David Sentendrey of Charlotte, North Carolina, news network WJZY visited with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department last week to experience what it was like to try to subdue suspects who are resisting arrest.
Sentendrey shared a video of the demonstration on Facebook.
At the time of this writing, his video has received nearly 2 million views.
What was it like?
Sentendrey and other members of the media participating in the experiment had an extremely difficult time neutralizing unwilling "detainees" — in this case, "detainees" were Charlotte-Mecklenburg police recruits.
What's more is that when Sentendrey was outfitted with a weight belt similar to that which officers have to carry while on duty, the task proved to be even more difficult.
What did Sentendrey say?
About the experience, Sentendrey on Facebook wrote, "There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself. Does this person have a weapon? What are their intentions? It's a case-by-case basis."
"I was asked to take down several police recruits without punching, kicking or hitting them in any way," he explained. "This is a controlled environment where we knew everything would be OK — the real thing would surely get your heart racing."
In the video, Sentendrey noted that the American public has seen "questionable policing videos when it comes to use of force."
"When is it OK for a police officer to use force, and how much is allowed?" he asked.
Sentendrey later discovered just how difficult it actually is to subdue a suspect who simply will not comply with police orders.
Why is this important? This writer's perspective.
Perhaps if more in the media understood and were exposed to real-life scenarios involving police officers and combative suspects, a decidedly negative connotation would not be applied to law enforcement in such a blanket way.
While, yes, police officers are not perfect and can make mistakes, it's very apparent that force is sometimes necessary in order to neutralize threats against both officers and law-abiding citizens.
The media can absolutely assist in helping to humanize and support police officers, simply by practicing more empathy and understanding for officers in extreme situations.