SPOKANE, Wash. - Newly released body camera footage showed Spokane Police arresting a man they say tried to kidnap a child during Hoopfest.
The incident unfolded in Riverfront Park. That's where an 11-year-old boy said Peter Wilson grabbed onto him and tried to pull him away from the child's mother. Bystanders who realized what was happening grabbed onto Wilson and held him until police arrived.
Body camera footage, obtained through a public records request, showed police walk Wilson to a less crowded area of the park, near the carousel.
At one point, Wilson started screaming at officers and demanded they use their taser on him. Officers tied Wilson's ankles together and laid him on his side in the grass.
He grew more agitated quickly. In the footage, you can hear him threaten to kill police and cuss at responders.
Officers remained calm. One even poured some water on Wilson's neck to cool him off.
Spokane Police Sgt. Terry Preuninger said officers train extensively to develop de-escalation techniques. He said it's a requirement that all officers go through as rookies. Preuninger went on to say that some members take further training to develop those skills and other defensive tactic training.
“A cop doesn't want to fight everyone they come across that doesn't want to do what they are supposed to. So, all police officers, by their nature, get good, usually, at verbal skills and talking to people,” Preuninger said.
But de-escalation training hasn't always been required or even standard.
In 2011, a SPD officer was convicted in connection with the death of a man with schizophrenia. An extensive report later detailed how Otto Zehm died at the hands of Spokane police and highlighted the need for more training.
Shortly after that conviction, a new requirement came that officers must undergo crisis-intervention training.
Preuninger said he's noticed more of an emphasis on trainings like this in Spokane and across the nation since he started in the force more than two decades ago.
“I think, as a whole, you would find there is much more training put on and more application of that training,” Preuninger said.
Preuninger noted that sometimes officers follow all the right procedures and still have to use force.
“There is that balance of is it appropriate for me to continue to stand here and talk versus right now, I have to put my hands on this person because it would be safer,” Preuninger said.
Preuninger said safety is at the heart of what officers do. They want to keep themselves, the community, and the person they're dealing with safe.
In the Wilson case, officers were able to get him to a hospital for medical treatment before he was taken to jail.
Wilson is charged with attempted kidnapping, obstructing an officer, and disorderly conduct. His trial is scheduled for December 16.
When this happened—police mentioned Wilson was especially combative during arrest. I wanted to see how officers handled that—so I requested the body camera footage. Watch it in a #4NewsNow exclusive and hear more about how officers train for situations like this. #Spokane https://t.co/gBtdns50EX— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) November 8, 2019
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