The law holds dogs to a much higher standard.
The saying goes "every dog gets one bite." That means that the owner of a dog generally won't be held responsible for bad behavior, such as biting people, unless the dog has already shown vicious tendencies. On the other hand, if the dog has previously bitten someone severely, the owner is on notice, and subject to tort liability. I've defended a number of bite cases and had to advise clients, clients who owned friendly, wonderful dogs, that the best thing to do with Rover is to send him "to live on a farm" because the law won't be so kind next time some mean kid pulls Rover's tail.
But a vicious policeman? It's hard indeed to send him to live on a farm. He has civil service protection. Authorities and his fellow policemen turn a blind eye, or tell us we mustn't second-guess. And there is no union for vicious dogs.
But if a client had a dog as vicious as David Williams of the Boston Police Department, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend putting the animal down.
[Michael O’Brien] asserts he was attacked by [Diep] Nguyen and Williams when he tried to record them with his cellphone after a minor car accident. Nguyen allegedly grabbed the phone, and O’Brien [sic- I do believe the story means to refer to Officer Williams] tackled him, choked him from behind, nearly strangling him, and hit him in the head.
O’Brien suffered a concussion, contusions, and bleeding of the brain. He still has headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating, preventing him from continuing work as a correction officer, he said in the lawsuit. He also has not returned to his assignment with the Massachusetts Army National Guard, under doctor’s orders.
The lawsuit says other, unidentified officers arrived but did nothing to prevent the attack.
Well, so what? It's just another case of obstructing an officer, right? Just another unsubstantiated allegation (though I'd love to see the phone video) from some dirtbag with a grudge against cops, right?
Well, not quite. O'Brien is himself a corrections officer, not the sort of guy who doesn't know how to communicate with the police. And Officer Williams, if O'Brien's allegations are correct, is a two time loser. He was one of the officers involved in the 1995 beating of Michael Cox, an undercover officer who was mistakenly stopped by uniformed police, including Williams, while pursuing a suspect. Cox was beaten almost to death.
[Cox] was in plainclothes and chasing a homicide suspect in Mattapan when the officers mistook him for a suspect, beat him, and left him near death on the street.
No one was ever charged in the beating, one of the ugliest times in Boston police history. Williams and two other officers were fired, but Williams was reinstated six years later after an arbitrator found the department did not have just cause to terminate him. [emphasis mine]
Cox, who released Williams from an $817,000 lawsuit he won against the city, later sued Williams after he was reinstated. They reached an out-of-court settlement in 2006, and Williams remained on the force. Cox is now deputy superintendent.
The Cox beating became a citywide scandal due to evidence that the Boston Police Department's leadership obfuscated and covered up what really happened, sweeping the matter under the rug to protect fellow officers, even though the victim was also one of their own. As with O'Brien, the Boston Police Department didn't want the facts investigated. As with O'Brien, Michael Cox suffered massive head injuries because officers including Williams alleged he "resisted arrest," and well, at that point what's an officer to do?
We weren't there. We don't have all of the facts. We don't have to make split-second decisions. We shouldn't second-guess brave officers like David Williams. We shouldn't be armchair detectives. No, it's better not to ask any questions at all. Questions like, "how is it possible that David Williams still serves on the Boston police force?"
We may not like the answers.