Officer John "Rocky" Rojas
have engaged the services of a veteran SAPD officer to serve as a
consultant on the script and also to tutor our two lead actors on
correct procedures for arresting a suspect, approaching a stolen
car, dealing with domestic disputes, etc. In the context of
describing handcuffing procedures, he told me the story of Tiny.
Tiny was, of course, a giant of a man. He was so huge that his
forearms wouldn't fit in ordinary handcuffs. Tiny could only be
restrained with leg irons on his wrists.
Tiny had a problem. While he was frequently arrested, he just
couldn't bear being restrained. The cops who had encountered him
before knew that he would get in the patrol car without a problem
and ride peacefully to the substation -- as long as you didn't try and put handcuffs on him.
night, Tiny was arrested by a couple of officers who were not
familiar with his idiosyncracies. Every time they tried to subdue
and cuff him, he brushed them away like annoying insects. In spite
of his assurance that he would get in the car peacefully as long
as they didn't try and cuff him, the officers called for backup
and soon, Tiny was knocking down cops left and right. Finally, a
sergeant who knew him arrived on the scene and told the other
officers to back off. He politely asked Tiny to get in his patrol
car and took him, without further incident, to the station for
of the officers on the scene suggested that Tiny be charged with
assault, but the sergeant wouldn't hear of it.
died from a single bullet wound. A police officer that didn't know
him shot him after Tiny pushed him to the ground. Tiny didn't mean
any harm; he just didn't want to be handcuffed.
* * * * * * * * *
and I met recently with a man who told an anecdote about his
student days in one of the local high schools. There was
apparently a police officer who routinely took some of the boys
from the school to a nearby water tower and beat the crap out of
them. I assume these beatings were not entirely unmotivated;
surely the boys had done something to attract the ire of the cop.
I am also quite sure that he was stepping beyond the strict
parameters of proper behavior for a police officer.
day, the student and one of his buddies were chosen for the honor
of having the crap beat out of them. With some delight, he told us
that they, instead, beat the crap out of the cop. Street protocol
being what it is, both kids had to disappear from the scene for a
while for fear of severe retaliation.
water tower has long since been torn down. The cop retired years
ago and is now a frail 80 year old. The former student is now a
times have changed in the San Antonio Police Department. Rouge
cops are not tolerated. Now, all a police officer has to do
to be fired is lie about his off-duty employment or provide false
testimony. In today's world, beating the crap out of high school
boys would make headlines in the paper.
one thing that hasn't changed is the inherent danger of police
work. Over the years, 43 SAPD officers have been killed in the
line of duty. John Rojas, pictured above, was mortally wounded a
couple of weeks ago. The murder weapon was his own gun. The
suspect was apprehended within days, although that was little
comfort to the wife and children and friends he left behind.
will occasionally be Tinys in the world, odd characters that can't
seem to stay on the right side of the law but that still manage, in their own strange way,
to maintain their dignity.
There will sometimes be people who abuse their authority for
personal gain or just to scratch the unnatural itch. And somewhere
in the middle of all that, there will always be men and women
brave enough to risk their lives every day to serve their
communities. Here's to the memory of the ones that have died on
Next: THE CRUSH
Copyright © 2001 Cypress Films, Inc. All rights reserved.