A bizarre scene unfolded Saturday at Memphis International Airport, as Ronald Harris — an off-duty police officer — chased down and attacked a volunteer from the Make-a-Wish Foundation. News 3 Memphis reports the volunteer was delivering a $1500 pre-paid Visa card and other donated gifts to a family who had been awarded a trip for their child, who is fighting cancer. The Make-a-Wish Foundation is a non-profit that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Police finally caught up with, subdued, and arrested Harris. Naturally, the Memphis, Tenn. Police Department has suspended Harris from his duties.
Harris made two attempts to steal the gift bag from the volunteer, but the child’s valiant dad blocked him. Dad later required stitches in his forehead, but refused further medical attention so he could join his family on the plane. Nobody knows how the soon-to-be former police officer knew about the delivery, or how he thought he’d get away with making a scene in a place so obviously crawling with surveillance cameras and security personnel. Then again, he wouldn’t be the first to write off the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as totally lame.
But what was this loose cannon still doing on the city’s police force? With only a little sleuthing, News 3 Memphis found a couple giant, blazing red flags in Harris’ background:
New reports show he was already on leave seeing a psychologist, and may suffer from a mental disorder.
His wife says he’s threatened to kill her, and police say they found stolen mail in his car that belonged to his neighbor.
And, as if being on leave due to a mental disorder, threatening to kill his wife, and stealing a neighbor’s mail wasn’t bad enough, Jezebel reports more bad news:
Harris’ personnel file contained several violations including damage to a squad car, radio violations, sick leave policy abuse, sleeping on the job, failure to get approval for additional employment, and failure to appear in court. Most resulted in a written reprimand or a short suspension. Despite a lengthy list of violations, Harris had no history of violence or behavior like Saturday’s; behavior that almost ended a wish trip before it began.
Luckily, the Make-a-Wish Foundation family otherwise made it safely to their destination.
Watch the news report and footage from the chase.
More on criminal cops.
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