ST. LOUIS, MO — FOX 2's Elliott Davis had a chance encounter with a wounded officer Friday night at the Barnes Hospital Emergency Room. He was our roving reporter overnight as protesters took to the streets following the ruling in the murder trial of a former St. Louis police officer.
Davis posted this reflection of the meeting to his Facebook page:
"I was at Barnes emergency last night. All the wounded officers injured in confrontations during the protests had arrived and were being treated. At least one was being allowed to go home.
The officer's dad, who was also a police officer, had come to pick him up. Like father like son. (I won't give either of their names).
The wounded officer stopped over to where I was and talked. He still didn't feel so good and was even in a hospital gown. His big concern was how long the turmoil was going to last. Amazingly he had no animosity for the protestors who had caused his trip to the emergency room.
This is a police family. His dad who was in uniform when he came to the hospital to pick up his son. He is fairly close to retirement. As we talked he gave his son the perspective of time. A similar events have happened over the years and eventually faded from public view.
Despite the current circumstances, the wounded officer seemed remarkably upbeat. He was planning to hit the streets again Saturday. As he put it, it is the career he chose and he had a job to do to protect and serve.
There were a lot of fellow officers at the hospital Friday night to provide encouragement. More than a half dozen in the emergency room parking lot. They had the look of a police department under siege. Why wouldn't they? They are simply trying to protect the peace and protect the wellbeing of some of those bent on causing them harm.
So they comforted each other, sort of like a band of brothers. Each, I'm sure, had to wonder what would come next. They were no doubt hoping that things would simmer down before more people are hurt. Most of all they knew they had to get right back out there today to deal with whatever happens.
Weighing on them is the extra challenge of trying to do everything perfect. There's no margin for error in these confrontations. It's already a tinderbox and none of the officers want to be that person who sets off an explosion. Officers like the one I saw getting out of the hospital must continue to walk on egg shells while doing a dangerous job.
Long after this is over their reward is returning back to the normal day in and day out violence in the street that's claiming new and younger lives all the time. That hasn't changed. Right now it's just pushed the back burner.
Families are still hurting. The search for killers continues. Neighborhoods that were unsafe before are still dangerous. But right now all that's pushed aside as the City comes to grips with the current crisis.
The only positive embattled officers like the one just going out of the hospital have to hold onto is: THIS TOO SHALL PASS!!!!!"