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Archive for Monday, February 27, 2012

Lawrence police officer receives department’s first Purple Heart for his injuries

February 27, 2012, 11:15 a.m. Updated February 27, 2012, 12:14 p.m.

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Lawrence police Chief Tarik Khatib, right, presents Officer Jonathan Evinger with the department’s first Purple Heart award Monday at the police department’s Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway.

Lawrence police Chief Tarik Khatib, right, presents Officer Jonathan Evinger with the department’s first Purple Heart award Monday at the police department’s Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway.

Officer Stephen Ramsdell, pictured, and Officer Jonathan Evinger were presented department commendation awards Monday at the Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway. Both were injured in an incident with a suspect in February 2011.

Officer Stephen Ramsdell, pictured, and Officer Jonathan Evinger were presented department commendation awards Monday at the Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway. Both were injured in an incident with a suspect in February 2011.

On Feb. 26, 2011, Lawrence police Officer Jonathan Evinger stopped a vehicle with an illegal license plate near 26th and Iowa streets. It was very early in the morning, an icy Saturday in Lawrence.

People get pulled over all the time. But Police Chief Tarik Khatib said Monday that each of these stops carried “certain inherent risks.”

This stop definitely turned risky.

The driver, Louis Galloway Jr., 21, and his passenger became violent when Evinger and Officer Stephen Ramsdell, who had arrived to assist, tried to arrest Galloway for driving on a suspended license.

According to testimony during Galloway’s trial last year, Galloway struck Evinger in the head, causing him to fall to the ground. Galloway’s juvenile passenger punched and kicked Ramsdell during the incident.

“Although Officer Evinger was severely injured, he continued to stave off the attack by the two by deploying his pepper spray on the passenger,” Khatib said during a ceremony Monday, which was one year and one day after the incident. “Soon, against seemingly overwhelming odds, both officers were able to place the suspects under arrest.”

Galloway is now serving a five-year prison sentence for a conviction on aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

Evinger’s injuries changed his law enforcement career. He suffered a concussion and damage to his eye, which kept him from patrol. Ramsdell suffers cuts, bruising and swelling to his face. He later returned to regular duty.

Khatib said Evinger will go into medical retirement.

“I want to personally thank you for four years of outstanding service,” Khatib said. “And it really saddens me that you can’t stay on any longer.”

During an emotional ceremony at the police department’s Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway, Khatib presented Evinger with the department’s first Purple Heart award to honor officers injured in the line of duty. Evinger and Ramsdell stood with family members and accepted department commendation awards from Khatib.

“I’m going to miss all you guys. I will take a little bit of a piece of everything you’ve taught me since I’ve been here,” Evinger said.

He stressed friendship to both younger and more-experienced officers.

“Take care of each other because you never know when something is going to happen,” he said.

The Lawrence Police Officers’ Association also presented Evinger with an award for his service.

“These guys are representatives of the jobs you all do every day,” Khatib said at the end of the ceremony, “putting yourselves out there in the interest of public safety.”

Comments

racerx 3 years ago

"Galloway’s juvenile passenger was punched and kicked Ramsdell during the incident."

So was Galloway's juvenile passenger punched and kicked by Ramsdell during the incident, or did Galloway's juvenile passenger punch and kick Ramsdell during the incident?

The sentence as written doesn't make sense.

racerx 3 years ago

Or, perhaps it should have been "Galloway's juvenile passenger was punched (by whom, we don't know), and kicked Ramsdell during the incident."

meggers 3 years ago

Didn't see your post- I think they just need to remove 'was'

George Diepenbrock 3 years ago

You're right. I took out "was." Thanks

meggers 3 years ago

There appears to be a typo in this sentence: 'Galloway’s juvenile passenger was punched and kicked Ramsdell during the incident.'

Best wishes to Officer Evinger.

lily 3 years ago

After you get bashed on the head it isn't 2 v 2 anymore. The poor guy suffered a permanent disability.

codester 3 years ago

The guy had 100 pounds on him, and smashed him with brass knuckles. Getting knocked out, and then coming back managing to get the badguy in cuffs was no easy task I'm sure.

codester 3 years ago

The guy had 100 pounds on him, and smashed him with brass knuckles. Getting knocked out, and then coming back managing to get the badguy in cuffs was no easy task I'm sure.

otto 3 years ago

I think the officers should have increased the odds in their own favor by shooting both of them and then ask questions, but they didn't and you are here bashing that.

Matthew Herbert 3 years ago

agreed. Well said. Ultimately though, I'm sure you made some grammatical mistake that completely invalidates your point in the eyes of most on this forum.

progressive_thinker 3 years ago

KR--Agree with you 100%. There is nothing funny about this brave public servant putting his life on the line [daily], being seriously injured, and having to give up a career he undoubtedly loved.

What a great sacrifice has been made, yet it becomes a point of joking.

I am disgusted....

Monty Amick 3 years ago

Thank you for your service. God bless you sir.

Jstanobservation 3 years ago

Isn't the Purple Heart a military award?

Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

Yes it is. As a disabled army veteran this irks me. Bunch of wannabes. You want a Purple Heart? Join the military. Defend the country from real enemies. Be a real hero. Seriously...got hurt during a traffic stop? Have a "Purple Heart". (wink, wink). Jag offs.

codester 3 years ago

Officer Evinger did serve in the military in the first Iraq war. In Iraq you are allowed to kill the enemy. Here you have to coddle them and only use force one above the individual that is attacking you. The man that attacked Evinger had 100 pounds on him, was built like a pro Linebacker and smashed him with brass knuckles. Knocked him out cold. When he awoke he could see out of one eye, covered in blood and managed to pepper spray the bad guy and eventually get him cuffed. Evinger now has no periffeal vision and cannot see out of the eye at night. The badguy got 5 years, and Evinger's career is over. And you call him a "wannabe" and "jag off".

Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

No, I didn't call Officer Evinger anything directly. I was speaking of the police force in general who ride the coat tails of the real heroes -- the military. I was speaking about the police force using the military's Purple Heart medal as their own. I suggested the police get their own "gold star" medal instead of copying the military. Thanks!

Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

So, you're calling We the People who the police are supposed to "protect and serve", the enemy? Nice! That's what I was afraid of. We're no longer citizens. Now we're the enemy. Awesome! That explains everything, douche...

Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

Evinger can go work the door at Walmart and do just as much good as handing out tickets to people for not using turn signals.

Kontum1972 3 years ago

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed force who, while serving with the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded. A wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer.

Criteria:

For wounds or death sustained in action against an enemy of the United States;

In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged;

While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party;

As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces;

As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force;

After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States by a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the department concerned, or jointly by Secretaries of the departments concerned if persons from more than one department are wounded in the attack; or

After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations, while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.

After 7 December 1941, by weapon fire while directly engaged in armed conflict, regardless of the fire causing the wound (friendly fire).

While held as a prisoner of war or while being taken captive.

might be a good idea if the cities legal dept do some home work on this one, before it is used or presented. The US military is pretty particular about this...they might want to call the Jag office at Ft Leavenworth....just to cover they buttocks...

Bob_Loblaw 3 years ago

No....wrong Purple Heart.... Google can be your friend....sometimes... http://www.aphf.org/legionm.html

Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

I digress. Hooray for our heroes! Purple Hearts all around, I say!

giveitback 3 years ago

When I was growing up, people would say if you didn't like the police, then call a Hippy. So I did. The Hippy got me High and the Police showed up and arrested us both. The moral of this story is.... Walk a mile in thier shoes! Everyday someone is out there looking for the chance to blame a cop for thier troubles. Glad someone is brave enough to stand up to these crazies. Excellant job Officer Evinger!!!!!!!

pace 3 years ago

I find the snide comments on many sides disrespectful. You guys aren't riding on your own dime here. My thanks to the officer and I wish him the best. Duty on the front line is something we ask and when one is injured we should show respect.

Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

What can I say, I'm a jaded soul. Too many lies and setups by the wannabe heroes. Write another ticket, Lou. Have a Purple Heart. Call it something else. How about the Gold Star Injured Service Award?

pace 3 years ago

You opinion means nothing to me, you weren't there and you seem stupid.

pace 3 years ago

You think the officers should of handled it different, I don't know exactly what happened. I don't think the police should just shoot anyone they stop, to me that is a stupid suggestion.

werekoala 3 years ago

I know I'm late to the party, but I just wanted to say: this is a perfect example of all the GOOD things LPD officers do right; day in and day out, without thanks or notice. He rolled up on a car stop, got sandbagged, and knocked out cold. Comes to, and there's a battle going on. So what does he use? Pepper spray. And apprehends the suspects.

Damn. That's why I'm not a cop. If you knock me out with brass knuckles, when I come to, I'd go straight for my gun. Not these guys. Like true professionals, they followed escalation of force policies, despite having a concussion and only one working eye.

Sadly, this man who wanted nothing more than to serve our community has to retire on half salary for the rest of his life, while his assailant walks in 5 years with a bunch of street cred for punching a cop. Not fair by a long damn shot, and they should have thrown the book at him. Hitting someone with brass knuckles, hard enough to give them a concussion and permanent eye damage, is hitting them hard enough to kill them.

Anyway, just reading through the comments, wanted to say: I know LPD has had a really tough couple of weeks. And the Usual Suspects are out in force to tear them down. But having lived in a lot of other communities, I will say that LPD is by far the most professional and dedicated law enforcement service I have seen; the cranky shut-ins who have infinite free time to post on this site are not a reflection of the citizens as a whole.

Officer Ramsdell, and especially Officer Evinger, thank you for your service.

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