Friday, November 21, 2008

Waking the Dead

Talk about bad timing! A North Carolina sheriff’s official is apologizing for disturbing a funeral where undercover agents tried to serve an arrest warrant on the dead man’s son—and used a Taser to do so.

The Star-News of Wilmington reports that the incident happened Saturday afternoon as the coffin was being loaded into a hearse. The officers planned to quietly arrest Gladwyn Taft Russ III, but it turned into a scuffle. The 42-year-old Russ was charged with communicating threats against his ex-wife who lives in another state. Officials said he failed to turn himself in as promised.

New Hanover County sheriff’s chief deputy Ed McMahon said the officers’ move backfired in the emotional environment. McMahon said the officers should have waited until after the cemetery service.

What do you think? Did the officers overreact? Should they have waited? Was there a better plan that they could have used?


  1. I think they should have waited. It was disrespectful to the dead and to the mourners. Now the son should have turned himself in, I'll grant you that, but the police should have waited.

    I appreciate our police forces so much. They have to deal with idiotic people doing stupid and dangerous things all the time. I really like how they trick criminals, like parties, give-a-ways, etc. But during a funeral is a little heavy-handed.

  2. So, hypothetically, they wait for after the cemetery service, but he slips through their net and escapes. Then, in an emotional state, he goes and follows through on his threats against his ex-wife. There have been several news stories recently of ex's killing their estranged wives, even with "restraining orders" to try and prevent that from happening. He knew he was supposed to turn himself in, but did not. They knew he would be there, and took action when they could.

    In my opinion, he was fortunate they waited to let him have the funeral service for his father, before taking him into custody. Had he not resisted, there would not have been need for the officer to draw the Taser at all, but he did not go quietly and caused the scene.

  3. Rick and Will...great points of view! Interesting how you two the issue at hand and uncovered at least two sides to it...

    I'm not sure who's right, I see value in what both of you have said!

  4. If this warrant was for a violent offense, I say arrest when you can. Can you imagine the uproar if a violent offender gets away, then hurts someone because police waited?

    If this was a nonviolent offense, then yes, they should have waited.

  5. No one has said it so I will "Don't taze me, bro".

    Seriously, those officers should have waited til after the funeral. I suspect they were concerned that they would lose him and this led to them over-reacting. It happens.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.