Much of the reaction to this clip on political Twitter this afternoon is people asking why the cops felt they had to tackle him. It does appear gratuitous, as you’ll see. My guess is that it was a combination of two things. One was his wife telling police that he had four or five guns in the house and had already dramatically cocked one in front of her, which frightened her. (Eventually they found 10 guns.) She also claimed to have heard a loud bang, which may have been him firing a shot or may have been a car backfiring nearby. Either way, the police might have feared he was ready to go out in a blaze of glory. The other key fact is that Parscale is a very big man, at 6’8. Even if he wasn’t armed with, say, a gun down the back of his shorts, a guy that size who’s drinking and emotionally fraught might make a move on an officer and overpower one of them quickly.
But that still doesn’t really explain the tackle. Why not approach him and ask to pat him down before talking to him? It seemed like he was trying to speak to them calmly. And if he had a gun concealed, tackling him might not have stopped him from pulling it and starting to fire once he hit the ground.
Long story short: This may be the first and last time Donald Trump watches footage of police roughing someone up and concludes that excessive force was used.
The general reaction to Parscale’s arrest has evolved over the past 18 hours. Initially it was sympathetic, as his wife claimed that he’d been threatening suicide. Everyone can relate to feeling despondent; even some lefties warned their followers on social media not to make light of Parscale’s despair, as there but for the grace of God go all of us.
But more information came out today that complicates that reaction. He may have been threatening to hurt himself, but if you believe his wife he’s already hurt her.
Officers also wrote in their reports that Parscale’s wife told them he had post-traumatic stress disorder and had become violent in recent weeks. Candice Parscale, 41, showed them bruises on her arms from an argument two days prior, they said. Police say they took photos of injuries.
“While speaking with Candace Parscale I noticed several large sized contusions on both of her arms, her cheek and forehead,” wrote Detective Steven Smith, slightly misspelling Candice Parscale’s first name. “When I asked how she received the bruising, Candace Parscale stated Brad Parscale hits her.”
Parscale’s wife told them her husband had not hit her Sunday, but had smacked her phone out of her hand when she tried to call his father, according to the police reports.
No one should lose their career because they’ve struggled with depression. But if they’re abusing their spouse? We’ll see how that stand of this story develops in the coming days and weeks.
One other thing to bear in mind before you watch is that this clip is obviously a truncated version of the full scene that played out outside the home. Parscale seems pretty chill when he finally emerges, seemingly not suicidal. But he reportedly didn’t sound that way while he was still inside, when the cops were chatting with him by phone:
“[Parscale’s] speech was slurred as though he was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and he seemed to be crying,” Skaggs wrote in his report. “Due to his refusal [to] exit the residence on his own free will and his emotional state, crisis negotiators were requested.”
Candice Parscale told police that her husband has been stressed out for the past two weeks and has made suicidal comments throughout the week about shooting himself, but that he had not made any suicidal comments that day. She said that her husband drinks and “suffers from PTSD.”
They had good reason to believe they were dealing with a desperate man with death on his mind when they encountered him. Whether that justifies the tackle is another question. Exit quotation from Tim Miller: “Just as a general matter, I think two signs of an unhealthy culture are 1) people feeling like its normal to have 10 guns in a suburban home and 2) cops thinking it is acceptable to just spear dudes for no discernible reason.”