How One Former Police Officer Took Matters into His Own Hands to Save a Young Girl

Aired on 12/11/1991 | CC
In 1991, Oprah sought to open a dialogue between law enforcement officials and citizens at a time of heightened tension in the United States, hoping to shed light on the nature of what many saw as a troubled relationship. Audience members and officers discussed instances of the police using excessive force and deadly force, police bashing, and cases of police misconduct.

One former police officer described how he had stepped in after a fellow officer had failed to act promptly when a family faced immediate danger from a home invader. He explained how a woman had been able to escape the intruder but had abandoned her two children, who had been left inside the house with the man.

"The first officer on the scene didn't do anything about it other than got ahold of the radio dispatcher to call for a key from the landlord to come down, which the landlord never did," he said. "I had arrived along with a couple of Chicago police officers. We went into the back door of the home, which was unlocked. Found the man raping a 12-year-old girl."

The former officer told Oprah that he was perplexed by the first officer's inaction, and he felt that he had to intervene, overriding his fellow officer's judgment, to do what he felt was right.

Original airdate: December 11, 1991