Kid Bumps Head... SWAT Called In To Take Action
Quote:Police Break Into House To Take Child To the ER
By Ann Shibler Published: 2008-01-11 00:56
Eleven-year-old Jon Shiflett, a typical boy, was horsing around and grabbed the door handle of a slowly moving car driven by his sister, a few doors down from the family home. He slipped and hit his head hard on the concrete. Jon's father, Tom, was first on the scene, assessed the situation, picked up his son, carried him home and applied ice to Jon's head. The elder Shiflett was a medic in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. With that experience, he is quite capable of assessing a whole host of injuries and properly monitoring an injured patient. He reported that Jon's eyes were not dilated, and that the child appeared to be okay except for some cuts, the bump on his head and a developing black eye.
In the meantime, however, someone — a nosy neighbor, perhaps — had called a rescue squad. They arrived at the Shiflett home and examined the boy. The boy's parents, however, refused transport to the hospital for treatment. According to Mr. Shiflett, it wasn't necessary. "I told them I didn't call for an ambulance. We're taking care of it," he said.
Rebuffed, the paramedics retreated from the house, and contacted social services who made a surprise visit to the Shiflett home the next day. Two caseworkers were allowed to look at the boy but Shiflett again refused to let them take the child. They vowed to return with a court order. And so they did.
This time, heavily armed law enforcement officials arrived and without warning forcibly entered the house. Mom Tina Shiflett said they were wearing masks, broke down the door with a battering ram, and pointed a gun at their 20-year-old daughter's head. Both parents and one daughter were handcuffed.
"They didn't need to bash into my home and slam my kids to the floor," Mrs. Shiflett later said of the strong-arm tactics. "I think they get a kick out of this." Tom Shiflett added, saying: "I would have let them in. It was traumatic to my children, and it's quite unnecessary."
It didn't end with the violent home invasion. Eleven-year-old Jon was then forcibly taken from the home. His parents were told that if they tried to follow or otherwise find out where their son was being taken they would face criminal charges.
The raid on the family home and the kidnapping of the child at gunpoint occurred in the early evening. Jon was returned to his parents the next morning at 2:30 a.m., quite an unsuitable time for a child, and quite a long time for anxiety-ridden parents to have been worrying. His aftercare patient instructions from a physician recommended that ice be used, the cuts kept clean, and that Tylenol could be administered for pain — exactly the treatment his parents were already administering.
How could such an innocent American family suffer from such an apparently egregious abuse of power. What were police told about the situation that led to such an apparent overreaction? Well, here's one clue. A first responder from the ambulance service wrote in an affidavit that she and other responders believed the child needed medical attention, but that they had to leave the premises as they feared for their own safety because Mr. Shiflett was "verbally abusive." But Ross Talbott, the owner of the mobile home park where the injury occurred, said that never happened. Talbott was present when the paramedics were in the home and said it was the paramedics who were acting belligerent.
The Sheriff, Lou Vallario, questioned why the father would not let paramedics take the child. "Why is this guy being so uncooperative?" He asked. "Where's the harm?" To this Tom Shiflett had a ready response. "What's the harm of letting a parent care for his own child?" he asked.
To Ross Talbot, the witness and owner of the mobile home park, the attack — for that is what it was — on the Shiflett family was an abuse of power:
<blockquote>I thought it was an incredibly stupid power move by people who went in there misinformed and ill-informed. I think they violated their personal rights, their constitutional rights and their rights to family. I've been (Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario's) longtime supporter, but I tell you what, to send a SWAT team down there was just absolutely over the hill.... Inappropriate is not nearly strong enough a word. It was gross irresponsibility and stupidity. ... Is this Russia? I don't know what we're coming to when they think your kid needs medical help and they send a SWAT team.
</blockquote>As natural parents and therefore legal custodians of the child, the parents had the right to refuse expensive medical treatment, especially when they were already doing the right thing. Their rights and liberties were trampled in a most despicable fashion by an illegitimate government intrusion; they are truly innocent victims.
But expect the usual drivel and clichés about safety and concern coming from all the other players, ad nauseum. It's all nonsense of course and an attempt at damage control. If the paramedics and the social workers and the deputies were so concerned about the welfare of others, they wouldn't have smashed down the front door and physically manhandled and traumatized the entire family, at gunpoint no less. Where's the care and concern for safety and health in that?
&A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.& -- Bertrand Russell