Eric Frein has finally been caught after a seven-week manhunt in the Pocono Mountains. Frein is charged with killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass in an ambush outside the Pennsylvania state police barracks on September 12th. He was found hiding near an abandoned airport and surrendered peacefully but received bruising and a deep cut on his nose. State police Commissioner Frank Noonan initially said his injuries were sustained prior to the arrest but the department has since changed their story.
Frein complied when ordered to lie chest down on ground but was looking up. Police procedure dictates that suspects be face down so that they cannot anticipate the actions of the officer explains arresting officer, U.S. Marshal Scott Malkowski. Consequently, his face was forced into the asphalt runway.
“Sometimes things like that happen,” Malkowski told CNN.
Police took the unusual step of holing the suspect until they could bring the slain officer’s handcuffs from 30 miles away.
“To confirm, the subject will be held,” said an unidentified member of law enforcement over police radio. “Blooming Grove car 2 is in route with Cpl. Dickson’s handcuffs. He’ll be there in approximately 20 minutes so we’ll stand by until that takes place.”
“We just thought it was fitting,” Commissioner Noonan said.
Poetic justice may make for a good photo op but it’s not in keeping with the fundamental concept of innocent until proven guilty. Most journalist didn’t dare to question these tactics, presumably for fear of being perceived as defending a cop killer. Others gleefully supported them. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith actually encouraged summary execution.
“Were you surprised that he wasn’t armed and he didn’t resist?” Smith asked several officers involved in the capture. “Don’t you kind of wish he had?”
Deputy U.S. Marshal Scott Kimball wisely answered, “No comment.”