Because we have a “stupid cops” tag and see a lot of abuse by law enforcement, it’s worth remembering that it’s not always that way:
[Iraq Vet Brock Savelkoul’s Father]: And he had his own 9mm Ruger. He had my brand new 9mm Ruger. He had my brand new .357 Ruger with laser sights on it. He had my Marlin 30-30 with a scope on it. He had my Ruger .22 rifle. And he had a DPMS, AR15. So yeah, he had six loaded guns – three long guns and three handguns. And that’s when I thought: Oh man, I’ve got to call the cops.
Unidentified Man #1: I am in pursuit of a black Toyota Tacoma, and we are approaching speeds of 105 miles an hour southbound on Highway 85.
BLOCK: When we come back, we’ll take you to the farm field where the police and highway patrol caught up with Brock Savelkoul, and we’ll hear what happened next.
What happened next is that this group of cops didn’t shoot Savelkoul, in part due to the work of Highway Patrol Officer Megan Christopher:
Ms. CHRISTOPHER: Put the gun down, Brock.I think he yells: How do you know my name? I started to use his name to try to kind of humanize it. My name is Megan. Nobody needs to get hurt here, Brock. It’s not worth it. Go ahead and lay that down.
ZWERDLING: Savelkoul doesn’t lay the gun down. In fact, this standoff will last for two more hours, two freezing hours. It’s sleeting. Christopher tries everything she can think of to bond with him.
Ms. CHRISTOPHER: It’s not nice to make a girl beg. Could you please drop the gun, Brock? Could you please drop the gun?
ZWERDLING: It’s not nice to make a girl beg?
Ms. CHRISTOPHER: Yeah, that’s what I said. Try to be funny, you know, just trying to get it out of this just broken record of drop the gun, drop the gun, drop the gun, drop the gun.
Christopher tried a number of ways to get him to drop the gun, including singing to him, over a two and a half hour standoff. None of the cops shot, even though Savelkoul fired one of his weapons at his car. Finally, he gave up:
Ms. CHRISTOPHER: And I put my hand on his cheek and just tell him, I’m Megan.
(Soundbite of crying)
ZWERDLING: What makes you cry now?
Ms. CHRISTOPHER: That I got to meet him. I actually wanted to go out and meet him and say thanks, you know, life is hard. This – it’s definitely not the way to end it. There’s a lot more out there.
This is the kind of journalism that won’t exist if NPR is defunded. There’s an excellent multimedia slideshow on the site, with maps and excerpts of police video footage, in addition to the story that aired yesterday. And, if you want to know what a real-life Margie sounds like, Megan has a classic North Dakota accent.