|Missouri Sheriff Jim Arnott|
These issues particularly resonate now because we recently passed the one-year anniversary of the unlawful eviction in Springfield, Missouri, that led to Carol's injuries, sent her briefly to jail, and left me (and our late kitty kat, Baxter) homeless for several hours last Sept. 9, spending most of the afternoon and evening in an area park, under shade trees. (Let it not be said that I don't know what it's like to be a hobo in a park.)
According to the Greene County Sheriff's Office Policy and Procedure Manual, all of the above questions (and many more) should have been answered as part of an investigation that is required after any "critical incident." What is a critical incident? It's described as "use of force . . . by or against a Greene County Sheriff's Office employee . . . which causes serious physical injury or death to any person." (See page 110 of manual.)
Carol's arm was shattered so severely during an unlawful eviction on September 9, 2015, that it required repair from a trauma surgeon, not an orthopedist, and physical therapists have said she might be able to regain 75 percent usage of her left arm, as a best result. She clearly suffered a "serious physical injury," which amounts to a "critical incident" that should have triggered a wide-ranging investigation.
As we have already shown, that is supposed to include interviews with victims (Carol) and witness/victims (me), but that has not happened. Have any of the other required investigative steps been taken? Is Sheriff Jim Arnott, who caused Carol to be falsely arrested and imprisoned for "assaulting an officer," interested in getting at the truth and holding the appropriate individuals (possibly including him) accountable? We have doubts about that.
Here is part of what already should have happened in the required investigative process (See page 112 of manual):
Involved Deputies will submit to any/or all of the following: blood, urine, breath or other chemical test as requested by the Administrative Investigator.
One of the major unanswered question about the incident is this: Why would any reasonable police officer, during an eviction that could not legally be conducted on the date in question anyway, attack a woman who committed no offense, posed no threat to him, said nothing threatening to him, and simply was trying to retrieve personal items as she had been given permission to do?
|X-ray of Carol Shuler's broken arm|
The sheriff's policy and procedural manual addresses the second issue at some length. (See page 117 of manual):
During the initial investigation the Administrative Investigator shall facilitate the toxicology analysis of the following: Blood and/or urine and breath to determine the presence of alcohol, amphetamine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, opiates, THC, cocaine, PCP and propoxypene. This toxicology screening will be billed to the GCSO and should be conducted at the GCSO’s preferred medical provider when possible. The Involved Deputy should sign a medical release waiver at the time of the screening permitting the GCSO to obtain the results of the toxicology screening for administrative investigation purposes.
Sherriff officials seem to be well aware that an officer could be high as the proverbial kite while on duty, causing serious risk to the public. Officials also seem aware that officers have been known to lie, especially when they have been involved in a "critical incident." (See page 113 of the manual):
Involved Deputies shall submit to a polygraph examination if requested by the Administrative Investigator.
Common sense seems to hold that a polygraph exam would be administered only after the victim and witnesses have been interviewed. Since that hasn't happened, does it mean Sheriff Arnott and his staff have made no effort to determine if the officer's version of events is based in reality? The answer, in our view, likely is yes.
Finally, the involved deputy is to be removed from the force until investigators have determined he is fit to return to duty. (See page 113 of manual):
Involved Deputies will be placed on administrative leave; either paid or unpaid until both investigations [criminal and administrative] are either concluded or reach a level of completion which allows the Sheriff to make an informed return to duty decision. Prior to returning to duty the Involved Deputy will be required to take a Fit for Duty Exam at the expense of the employer.
How long was this deputy on leave? Was he ever on leave at all? What were the results of his Fit for Duty Exam? How could the results be accurate if Carol and I have not been interviewed, and the deputy likely has not been required to submit to a polygraph exam? Does the FBI need to be notified about shenanigans in the Greene County Sheriff's Office?
Here is another intriguing question: What if this was not just an ordinary street deputy? What if he was a member of the sheriff's administrative team? What if that helps explain his aggressive and abusive actions toward Carol. Arnott was standing about five feet away when Carol was assaulted. What if the individual conducting the assault was someone who serves just under Arnott, high up on the department's chain of command?
The sheriff's manual in Greene County, Missouri, indicates "critical incidents" are to be treated with the utmost seriousness -- and any involved deputy is to undergo a variety of tests and procedures to ensure he acted reasonably and is fit to return to the force.
Is that process treated seriously in real life or is it mostly just words on a page. At this point, to us, it looks like words on a page -- and nothing else.