Officer James Cousins II would rather you not see this. He requested that it be pulled from the Internet.
This is Officer James Cousins mocking the death of Rondale Jennings Sr., son of Yvette Jennings, of Erie, PA. The video has “upended race relations” in Erie, Pennsylvania’s fourth largest city.
For nearly eight minutes, Erie police Officer James Cousins II was captured on a cell phone camera mocking the death of Ms. Jennings’ son, Rondale Jennings Sr., 31, who was shot in the head outside a local bar on March 28. The officer also imitated Ms. Jennings’ response when she saw her son at the crime scene, and joked about using a Taser on a suspect in another incident.
At the time he was recorded, Officer Cousins, who is white, was off duty and drinking with friends at another bar.
“It was sickening. It was hurtful,” Ms. Jennings said last week. “He described the exact moment when I saw my son’s face.”
Officer Cousins was suspended for 10 days without pay after the video surfaced. He wrote an apology to Ms. Jennings, and he is now on desk duty until he receives psychological testing.
Again from the video:
In the video, Officer Cousins seems visibly intoxicated as he imitates Mr. Jennings’ shaking body. He also jokes about the bullet hole in the victim’s forehead, claiming the body was lying under a malt liquor sign that said “take it to the head.”
He told his friends, “One less drug dealer to deal with. Cool.”
He also called Mr. Jennings a “turd,” which some viewers interpreted to be a racial epithet.
Both the NAACP and the FOP are weighing in now.
The constant media coverage has angered rank-and-file Erie police officers, said Sgt. Kensill of the FOP.
“Police are under a microscope,” he said. Officer Cousins has admitted his mistake, and any further punishment would be unfair, he said. The officer could not be reached for comment.
Yet Ms. Jennings isn’t satisfied with the officer’s apology, calling it insincere.
“In every job, there are people that don’t belong in the field. I feel like Officer Cousins is in the wrong field,” she said. “He lacks the ethics and values to be an officer. I don’t trust him.”
This was not a “mistake,” and we are hard pressed to imagine that this is the only time Officer Cousins has made remarks like this. This is the only time Officer Cousins has been caught making remarks like this.
Officer Cousins defined his legacy, all by himself.