If you’ve been reading Eagle Rising for a while, then you might remember the story of a mom from Mission, Kansas that we brought you back in July.
On the evening of March 16 at around 5pm, Catrina Engle was at the Post Office hoping to ship a couple of packages for her husband. With her, she had her two young children. The Post Office had just closed for the evening when Mrs. Engle noticed that her husband had mislabeled the packages. Noticing that Post Office workers were still milling about, she knocked on the door to get their attention – it didn’t work. So, Mrs. Engle called her husband, and as any parent knows, a situation like this can quickly become stressful when trying to manage two young children. In the course of their phone conversation the couple raised their voices. Finally Mrs. Engle left the Post Office without mailing the packages.
After she had gotten her children settled in the van, a local police officer pulled into the parking lot behind her and asked Mrs. Engle for her identification. Confused, the wife and mother of two asked why. The officer would not explain why she was accosting Mrs. Engle. After repeating the process a couple of times, Mrs. Engle got her identification out and was giving it to the female officer when she was taken to the ground roughly and handcuffed by the officer and a just arrived associate.
Soon a third officer (Officer Tige Dean) would arrive, though for whatever reason, his name is not listed on the police report. His part in the drama that unfolded that evening made me as a husband, very angry. I can't imagine how her husband felt after watching Officer Dean humiliate, belittle and terrify his wife. Keeping his name out of the report was likely for his own good to not implicate him personally in any wrongdoing by the officers.
The toddlers were left sitting in the van for over an hour after, watching their mother be tackled and handcuffed. Eventually Mrs. Engle would be searched more thoroughly (including a body cavity search), before being taken away and charged with disorderly conduct.
Her story went viral on the internet thanks largely to the video of the officer’s rough treatment that accompanied it. Well, she finally got her day in court – and it did not go well for the city of Mission. Following three days of trial in the District court, the District Attorney tried to add new charges of disorderly conduct, but the judge was having none of it, and in the end she faced down only the charge that she was throwing rocks in a postal box and yelling at postal workers. It took the jury less than an hour to return a decision of “not guilty.”
Our friend Tim Brown at Freedom Outpost has some other gems from the story.
"Officer Tige Dean admitted his error in threatening Engle to have CPS come get her kids. Officer Tim Gift admitted that he came down on Engle's back with his knee and that He weighed 200 pounds at the time, but is now up to 220lbs. Also, when Officer Gift was asked if he actually told Engle during booking that 'At least you're not being arrested for making lampshades out of human skin,' Gifts said 'I Might have said that.'"
"It was interesting that the Post Office manager testified that at no time did the prosecution or the Mission police request a video from the Post Office lobby," Engle told Freedom Outpost. "The postal worker further testified it was only Engle's attorney and myself who requested the lobby footage from the Post Office."
"Michelle Pierce was caught in so many inconsistencies and outright lies that she is going to have a very bad day in Federal court," said Engle. "Her story has changed over & over again."
According to Engle, he said that Pierce "denied having performed the cavity search and said she never put her hands down Catrina's pants," even though dashcam video plainly shows her doing so.
At one point, Officer Michelle Pierce stated she arrested Engle for "resisting arrest." She later changed her story to she was only detaining Engle.
It’s nice to see that justice stills wins out sometimes, and that the government isn’t always victorious when it wars against our civil rights. These officers and the city of Mission, Kansas itself need to do some soul searching about what the role of the police and government in the lives of citizens really is. From the beginning, this story always seemed like it should have ended in a warning, and the police carried the whole thing way too far.