A cop left in hospital after being pistol-whipped in the head with his own weapon during a traffic stop in Alabama said he was afraid to use force in case of a backlash against him.
Speaking anonymously, the officer, who has been a cop for six years, said he hesitated to pull his weapon on the unarmed black suspect in case he was vilified in the wake of the Ferguson shooting.
The suspect, Janard Cunningham, 34, is now in jail accused of attacking the officer after becoming aggressive during a routine traffic stop in Roebuck, Birmingham, last week.
Speaking to CNN, the plainclothes detective said: ‘A lot of officers are being too cautious because of what’s going on in the media. I hesitated because I didn’t want to be in the media like I am right now.
‘We don’t want to be in the media. It’s hard times right now for us.’
Heath Boackle, a sergeant with the Birmingham Police Department and president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, agreed.
He told the New York Daily News: ‘Local law enforcement officers are walking on egg shells because they’re so hesitant of how to interact because of what’s taking place in the media.
‘They’re losing these confrontations. He who hesitates is lost.’
The detective had been investigating a series of burglaries last Friday when he spotted Cunningham driving erratically in a GMC Yukon down the freeway and pulled him over.
The cop called for backup, but before other officers could arrive Cunnigham had disobeyed an order to stay in the car and began getting aggressive.
The detective said he thought about reaching for his weapon, but carried on his backup call instead, at which point Cunningham is alleged to have sucker-punched him.
Cunningham then grabbed the officer’s weapon himself, before hitting him over the head with the butt of the weapon until he fell unconscious, police say.
Images of the officer’s unconscious body went viral over the weekend after people began mocking him online.
One Twitter user posted an image of the cop’s limp body along with the caption ‘pistol whipped his a** to sleep #FckDaPolice’.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk