Several years ago, when I was training a co-worker, we got caught up in an interesting situation. We knew through some connections that the sheriff’s office was planning on arresting, or at least detaining, the brother of the deceased person we were escorting.
The sheriff’s office asked us to take a particular route, so they could run a traffic stop on the limo where the brother was riding. We declined to take that route due to safety considerations (they wanted to do a felony traffic stop in the middle of a 4-lane freeway), but gave them a safer, lower-traffic route.
The SO also made contact with the funeral home, had plain-clothes deputies in the service at the funeral home, and driving in the procession. It was all done very carefully, and as respectfully as possible. In the end, deputies waited until after the graveside service was completed, and surrounded their target with several deputies, and he was taken into custody very quietly.
Contrast that with what happened Nov. 15th, 2008 in Wilmington, North Carolina. New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputies had a warrant to serve, on the son of the deceased. The plain-clothes deputies decided to execute that arrest warrant at the end of the funeral, as the son was loading his father’s casket into the hearse.
In the ensuing pandemonium, the son, Gladwyn Taft Russ III, was Tased, and his sister alleges that deputies pointed their weapons at nearby family members and threatened to shoot them.
Russ had previously agreed to surrender on a variety of charges, but had failed to do so on at least 2 occasions, so deputies felt the funeral was the best time to take him into custody.
Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ed McMahon apologized for his agency’s part in the way things turned out, saying, “It was never my intention to create any more problems for the family, and I am truly sorry and apologize for that. I feel like we should have waited till after the cemetery.”