Posted on July 07, 2011 at COPBLOCK.org
On January 25, 2010, Jacob Rhealt was involved in an auto accident in Fargo, North Dakota. The accident occurred during a blizzard. A car became stranded during a whiteout, and an officer responded to the car. According to Mr. Rhealt, the officer parked in the middle of the westbound lane to deal with the stranded car without setting up any precautions or indications to give oncoming traffic notice of his presence in the middle of the lane. Mr. Rhealt, due to the driving conditions and limited visibility in the middle of a blizzard did not see the squad SUV parked in the middle of the street. In his complaint to the police department, Mr. Rhealt explained that he did everything in his power to avoid hitting the squad car, but did not have enough time or room to move out of the way.
Once the EMTs and police arrived at the scene of the crash, they immediately attended to the officer in the SUV that had been hit. He was taken out of the vehicle and placed on a stretcher. In contrast, before the EMTs could get to Mr. Rhealt, the officer on scene ordered him into the back of the patrol car. The EMTs left the scene without treating his injuries.
Mr. Rhealt had been out to some bars the night before, and the officer immediately began a criminal investigation, despite the possibility of very serious injuries from a terrible car accident. He was subsequently arrested for DUI, which was eventually was dropped, as Mr. Rhealt was not driving drunk. Upon dropping the DUI charge, Mr. Rhealt was issued a reckless driving ticket. He was also found not guilty of reckless driving by a jury.
When Mr. Rhealt complained about the lack of medical treatment, the responding officer claimed he had refused medical care, which Mr. Rhealt says is not the case at all. The police’s actions clearly demonstrate whose interests the police have at heart. When one of their own is injured, he is given medical attention immediately, despite the fact that it was arguably his own negligence that precipitated the accident to begin with. On the other hand, when an ordinary peon is injured, their first response is to begin a criminal investigation to see just how badly they can screw him as “punishment” for injuring one of them.
Mr. Rhealt is understandably upset about the situation. The police created a dangerous driving situation, which resulted in his car accident to begin with. To compound their incompetence, they denied him medical care, and instead arrested and charged him with a crime he did not commit. When they realized he was innocent of that crime, they then charged him with yet another crime he did not commit. “I have no respect for FM Ambulance for leaving a scene of an accident without checking out all victims,” said Mr. Rhealt. “I have no respect for the Fargo PD…The accident happened you can move on from that. But they had no intention of providing me medical attention- that is unreal. They didn’t care if i was hurt or not. The thought never crossed this officer’s mind. Nobody cared at all.” And that sums up many police attitudes toward public safety quite nicely.
This post was written by:
George Sand - who has written 57 posts on Cop Block.
George Sand received her B.A. in communications studies from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. She enjoys beer, jogging, the beach and music in her spare time.
In: Regional News, Other News, Citizen Journalism
Tags: copblock.org, cop block, Corruption, Double Standard
Location: Fargo, North Dakota, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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