The “Angry Police Captain” is one of the premiere cultural archetypes of late 20th Century America. The gruff, by-the-book peace officer asking his roguish subordinate if he realized how many regulations he’d broken or if he understood how many times the mayor had called that day to complain about all the damage from the car chase. At some point in the film, the captain will ask our anti-hero to turn in his badge and gun. Later on, the captain will begrudgingly return them while delivering some version of this speech: “I may not like your methods, but you get results.”
One judge has the first part of this archetype down, labeling a cop “dangerous” and questioning if he, “should not be carrying a gun.” I doubt the judge will have occasion to change his mind about a cop who pulled a gun on his neighbor, and then asked for a restraining order…
Welcome to the Bay Area, where Judge Daniel J. Healy denied a routine request for a restraining order. Perhaps the restraining order wasn’t totally routine, since the request came from a cop who pulled a gun on his unarmed neighbor.
The incident arose after a near car collision between the off-duty officer, Dedrick Riley, and his neighbor, Robert Gregory. Robert Gregory parked in front of Riley’s house, prompting Riley to run toward Gregory “with his badge in his right hand and his police-issued handgun in his left hand and ordered Gregory to ‘go home.’”
Judge Healy cut him off there:
“I’ve got some problems with your story already,” Healy said. “Why would you think you’re entitled to order people to do anything” and use force while off-duty. “What is your state of mind?”
“We have road-rage incidents all the time,” Riley answered. “I was trying to de-escalate the situation.”
Road rage is more of a SoCal problem, isn’t it?
As for “de-escalating the situation,” Judge Healy restrained himself from channeling The Dude, “yeah, waiving the f**king gun around?” And Judge Healy is all about The Dude. The Judge decorates his office with Grateful Dead posters and once told an interviewer, “the Aloha spirit is all about being cool, treating each other well. I try to do that always.” Groovy.
The two parties disputed how Gregory got hit in the eye. Gregory said he was punched, Riley said Gregory was hurt when Riley slammed Gregory’s door on him. Oddly, Riley’s defense sounds worse than Gregory’s story.
Riley said he felt his life was in danger that night. Judge Healy was incredulous:
“Aren’t you proving the point that you are not stable?” Healy said. “If you believe (that your life was in danger), you should quit and turn in your weapon … you have no leeway to go to war with your neighbors. You were using deadly force in response to nothing.”
“I’m afraid I have to disagree, your honor,” Riley replied. “I thought I was in a lethal situation.”
“I have no idea why you think that’s appropriate,” Healy said.
As a parting shot:
Healy called Riley “dangerous” and added “… the fact that you drew a gun suggests to me that you should not be carrying a gun.
But as far as we know, Gregory has never parked in front of Riley’s house again. Dammit Your Honor, he gets results!
Solano County Judge Denies Richmond Cop’s Request for Restraining Order [Contra Costa Times]