by Annette Dashofy
It’s happened again. A Pittsburgh area community is burying a police officer killed in the line of duty.
Michael Crawshaw, a Penn Hills police officer was gunned down while sitting in his vehicle waiting for backup to arrive in response to a 911 call from Danyal Morton. Morton reported that a gunman had entered his house. That gunman, Ronald Robinson, killed Morton and then walked outside and opened fire on Officer Crawshaw with an AK-47.
Here in Washington County, roughly 30 some miles from Pittsburgh, we have a different news story unfolding with regards to our local police. A few weeks back, a 49 year old Washington man died after being tased by police. Lots of folks around here read only that part of the story and rage against the police department, calling for disciplinary actions and the outlawing of tasers. But read further and you learn that this man, although suffering from a seizure, was not only combative, but was trying to walk into traffic, putting himself and innocent motorists in jeopardy. He refused orders to sit down. He charged and even bit the officers. He was tased more than once and continued to fight for several minutes AFTER being tased and before collapsing.
Are all tasing incidents handled properly? Of course not. This one, however, was by the book.
I’m not writing this to get into an argument about whether tasers should continue to be a tool for police officers. Those who believe they should be illegal will not change their minds because of anything I can say.
My only point is that being a cop is dangerous and largely thankless work. Sometimes an officer does everything by the book and the public comes down on them, shouting claims of brutality.
Sometimes an officer does everything by the book and ends up dead.
I’m proud of my Washington County community as a whole, because the letters to the editor in the local paper have been overwhelmingly supportive of the police handing this particular call. It’s dreadful that a man died in this case. But the police were trying to do their job.
And Michael Crawshaw was trying to do his.
Rest in Peace, Officer Crawshaw. Rest in Peace.