Eighty-eight-year-old Phyllis Stankiewicz came to the door with a knife. Maybe she was in the kitchen cutting up rutabagas. Maybe she wasn’t expecting company, and at 88, wasn’t inclined to take chances. Who knows? But she was in her own home, minding her own business, and didn’t anticipate anyone knocking on the door.
Officers were dispatched to 57 Wilson St. about 3:50 p.m. for a report of a disturbance involving someone with a baseball bat. Police knocked several times and announced their presence at Stankiewicz’s home and said they were there for a report of a crime, according to court files.
It’s possible that her hearing wasn’t what it used to be. It’s possible that at 88, it takes her a while to make her way from the kitchen to the front door. But assuming the police “knocked several times and announced their presence,” it doesn’t tell us much about Stankiewicz. Except that she was still in her own home, minding her own business and didn’t anticipate anyone knocking on her door.
When Stankiewicz came to the door, police said, she was carrying a knife in one hand, which was pointing toward one officer, at “waist level.” Stankiewicz appeared, “angry and confused,” and she was yelling, “There’s no crime here! Get out of my house!,” according to a police report.
After all, Stankiewicz went out of her way to roam the streets in search of a police officer to threaten with a knife, muttering, “I’ll cut you.” Oh, wait, no. She was still in her own home, minding her own business and didn’t anticipate anyone knocking on her door. And, even if one is to credit the police officers’ “perception” of her demeanor, she was “yelling, ‘There’s no crime here! Get out of my house!,'” which makes perfect sense if there was no crime and she wanted them to get out of her house. Which raises the question of why they were in her house, but nobody seems to have asked that question.
One officer said Stankiewicz kept approaching them with the knife until she, “was just about sticking it into my stomach.”
Some might inquire as to why, if the officer felt threatened by an 88-year-old knife-wielding homeowner, he did not back away so that the knife was not “just about sticking it into [his] stomach.”
An officer grabbed the knife and Stankiewicz allegedly tried to push her way past police and continued to push them in the chest while they tried to calm her down.
Which could mean that Stankiewicz was using her mad strength to attack these cops, or was trying to get them out of her house, since she had already yelled at them to do so to no avail.
Police said Stankiewicz was warned not to put her hands on them before she slapped one of them on the left side of his face, resulting in her arrest.
As a general rule, never put your hands on a police officer or they will make you pay for your insolence. As another general rule, 88-year-old people have lived long enough that they’re disinclined to tolerate being told what to do by people who weren’t born until they passed the age where they could start collecting social security. No doubt Phyllis Stankiewicz’s slap stung. Old women can have very bony fingers, and with the right angle and amount of velocity, their open-handed strike can inflict great humiliation to a manly cop. Oh yes, it can.
Stankiewicz continued to resist while they tried to place her into custody, requiring her to be placed on the ground to do so.
Ordinarily, the words “placed on the ground” carry a benign inference. As if they slowly, gently, caringly, helped an elder person to a position of rest and comfort. If that isn’t what happened, it is usually described in more violent language, such as “the officers were forced to throw Stankiewicz to the ground, her face smashing against the pavement, knocking out her two remaining teeth and fracturing her hip and spine. Her shoulder was dislocated as they twisted her arms behind her back to be cuffed, while she resisted by now allowing her limited range of motion to facilitate their placing their knee and full weight in the small of her back, after which they were forced to tase her to prevent her from reaching for the officer’s gun.” It doesn’t say this.
After the arrest, a police dispatcher confirmed the initial call was for a disturbance at 57 Memorial Drive, one block north of Wilson Street.
Oops. H/T Mike Paar