George Huguely and a Police Officer (Who Happens to Be Female)

I don't have a missing person post for Missing Person Monday completed, but I'll be ready to go with a new one next week.

Instead I offer this...


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What do you see in the photograph above?

I see police officers--not male and female police officers, just officers.

I think this perspective sums up the following post well.

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One aspect of the media's coverage of the tragic murder of University of Virginia student Yeardley Love has really bothered me.

Last week, it was widely reported that the man charged with Ms. Love's death, fellow UVA student and lacrosse player George Huguely V, had previously been arrested for public drunkenness and resisting arrest after an encounter with police in Lexington, Virginia--a community about 70 miles away from where the Love homicide took place.

Every media account on the drunk and resisting arrest of Huguely seems to emphasize that the arresting officer, Rebecca Moss, was a female.

In general, Officer Moss' account of the incident is that she encountered an intoxicated Huguely outside a frat house and he became belligerent after she told him to call a friend to come get him. Moss then tried to take the 6'2, 210 lbs. subject into custody, but he began resisting.  She, being considerably smaller in stature, proceeded to use a Taser gun on Huguely, handcuffed him,  and several officers placed the student in the back of a patrol car for transport.

In the media's seemingly concerted effort to cast the big and athletic Huguely in as evil a light as possible, they repeatedly refer to Officer Moss as a small female-- which unfortunately characterizes the patrol officer as being less effective than...well... a male cop (something that is obviously far from the truth).

For instance:

1) This article is entitled: Murder Suspect George Huguely Threatened to Kill Female Cop.

When officers deal with intoxicated persons, they are regularly threatened with bodily injury as well as death.  It is part of the job.  Most of the defendants are what I would call "fighting drunks" in that they become combative when under the influence, and that anti-social behavior does not reflect their usual demeanor.  But, there are a small few who really mean the threats--intoxicated or not.  In any event, Officer Moss' encounter with Huguely is what I would expect to see with a drunk and disorderly arrest--not something out of the ordinary as the press is trying to portray it. 

2) Another article includes this: "In 2008...Huguely "had a run-in with a Lexington, Va. police officer, a female officer who felt so threatened she had to use a Taser to take him into custody..."

I have yet to see an officer describe his/her using a Taser when he/she did not feel threatened by the target.  After reading the officer's statements and various articles on the incident, I believe that Huguely would have resisted arrest and been belligerent whether the arresting officer was female or male. 

3) This video clip describes the female police officer Moss as "terrified."

I have not read one account where Officer Moss states that she was "terrified" by Huguely.  Is it really necessary to embellish the facts of the incident in an attempt to show that Huguely had a history of being disrespectful to women?

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Did the "poor" and "defenseless" Officer Moss scream for help and hide under her car when confronted with the big thug Huguely?

Did she run away or wait until a male officer arrived to take action?

Absolutely not.  Officer Moss bravely took Mr. NCAA Division I athlete to the ground with a tool of the trade.

I am sure after dropping Mr. Huguely off at the jail, Officer Moss completed her paperwork, and checked back into service; ready to handle the next large intoxicated oaf that citizens would need the police to handle.

The emphasis on trying to find examples of  Huguely's previous violence against females by offering this encounter with police just seems to denigrate Officer Moss and the fine work that male and female police officers do. 
 
Officer Moss did not handle the encounter as a "female cop" or a "patrolwoman" would, she handled it professionally like a "police officer" would.   

Officer Rebecca Moss did her job that day, and I am thankful to have the courageous men and women who battle so much adversity to protect our communities.

It is sad that the media has used this typical police encounter to create drama and unknowingly promote the stereotype of a helpless female public servant who was simply lucky. 

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The photo was used from here.

26 comments:

Lisa and Laura said...

Ugh, it's no wonder the glass ceiling still exists when this type of bias unintentionally seeps into all of our media. I have no doubt that the writers didn't intend to be stereotypical or misogynistic, but that almost makes it worse, you know?

Great post.

Momma Fargo said...

I agree with everything you said...except when I looked at the picture all I saw were bus drivers. Just kidding. I have never been fond of those hats. Ugh! Or the media and how it portrays coppers.

Neat post!

Clara said...

That´s sad. That´s just really sad. As you said, officers are offices, they all have to oblige the same rules. The media coverage is unbelievable.

gladwellmusau said...

Hi,

Thanks for sharing this. After going up with a mum who was a career policewoman, I totally agree with you here. My mum was good at her job...be it on the street or at the desk...and she was not given any preference treatment because she was female. She just went out and did her job like all of her male colleagues. It is sad...how sometime truth is twisted to look different than it really is.

Your post is quite informative.

God bless.

Gladwell

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

When you asked what I saw in that picture, the guy laughing is what stood out to me. That drives me crazy when the media, or general public, only have HALF the information or don't realize policy because they have no idea! Good job Officer Moss, keep up the great work.

Audrey Allure said...

I agree with you completely - officers are just officers & she was simply doing her job.

Expat From Hell said...

It appears that - aside from the great social and cultural mix of our public servants - that too much of the media takes their cues from Jerry Springer. If it isn't inflammatory in some way, it doesn't get printed. Glad your work is out there, SD. EFH

LisaF said...

It's a shame the media and our culture still perpetuates these stereotypes. When our oldest daughter was in college, she had problems with a sociaopathic (literally) roommate who called the campus police to their room. "Fearing for her life" was the phrase she used for not allowing our daughter entry into their room. Daughter was 100 pounds soaking wet and the roommate was twice her size and took martial arts. The cop called us to inform us what was going on. We commented on the situation with, "Have you looked at the size of our daughter?" He laughed and said, "Yes, I know it's crazy." Funny thing was, if it had come to a fight, my money would have on our daughter, no question.

Tara said...

The media skews everything to make it whatever they want. Too much of the public chooses to take it as gospel.

Great post.

suzicate said...

Unfortunately, that's the way the media works...sensationalism sells! My mother lives near C'ville and calls me daily reporting what she reads in The Daily Progress or sees reported on tv. And often those accounts are the onlny ones some people receive.

beth said...

Very, very good point. I appreciate this!

Herding Cats said...

I would be so offended if I was her. Shoot, I'm offended and I'm NOT here. Yet another example of how the media loves to throw their opinions into the spotlight...

J. J. in Phila said...

I think it is something in the human psyche.

People look at the size difference and say, "Big man, little woman," forgetting that the "little woman":

1. Has better training than the male.

2. Is probably, being sober, in better physical control of her body than the male.

3. Is better armed, including non-lethal weapons, than the male.

I doubt if Officer Moss was in any greater fear of her life than the officer in the recent Tasering incident at the Philies ball game.

A real eye opener. Great post.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Great Post! I agree that it's ridiculous to assume that just because the arresting officer was female and she used a taser, means that she was more in danger or threatened, or afraid than if she had been a male. She was simply doing her job.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Seems the drive-by media is ONLY concerned about ANY form of sensationalism...no matter how insignificant it might be.

Gee, didn't the National Enquirer and the Examiner USED to be that exact same way?

Seems the OFFICER did the right thing AND in the proper order.

(Oh, was she FEMALE?...sorry, didn't notice. I was busy reading about the GOOD POLICE WORK, gender aside)

Good post.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Honestly, this should have gone away in the age of Sojourner Truth and her "Ain't I a Woman" speech.

During the suffragetee movement, Men said delicate females don't even know how to get off a train in fifty pounds of skirts. Ms. Truth said the delicacy was a huge joke, and listed a ton of female work.

Women are strong. Kudos to you for pointing out the minimization of the officer's excellent work.

Ann T.

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Erin said...

Grr. This makes me angry.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Great post!

You write so very well it seems so effortless and yet I know, how much time, research, thought, and spell/grammar checks you put into every single post.

Thank you for sharing your talent with us (and your insight into being a cop).

Ad2b

makingnew said...

This is sad! I don't think I've ever read an article that specified an officer was male. Sounds like officer Moss is very competent at her job - who cares about her gender?

eemusings said...

Possibly the reporter was trying to play up what a great job Moss did in taking down someone bigger than her...but as you say, it just comes across as demeaning.

Des said...

This is a great blog. Very fascinating.

Mama said...

Rebecca Moss the female officer in this article is living with a married man. She has broken up a family and physically threatened the mans wife and has a RESTRAINING ORDER.oh and the boyfriend over $3000 behind in child support. Check your facts on this girl shes no hero.

Mama said...

Rebecca Moss is no saint. The police department is well aware of her conduct she likes married men lives with one had a baby with a married man who is $3000 behind in child support. She currently has a restraining order because she physically threatened his wife over the phone. Lexingtons finest. dont let the media protray her as some hero.do your research on her.

Rebecca Moss said...

this is the Officer Moss, and this is the first time I am seeing this article.....Thank you very much this really made my day......

ALSO TO MAMA- I AM AWARE OF WHO YOU ARE...thanks for your slander in an open public forum...now lets tell the truth....thats why you no longer have custody of your children, you are facing felony charges for child abuse and neglect, and you cant even have so much as supervised visits with your children....you are the one ove $4000 behind in support...so your life has turned out so poorly and the only way to make you feel better is to lie and slander the woman who has stepped up to protect you children, provide for them and give them the love and support that they has so desperately been seeking from a positive female role model.....your welcome

Rebecca Moss said...

I am the Officer Moss and this is the first time i have seen this article....thank you so much........

to MAMA - i am aware of who you are and your slanderous words.....u want to tell a story then lets tell the truth...restraining order yes////// BUT AGAINST YOU....FOR - STALKING THREATENING NEED I CONT......thats why i now am the provider and protector for your children. and you are over $4000 in the whole on support. did i mention your pending felony child abuse charge? or the fact that you cant have any contact of any kind with your children? you should be thanking me for being the woman who has stepped up and love and provide for your children, not slandering to make yourself feel better......