On June 15, 2015, Wayne County Deputy Ryan Peterman and another deputy responded to a call of a suicidal woman near Wooster, Ohio. During the interaction with the woman, Peterman informed her that he was going to take her to the hospital to be checked out. Upon hearing that she was going to the hospital, she reacted by falling to the floor and refused to get up or move.
Deputy Peterman decided it would be okay to grab her feet and drag her down four concrete stairs. The actions of this deputy could have resulted in serious injury to this woman due to his lack of care and training. This can be seen in the last 20 seconds of the video above. His actions display a total lack of compassion as well as demonstrates how the mentally ill are treated by law enforcement across the country.
The video was discovered by an employee of the Wayne County Sheriff Office during a random audit of body cam footage. The footage was immediately brought to the attention of Sheriff Travis Hutchinson who took action to investigate the incident and hold the deputy accountable. The sheriff stated that Peterman’s actions were not in line with department policy and disciplinary actions were to follow.
Being the coward that Peterman is, on June 26, he resigned rather than face the music for his barbaric actions. This leaves him available to be employed at any other law enforcement agency should he make the mistake of continuing in that line of work. (He, in fact already has another job lined up in a different county’s police department.)
While I am pleased that Sheriff Hutchinson took action to investigate this incident and hold the deputy accountable, my concern is that these body cam videos are only reviewed randomly. Why are they only picking through footage of these officers that are attached to incident reports? How many other incidents of excessive force have taken place that this department has failed to view? I believe there needs to be a change in this department’s policy to ensure that each and every video that accompanies an incident or arrest report should be reviewed to avoid any violations slipping through the cracks.
We have brought way too many stories to you in the past regarding the heavy-handed tactics that police use when dealing with the mentally ill. Even after the high amount of media coverage of these actions and the demonstrated need for proper training when dealing with people who are mentally ill, there still seems to be no training in place to ensure that these people are treated with dignity and respect while at the same time keeping them safe.
Other stories CopBlock.org has covered showing how police deal with the mentally ill:
- Suicidal Man Killed by Police
- Sanger Police Officers Shoot and Kill an Unarmed Suicidal Marine Corps Vet
- “We don’t want to hurt you, we want to help you” Man Heard Police Say Before They Shot Billy Maine
- 124 Mentally Ill People Killed By Police So Far In 2015