An Indiana police officer will remain on the job despite the fact he shoved a 25-year-old disabled man and forced him to the ground after the man accidentally bumped into him with his wheelchair.
Even Tom Davidson’s own police department thought that the incident was inappropriate and warranted his firing. The department’s civil service commission, though, disagreed.
The callous incident occurred on Oct. 1 in Lafayette when the disabled man, who uses an electric wheelchair, apparently told authorities at a local school that he had a gun. Although officers soon realized the man did not have a gun, he did have a knife and he was asked to leave the school premises and not return.
As the man – who had been cooperating with the cops – was trying to leave the scene he collided into Davidson prompting the officer’s violent response.
According to Davidson’s own report, he “gave a two handed strike, open handed” to the man’s right shoulder after the man’s chair drove over his foot and hit his shin.
The blow made the disabled man fall to the pavement where he suffered cuts on his face.
“Now you’re going to jail,” Davidson told the man, now on the ground, while cuffing him.
The man responded by telling the officer that he didn’t see him and bumping into him was not intentional.
Police Chief Patrick Flannelly said the officer was out of line when he struck the man and pushed him to the ground.
“It was just inappropriate,” Flannelly said, pointing out what made it worse was that Davidson was one of the highest ranking officers on the scene.
Yet, despite the fact Flannelly and the department wanted Davidson out of uniform for his heartless act, the commission decided in a 3-2 vote that Davidson stayed within police guidelines and should not be fired.
As a result of the commission’s decision, Davidson will be demoted to patrol officer for behavior unbecoming of an officer and will be suspended for 30 days as a result of the incident.
The district attorney has also declined to file criminal charges in the case. Charges initially filed against the man in the wheelchair have also been dropped.
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