Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

DORCHESTER HERO COP SAVES LIFE WHILE RISKING HIS OWN

As you know, if you are a daily reader, the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog often finds fault with the criminal justice system. Frequent targets of my wrath are law enforcement officers and district attorneys.

Well, I guess that makes sense. I am, after all, a criminal defense attorney.

However, the fact remains that, in general, I have a great deal of respect for cops. I just think that it is important to remember that, while given certain privileges and honors, we sometimes fail to remember that they are, after all, human beings. Human beings, all of us, have faults and weaknesses. What frustrates me is that the rest of the public, as well as judges and prosecutors, overly follow what is represented by police officers…sometimes blindly.

But that is an argument for another day.

Today, I bring to your attention a positive story about a cop. He is being deemed a hero, and I could not agree more.

Boston Police Officer Robert Robichaud began today by responding to a 3:45am call of a distraught female who was threatening to jump from a roof of a Dorchester apartment. He ended up saving a life.

The officer who had been with the department for three years says. “A call came in for a person on the roof and I happened to be right around the corner from the call,” Robichaud explains. “Nothing was really going through my head, I just responded to the call.”

Apparently, when he arrived at the scene, the woman was sitting on the roof yelling at the folks below.

“I saw who I believe is her daughter and somebody else she was talking to on the ground,” he said. “Several others were looking on from their porches and windows.”

Additional officers arrived went into the home to try to speak with the woman from an upstairs window. Robichaud stood on the front steps and attempted to engage her from the ground.

“I went up to talk to her, to see why she was on the roof and figure out what was going on with her,” Robichaud said. “She was basically having a family fight with her daughter about a boy.”

Robichaud explains how he tried to get the woman to focus on talking to him. He says, ” You try to calm her down and talk to her rationally…The ultimate goal is to get her to go back into the house where you can deal with her from a different aspect.”

As the other officers talked to the woman through the window, Robichaud noticed that she was moving closer to the edge and positioned himself on the front steps. “I stood on the steps so I could talk to her and in case anything happened,” he says.

Sure enough, the woman leaned forward too far and fell headfirst off of the building. Robichaud reacted by placing himself under the woman so that he would break her fall. It worked.

“To be honest, it happened so fast, there was no thought, I just got underneath her and tried to catch her,” he says. “She landed on me, knocked me off the stairs and into an officer on the sidewalk. At that point, fire and EMS were already there, so I got out of the way so they could do their job.”

Both Robichaud and the female were taken to Boston Medical Center and treated for minor injuries.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Everyday Heroes

It goes without saying that Officer Robichaud could have been badly hurt as a result of acting like a human safety net for the woman. Yet, he did it almost instinctively.

This “instinct” is largely taught by police training and experience. There is great nobility to it. Yet, in truth, Officer Robichaud is not the only one. We hear many such stories about police officers, firemen and other members of the system who, often without much thought, react to life-threatening situations from which most of us would back away. Fast.

And so, it is almost understandable that, in a system and populace that often treats them with a great deal of mistrust, that such officers feel somewhat isolated in what they do. An “Us vs. Them” understanding begins to grow, as do strong bonds of loyalty to each other.

This is understandable, if not inevitable, given present realities. And such present realities are as much the fault of non-law enforcement as of law enforcement.

After all, the worst cop in the world and the best cop in the world share at least one thing in common. They are both human beings.

If the rest of us understood that police officers are human beings trying to do a hard job and live long enough to go home at the end of their shift, I think there would be far fewer problems with the men and women in blue and probably less violent streets. If that that understanding worked its way into the courtroom, perhaps justice would be done more often. Maybe the media-related fears of prosecutorial politicians would carry just a little less weight.

Maybe.

But today, let’s simply recognize the heroism we hear about on the part of people like Police Officer Robichaud. Let’s be grateful for them and to them.

They are another reality of the criminal justice system.

A happy one.

To view the original story upon which today’s blog has been based, please go to http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2012/02/boston-officer-credited-with-breaking-fall-woman-who-fell-headfirst-from-dorchester-rooftop/zzWGmUiRRqxtfDldUUQrdL/index.html

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