The Minnesota State Airport Police released Jarrett’s incident report, as well as video of Jarrett brawling with police officers at the airport, to Gawker after they filed a FOIA request.
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After they brought him to a holding cell to be evaluated by health officials, officer Mark Dorsey reported that Jarrett grew belligerent, telling him “This is all your fault,” and calling him a “fucking stupid ass.” He then apparently grabbed at Dorsey and the firefighter multiple times, and was immediately thrown into a hold by Dorsey, who then yells at him for resisting.
Go ahead and watch the video and tell me whether you see Jarrett “brawling” with cops:
Here’s what happens in the video. Jarrett is cooperating with the firefighters until the cop shows up in the doorway. (It looks at first like Jarrett is becoming upset with the firefighters, but if you listen to the voices, you can tell he’s talking to the cop.) Jarrett calls the cop a “fucking stupid ass” and the cop then marches in, clearly pissed off. Jarrett stands up as the cop threatens to put cuffs on him.
At this point, maybe — maybe! — Jarrett touches the cop with his right hand. You can’t see it because the cop’s body blocks the view of what Jarrett is doing with his hand. (There’s a clue to what’s going on at this point in the video. Let’s see who among you observes it.) I assume Jarrett did at least touch the cop, because when the cop declares that Jarrett had put his hand on him, Jarrett replies: “Yeah.” As to whether Jarrett is “grabbing” the cop . . . the clue I mentioned suggests the cop is not being honest about that.
After Jarrett does whatever he does, the cop appears (to me) to totally overreact: first twisting Jarrett’s arm behind him, and then slamming him down onto the bench. Then the cop yells “Quit resisting!” while Jarrett . . . appears not to be resisting, at all. It’s like the cop is trying to be a real-life version of a cop-haters’ caricature of a cop. Then the cop puts handcuffs on Jarrett — who admittedly appears to either not understand the cop’s order to give him his right hand, or plays dumb about it — and the cop tells Jarrett he is going to jail.
For what? For touching the cop?
This is “brawling,” Mediaite???!
Of course, Mediaite probably fell prey to the power of suggestion of Gawker, which broke the story under the misleading headline Drunk Fox News Anchor Brawls With Airport Cops In Jailhouse Video. Give Gawker credit for this, though: they do present the cop’s account, which is . . . not the truth. Here is a passage from the cop’s report:
While [medical personnel] began to evaluate Jarrett, he looked at me in the doorway and stated, “This is all of your fault.” I asked what was, and Jarrett responded, “This is your fault.” I told Jarrett that this was his fault he was where he was. Jarrett then became visibly agitated (angry, upset), his body became rigid and he leaned forward like he was going to jump up on his feet or launch himself off of the bench, and yelled “Fuck You” and stated “Fuck You” again. Jarrett stayed at an agitated level and in the posture like he was going to jump up at any moment.
Gawker then states:
The officer goes on to allege that Jarrett “grabbed my left arm and I broke his grip” before he slammed the anchor into the wall and threw him onto the floor.
That account is false, and substantially inconsistent with the video. Jarrett is in a relaxed position and leaning back — until the cop marches towards him, obviously upset that Jarrett called him a name. The claim that Jarrett repeatedly said “fuck you” is false.
As for the detail that Jarrett “grabbed” the cop to the point where Jarrett had to break Jarrett’s grip? Remember I said there was a clue in the video? Watch it again, and tell me why the cop seems not to be telling the entire truth about that.
Go ahead. I’ll wait right here.
Did you see it?
Jarrett was holding his glasses in his right hand throughout the whole confrontation with the overbearing cop.
How is Jarrett, holding glasses in his hand, going to grab the cop’s arm so firmly that the cop has to break free? How is Jarrett going to muster a grip tight enough to justify charges of resisting arrest? A grip tight enough to justify the cop’s actions in twisting Jarrett’s arm behind him? A grip tight enough to justify the cop roughly slamming Jarrett down onto a bench?
The answer is: that did not happen.
I think the cop should be disciplined (at a minimum) for overreacting, and for writing a false police report. I think the Mediaite writer, Tina Nguyen, and the unknown Gawker headline writer should both be disciplined for claiming Jarrett was “brawling” with the cop, which is clearly false. And Jarrett, if he isn’t already, might want to seek help for whatever substance abuse problems he might have.
As Ken White of Popehat sometimes says, this is one of those stories where I hate everyone.
But if I’m going to feel sorry for anyone, it’s not the overbearing cop who used too much force and wrote an inaccurate report because he wanted to justify sending someone to jail for contempt of cop. I’m going to feel sorry — just a little — for Gregg Jarrett, for undergoing a B.S. arrest for resisting, and for being lied about all over the Internet.