New York New Jersey Officer Regina Tasca, it was trying to prevent other officers from beating the hell out of an emotionally disturbed man. Tasca hasn’t been fired yet. Her fate now rests in the hands of judge.
In Bogota, officers control whether or not their dashboard camera rolls. Fortunately, when Officer Tasca responded to a call in April 2011, she clicked her unit “on.” The black-and-white tape captures it all–a mother, Tara, screaming for police to stop punching her son on their front lawn. She had called to have her emotionally disturbed son Kyle taken to the hospital. Bogota police responded while waiting for the ambulance. Tasca was the sole officer on the road that day, so she called for back-up according to protocol. Ridgefield Park police then sent two officers. Tasca had just completed her state-mandated training for working with emotionally disturbed citizens.
Tasca described what we see on the videotape: “The Ridgefield Park officer automatically charges and takes him down to the ground. I was quite shocked. As he’s doing that, another Ridgefield Park officer flies to the scene in his car, jumps out and starts punching him in the head.”
On the tape you can hear Tara, the mother, and Kyle, her son, screaming, “Why are you punching him?” and “Stop punching me!”
Kyle, by the way, was never charged with a crime. Tasca got involved, and was eventually able to pry Kyle’s attackers off of him. And that was her undoing.
Tasca’s voice began to waiver as she recounted the meeting with her superior officer:
“The next thing I know he asks me to turn over my weapon and be sent for a fitness for duty exam,” she said.
Bogota PD, after hearing Tasca’s story, believes she is psychologically incompetent to be a police officer, and she is being sent for testing. The Ridgefield Park Police officers seen tackling and punching an emotionally disturbed man waiting for an ambulance are never questioned. never interviewed by an Internal Affairs Investigator, and are still working the streets today.
Bogota Police chose to suspend Tasca, an 11-year veteran with numerous commendations. There are photographs from the hospital documenting the bruises on the 22-year-old’s head, back, arms and wrists.
Tasca says the real reason she’s being called out on these charges is she crossed the “blue line” by refusing to support another officer even when he used excessive force.
This is the third story I can recall in the last year or so in which a police officer who crossed the blue line was sent off for a psychological evaluation. It isn’t just that cops don’t rat out other cops, it’s that those who do obviously have psychological problems. It’s a chilling thought. It also sends a pretty clear message to other well-meaning cops. Cross the blue line, and you may not only lose your job, we’ll also publicly question your sanity.