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Warren cop: I thought boys were suspects



Published: Sat, April 10, 2010 @ 12:04 a.m.

By ED RUNYAN

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

The police officer who ordered boys age 10, 9 and 7 to the ground at gunpoint in their backyard on Sarkies Drive Northeast on March 26 said their behavior — “running, stumped down, trying to avoid detection” — suggested they might be committing a burglary.

Warren police Sgt. Jeff Hoolihan, in a memo to the department’s internal affairs officer, said he initially became suspicious of the boys while on patrol because he noticed the three running from the rear of a house on Sarkies toward Atlantic Street.

“Once the black males saw me, they ran back to the area of the house that they came from,” Hoolihan wrote.

“It appeared to me that there was a possible B&E in progress from the way that the black males were running stumped down, trying to avoid detection.”

After telling his dispatcher there was a breaking and entering in progress, he backed his cruiser on Belvedere and saw the three “run from the same area of the residence from the first time,” Hoolihan said.

That’s when Hoolihan exited his vehicle, “chased the black male suspects on foot,” drew his revolver and ordered them to the ground.

Sgt. Jeff Cole, internal affairs officer for the Warren Police Department, said his investigation of the incident is ongoing.

Hoolihan wrote the memo March 30 in response to a complaint the boys’ parents filed March 29 in which they accused Hoolihan of traumatizing their children for no good reason.

Hoolihan wrote that he holstered his revolver as soon as the boys got on the ground.

After questioning the boys and checking the contents of the black bag one of them was carrying, Anthony Simmons, the boys’ father, arrived and told Hoolihan that the boys were his sons, Hoolihan wrote.

“I explained to Mr. Simmons that there were numerous burglaries happening in the area, and everything needs to be checked out,” he wrote.

The complaint filed by Anthony and Carolyn Simmons, the boys’ parents, said the boys were in their own back yard and the incident left the boys “traumatized.”

The complaint said the parents initially wondered whether the boys had violated their parents’ rules about being in a neighbor’s yard and had been “startled” by seeing the officer.

The boys, however, later told their parents that they never noticed the officer until he was pointing a gun at them, the parents wrote in their complaint.

“My sons have walked the same route home every day for years, sometimes they run all the way home. 99 percent of the time, they have a book bag,” the Simmons complaint said.


Comments

1FifthAve(168 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

This cop drew all the wrong conclusions and responded inappropriately. Therefore he should be evaluated and treated before being allowed to return to duty or given a desk job.

This incident calls into question the judgement of the police officer. In fact, one wonders what is wrong with his perceptions. What most would view as a typical picture of childhood--kids running and playing tag---this officer sees as a crime in progress. He must be the Barney Fife of Warren.

Further, his judgement was totally out of line when he pulled his gun on these children. If they hadn't dropped to the ground would he have shot?

The police are sworn to protect our neighborhoods from ADULTS who may do our children or our property harm. Their job is to protect the children of the community not chase after them ordering them to the ground with a gun trained on them.

What these kids learned is that, contrary to what their parents and schools have taught them that the police are your friends, the police sometimes do no act like friends to kids.

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2ElPolloRetrasado(202 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Wow, with FifthAve's statement one would assume that crime is only committed by adults and children under the age of 18 are 100% innocent! You, my friend, are a dumba$$!

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3FifthAve(168 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

No, sir, a "dumba$$" would train a gun on a 10, 9, and 7 year old and tell them to hit the ground.

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4dcheck(9 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

On the one hand: 1) I live several blocks away, and our home was broken into in February in the middle of the day and ransacked. Many of our treasured memories and possessions were stolen. Many that cannot be replaced. It is a devastating event. We were told others in the area have been hit. Could be police are patrolling more as a result. 2) I don't know the answer to this, maybe someone else does, but are there sidewalks in this area? Not that this is a big issue, but since we've been robbed, I'd now be suspicious of anyone going through the back yards of my neighborhood. 3) And heaven forbid if I came home with mud on my shoes when I was young.

On the other hand: 1) It seems very odd these young children were targeted. No doubt at least a little racial profiling was used. This is hard to excuse. 2) I would think the police officer could have dealt with this better. This sounds very excessive to me. These kids were awful young to be pulling a gun on them.

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5L0L(660 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

FifthAve you are completely correct! Kids do not carry guns therefore officers should not assume that they do. Kids also do not break into homes therefore officers should not ever assume that they did and look the other way next time.

I want this incident to said a stern mesage to the police that we the public do not want you to investigate any acitvity that MAY be suspicious. We do not want you to use your gut instinct that you've acquired over years of doing your job. We want you to only act if you actually see something in progress and do not want any preventive, proactive police work being done. We rather have the incident occur and you show up after the fact to take the report and go back to patrolling with blinders on. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!

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6ElPolloRetrasado(202 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

LOL, lol!!! And no FifthAve, a "dumba$$" would let suspicious folks go about their suspicious ways! No one was hurt and a neighborhood that has had a gang of break ins was just being watched out for!

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7mrbiggs(2 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

This hole article is a piece of bull***T.. Detective Hoolihan has been on the force 4 over 25 years..these boys where ages 7 to 11 years old.. out walking home from school in mid afternoon.. And he pulled a gun on these boy's mistaking them 4 " could be " criminals. And these boys just happen 2 be part of the only black family in this neighborhood. Either this detective needs 2 be drug tested.. Or we should all just call it what it truely is.." Racial Profiling !!!" Both News papers " The Vindy, The Tribune, and The Warren Police Department," are all avoiding the truth. .Including 90 % of you who are posting comments 2 this . Please,... Will you guys stop babbling and admit that there is still a racial divide and problem inside of the Warren Police Department..And, under the freedom of information act, you 90% er's shoukd open up Detective Hoolihans job complaint history.. these type of complaints are not new 2 this veteran Detective... do your homework class.....

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Well mrbiggs the criminals of Warren should be given a week free of being terrorized by WPD or prosecuted for their crimes . We may just be too judgmental of the Warren Subculture .

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9mrbiggs(2 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Lol...only... if by my comment.. i'm considered 2 be part of " that " subculture.. then well... i'd expect most readers here 2 judge me.. only the gun wasnt pulled on me.. Lol.. have a good weekend Stan..

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10L0L(660 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Mrbiggs everyone knows that the more proactive an officer is the more complaints he's gonna get. Thats just the odds. Its the officers who never get complaints that you have to worry about. The reason for that is if he's not getting any complaints then what is he doing out there on the road for 8 hours?

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11FifthAve(168 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

LOL, give it a break! We want cops to patrol our neighborhoods for CRIMINALS--not children. While this cop's eyes are on these children, the criminals are breaking in our houses!

Further, gut instinct should have told this cop that these little kids were not in the process of committing a crime. He must be the Barney Fife of Warren.

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12Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

The politically correct way to do it in Warren would be to ask everyone who is seen running from a house if they are criminals .

ARE YOU A CRIMINAL ?

http://www.fierceinc.com/blog/wp-cont...

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13L0L(660 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

FifthAve, ALRIGHT ALRIGHT! Kids cant be criminals, I get your point.

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