When Hodgenville Police Chief James Richardson approached the vehicle after a car chase that led them through two Kentucky counties, he had his gun drawn and his finger on the trigger. Chief Richardson was not alone when the car he had been chasing pulled into a parking lot with the intention of finally giving up the chase. A group of armed officers surrounded the car as Chief Richardson approached the door – but when the woman inside opened it, the Police Chief gave her a big, warm hug.
As it turned out, the woman in the car was 41-year-old Latrece Curry. She greeted the police chief with “sheer terror” because she found herself in the crosshairs of all of the armed cops at the scene. However, Chief Richardson quickly learned that Curry had been fleeing an incident of domestic violence when police started following her. After her husband became violent with her, Curry fled the scene in her car, which was picked up by a deputy from the Hodgenville Police Department.
Curry had become afraid for her life after the incident with her husband and fled the home before police could arrive at the scene. While on the road, she drove very fast and attracted the attention of police in the community. As a Black woman, she knew that her life was in danger when she was surrounded by armed officers in the parking lot. One wrong move, and she could become the latest police brutality statistic.
Fortunately, Chief Richardson trained his officers well.
“I got to the driver’s side door and told her to unlock the door. She had her hands up. She was shaking like a leaf. I mean the poor girl, when I opened the door, it was like a look of sheer terror. She was scared to death,” Richardson told The New York Post.
The car chase began in the middle of a Kentucky ice storm. Eventually, the officers were able to stop Curry with a rolling roadblock. This maneuver forced her into a parking lot, where she gave up the chase. Officers approached her vehicle with their guns drawn and ready to fire. They ordered her to exit the vehicle.
That’s when Chief Richardson steps out from the pack of cops and approaches the vehicle. Body camera footage captures the moment when his attitude suddenly shifts, and he opens the door to find Curry trembling in terror.
“The look on her face was of sheer terror,” Richardson wrote in a Facebook post from the department regarding the incident. “She was shaking, and it was obvious she was scared. I talked to her to calm her down, and then she hugged me. That has never happened to me after a pursuit.”
Richardson has served with the police force for twenty-three years. Despite his experience, he never came across an incident like this. He urges other cops to use compassion and empathy while on the job – instead of resorting to violence.
“Compassion is a good thing to have, especially in policing. With everything going on in the world today, everybody makes mistakes,” he said. “(This was a) great example of keeping your emotions in check at the end of a pursuit.”
What do you think about this Kentucky cop’s compassionate response?
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