Houma, LA – The New York Police Department (NYPD) isn’t the only law enforcement agency dealing with officers being attacked with buckets of water while out trying to protect and serve (video below).
Cell phone footage captured a Houma police officer being doused and struck in the back with a five-gallon bucket of water while he was responding to a noise complaint on July 7, Houma Police Sergeant Travis Theriot told WVUE.
The officer arrived to find hundreds of people involved in a “splash party,” and wanted to ensure that the event was wrapping up, Sgt. Theriot explained.
But some of the participants started yelling that the officer “was there to break up the party,” and began “shouting profanities and throwing water at him,” the sergeant said.
The crowd screamed and cheered as the lone officer was repeatedly doused, video footage showed.
The officer ultimately put his hands in the air and began casually walking away from the melee, but that did little to end the attack.
“They threw what appears to be a five-gallon bucket of water, which is extremely heavy,” Sgt. Theriot told WVUE.
The bucket struck the officer in the back, the video showed.
Although the officer backed away, he didn’t leave the area, and instead called for additional officers to respond.
“More units arrived and they were able to disperse the crowd and the party ended at that point in time because it was obvious it was getting out of hand,” Sgt. Theriot said. "There were people there that were very, very apologetic but, as far as the people that did this, we hope to identify them and bring them to justice.”
The sergeant said that those responsible will be charged with felony battery on a peace officer and disturbing the peace once they are identified.
“It’s really a shame that things have resorted to this type of behavior,” he added. “It’s really disheartening to believe people could be that disrespectful to someone that’s just out there trying to do their job.”
Dousing the officer “was definitely an act of disrespect and aggression,” Sgt. Theriot noted, adding that the officer “showed tremendous restraint and patience.”
But witness Quincy Callaway argued that the officer laughed at one point during the encounter, and blamed him for escalating the situation by calling for additional units.
“When you were out here enjoying yourself in the first couple minutes, it was all good, until you call back up,” Callaway declared. “You call back up and it was a different ball game but it was nothing but kids so, how are you going to arrest a kid? I don’t get it.”
Sgt. Theriot said that even if the officer had been laughing prior to being hit with the bucket, the mob never should have treated him that way in the first place.
“We understand people try to have fun and games, but when you start committing batteries on law enforcement, we can’t tolerate it,” Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman told KLFY.
Chief Coleman said he was thankful that the officer wasn’t injured when the heavy bucket struck him in the back.
“It could have caused some serious injury to the officer,” he added. “I commend him highly for showing restraint. But that doesn’t make it right. Those types of antics can only carry on so far.”
A series of similar attacks on police have also taken place in New York City.
On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted the NYPD for failing to respond when they were doused by unruly crowds, and said that their lack of action made them appear “impotent,” WAMC reported.
“The video of the cops getting doused with water and walking away was one of the most disturbing and embarrassing actions I’ve seen,” Cuomo told WAMC during a roundtable discussion on Monday.
“I don’t blame those officers – they were relatively new. I look to the training and the policies of the police department that would have instructed them to act that way,” the governor added.
Cuomo cast doubt on the ability of NYPD officers to protect the citizens if they couldn’t protect themselves.
“If a police officer is being assaulted, the police officer has to do something,” he said. “Because, by the way, if the police officer isn’t willing to defend himself or herself, how are they going to defend me? The training is off. It’s off!”
The governor pointed the finger at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during his interview with WAMC.
“That is wholly unacceptable,” Cuomo ranted. “Forget the old days, law enforcement has to be respected. And when they show up they have to be respected. And the NYPD training – yes, sensitivity to the community needs, etc. – but I don’t know how we’re training police officers. How when you are basically assaulted – and that’s an assault – you retreat? You will make law enforcement impotent and that will hurt everybody.”
“You know the community needs law enforcement to be effective and to be respected, so it’s a two-way street,” the governor continued.
“The training has to be, you don’t turn around and get back in the car and drive away,” Cuomo said. “You literally make law enforcement ineffective and impotent and that hurts everyone.”
“You’re assaulted, you take the perpetrator into custody,” he said.
While the governor stopped short of saying de Blasio had done a bad job with the NYPD, he did make a comparison with the New York State Police.
“But I can tell you this, if that ever happened to the state police, I would bet ya my bottom dollar that you would not see state police officers assaulted and they turn around and get back in the car,” Cuomo told WAMC.
It's not clear how Cuomo would have felt if the water suspects resisted arrest and force needed to be used to take them into custody.
You can watch cell phone footage of the attack on the Houma police officer in the video below: