Put yourself in the shoes of Ryan Miller and ask yourself what you would do.
Last Wednesday night, Ryan and Cathy Miller fell asleep watching television in their home in Louisiana, Missouri. Shortly before 1:00am Thursday morning, they were suddenly woken by the blaring sound of their smoke detector. Waking from their sleep, they discovered that their house was on fire. Reacting to the moment, they managed to find their way to a rear door and exit the house.
Ryan and Cathy ran to the front of the house and Ryan kicked in the front door so that he could rescue his 3 year old stepson Riley. By that time a local police officer had arrived on the scene in response to a 9-1-1 call. When Ryan attempted to enter the front door, the officer fired his Taser at Ryan to stop him. Ryan was determined to rescue little Riley, but the officer Tasered him again and then a third time. Ryan was then arrested and taken to jail.
By the time the fire department arrived, the fire was so extensive that none of the firefighters could manage to enter the burning home and little Riley perished in the flames. The fire department arrived 5 minutes after the 9-1-1 call and said that one of their firefighters in full gear tried to enter the house, but the flames and heat were too intense and prevented him from entering.
The question that needs to be asked is whether Ryan could have saved little Riley when he first tried to enter the house? Any firefighter will tell you that a house fire can escalate rapidly and that even 3-5 minutes could make the difference of whether a rescue can be made safely or not, but the fire department had not arrived when the police officer Tasered Ryan and then arrested him. No one can really say yes or no.
If the flames were coming out the front door, then I can understand the police officer trying to restrain Ryan from entering a hopeless situation, but we are not told that was the case. Was the officer justified in arresting Ryan from trying to save his stepson?
Lori Miller, Ryan’s mother commented on his arrest saying:
“He tried to get back in the house to get the baby. They took my son to jail because he tried to save his son.”
Emily Miller, Ryan’s sister-in-law added:
“It’s just heartless. How could they be so heartless? And while they all just stood around and waited for the fire department, what kind of police officer wouldn’t try and save a three year old burning in a house? We’ve been going through pictures and he’s just smiling in every picture. He was just a happy, go-lucky kid.”
Again, I ask you, what would you have done if this happened to you and your family? How would you feel if a police officer used his Taser on you and then arrest you, preventing you from trying to rescue your child? Do you believe the officer was justified in stopping and arresting Ryan?