Hero Weymouth Cop May Have Feared Using Lethal Force [OPINION]
"No one is promised tomorrow."
Few of us think about this as much as the families of soldiers and first responders. None are exposed to the reality of the saying more than them, either.
Officer Michael Chesna, a 42-year-old police officer in Weymouth, Massachusetts, was contacted by the WPD dispatcher to investigate an erratic driver near the South Shore Hospital around 7:25 a.m. Sunday morning. By the time Chesna arrived to the area, the vehicle in question had been involved in a single-car crash and the driver was reported to have fled on foot. Chesna got out of his cruiser and discovered the driver, Emanuel Lopes, who was allegedly vandalizing a home on Burton Terrace just two blocks northeast of the hospital.
According to witnesses, Chesna drew his firearm and directed him to stop when Lopes attacked him with a large stone, striking him in the head. Chesna fell to the ground from the injury. Lopes is then said to have grabbed officer Chesna's department-issued firearm and fired five to seven shots into Chesna's head and torso. Officer Chesna was mortally wounded and died from his injuries.
As other officers arrived and engaged Lopes, gunfire was exchanged when Lopes was struck in the leg. He was still able to flee on foot, and before the police could apprehend and overtake him, he fired three shots into a nearby house on Torrey Street, killing an elderly woman, an innocent bystander in her home on an otherwise quiet Sunday morning in an otherwise safe community.
Lopes will be arraigned Monday in Norfolk District Court on two counts of homicide.
Not that anyone is suggesting that he did, but I want to put this idea to bed before it is even brought up: Officer Michael Chesna did not freeze up, folks. This was a hardened combat veteran who served in the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan with distinguished honor.
No, this was something else. This veteran who has served the nation his whole adult life, willing to sacrifice his own in order to do so, did not flinch or err here. He was an experienced soldier and officer of the law, armed and facing his killer with superior weaponry in hand.
God damn all of you who put unwarranted fear into police officers to the point where they are afraid to defend their own lives for fear of the politically correct "Brown Shirts" who condemn them for doing so.
Police believe that Officer Chesna drew his firearm. That he saw the large stone in Lopes's hand as he charged toward the officer. One wonders what Chesna was thinking in his last moments on Earth. "If I shoot him, they will say he only had a rock." Or maybe he was concerned of being pinned as a racist by those ready to accuse? Chesna is white and Lopes, a Latino. Please understand, I am friends and family with many police officers, and this is a pressure they all feel today.
It's as doubtful that Chesna knew for sure that he was about to die until the stone was closing in on his head, as it is likely that the anti-police concern was a factor here.
This is not to say we don't witness police doing terrible things. When literally millions of cameras are rolling 24-7 watching the stressful interactions between the many thousands of police officers and the subjects of their interactions, it is almost impossible not to see bad mistakes or actions taken, which reveal too late that the wrong person is behind a badge. No argument here.
But an officer of the law in one of our municipalities is now dead, and an innocent bystander as well, because lethal force was not used when it was damn well justifiable to be used. If you in the radical anti-police movement planted doubt in Officer Chesna's mind during that frantic, tense, high stakes few seconds, know that you were a factor in these murders.
The endless tears of a loving wife and two small daughters whose world came to a crashing halt Sunday cannot be put back. God bless Officer Michael Chesna, his family, the Town of Weymouth and the brotherhood of police officers. And also, thank you Officer Chesna for your distinguished military service in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.