWAT team to use deadly force against a 107-year old man really the best option available?

    I’m not sure how it would be. If an armed man brandishing a weapon tries to break into my bedroom after I had made clear that I did not want him there, I would likely walk if I shot at him.

    Why is it different when a cop does it to a person who is not an immediate threat to himself or others?

    1. Because cops are special.

      It seems the majority of the American people think that cops can break the law while enforcing it and dish out summary justice up to and including death if anyone resists their unlawful attempts to enforce the law.

      Simple huh?

  25. 107-year old Isadore Monroe

    Of all the excuses the Fat Blue Line trots out, in this particular case they can’t possibly play the “furtive movement” card.

    1. On the contrary, every shiver of his palsied hand could be a furtive movement!

  26. Just shows how off-the-chain our local governments are. This incident should be condemned by both the Right (2nd amendment) and the Left (“what we do in our bedrooms is none of your business”) yet the cops got medals.

  27. I sort of agree with giving them medals. At least they won the standoff.

    Here in Sunny Minnesoda we are so pathetic, we give medals to cops who lose the gunfight with a family of Hmong in a wrong address raid. That is just sad.

    “They were acting in good faith on a warrant that was properly drawn up, based off of what appeared to be good information,” Garcia said. “Their bravery under fire should not be negated [because of the misinformation].”

    Except that the house was directly across the street from the local police precinct house. Seems odd that a bunch of lawless gang members would decide to live there.

    1. “How can you shoot women and children?”

      “Its easy! You just lead ’em less!”

    2. The actual perps weren’t Hmong them.

    3. They were acting in good faith on a warrant that was properly drawn up, based off of what appeared to be good information

      I’m starting to think they don’t know what words like “good” or “proper” even mean.

    4. “We had the right house and right address — according to what the informant told us — but it’s unclear why she gave that address, since the family had no ties whatsoever to the gang,”

      …which means that you had the wrong house, and the wrong address.

      1. but it’s unclear why she gave that address

        Per Pope Jimbo:

        Except that the house was directly across the street from the local police precinct house.

        I’m thinking this chick has a wicked sense of humor.

    5. Here’s the gem in the article:

      “This isn’t the first time a SWAT raid has gone wrong, though. As reported by the Washington Post, a SWAT team on Tuesday raided a D.C. area Mayor’s home on suspicion of drug possession and fatally shot his two dogs.”

      Jesus H Christ.

  28. Goddamn Indian givers!

  29. An argument could be made for shooting someone who was shooting at you but giving out medals for killing a guy who was born in 1906 (for killing anyone really)? That’s bullshit.

  30. I was in fear of my life….by a very old man. Why was the SWAT team called in, in the first place. Why couldn’t the cops just have waited the old man out? Oh. They were in fear of their lives.

  31. Where, one wonders, are the civil rights mavens of the U.S.DOJ re what appears to be this consummate screw-up?

  32. This is yet another example of the police showing up to a difficult situation and making things worse. Only call the cops as a last resort and even then think twice about it.

  33. Never, ever ,ever call the cops no matter what. Things will only get worse.

    Hasn’t everyone learned this lesson yet?

  34. They may have to give those medals back, but at least they get to keep their medals for shooting puppies and confiscating kids’ piggy banks through asset forfeiture.

  35. Way back when I was in college I had a professor who was from Pine Bluff. He showed us a photograph he had taken of a street sign in the downtown area that said NO PARKING — RADAR ENFORCED. Can we really expect good judgement from cops who need a radar gun in order to know whether a car is moving or not?

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  39. Am I the only one who thinks that a shapely police office in a nurse’s uniform, unbuttoned a bit, would have EASILY convinced him to step outside? WTF officers? Use some fucking psychology, would ya’?

  40. Pine Bluff, Arkansas where every cop is above average.

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