LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Thursday morning, Lawrenceburg Police, Lawrence County Sheriff’s officers, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol ended a seven-hour manhunt, arresting a man now charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Immediately following the arrest of 22-year-old Sabastian Arzadon, images from the scene started trending on social media as people began comparing the compassionate arrest in Lawrenceburg to the suffocating, and ultimately fatal, arrest of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Police Chief Terry Beecham said the reaction was surprising and uncalled for, “I don’t get up in the morning with the thoughts, well who can I go out here and violate today, that is not a police officer’s goal in life.”
Beecham has been a lawman for 46 years. He has worked in about every capacity the profession has to offer. He tells News 2, his officers, and those of the sheriff’s office did a great job. Once they secured the suspect and the alleged murder weapon, they tended to the 22-year-old’s medical needs, supplying water and bandages to his multiple wounds.
Many online drew comparisons to the way George Floyd was treated, saying the black man accused of passing a bogus $20 was not afforded the same rights.
The chief took exception to the comparison, saying what happened in Minnesota is terrible, but it doesn’t represent the majority of hard-working law enforcement officers in the U.S.
“I take strong offense to that because that is not the way 99 percent of law enforcement reacts to critical situations and that was as a critical situation.”
Beecham says his officers and the EMS crews that responded would supply water and medical care to anyone who was arrested similarly. “That man is in your custody. You have a moral and legal obligation to protect him just like you would anyone else.”
Some on social media thanked the Lawrenceburg police for being kind to the suspect. One woman wrote: Thank you for showing us how police officers are supposed to treat civilians.
Other citizens expressed a different point of view. One man wrote: I’m still wondering why he doesn’t have a knee in his throat for resisting.
Chief Beecham says he detests what he witnessed in Minnesota, “When you lose your compassion for people it is time to go home you have no business in this profession.”
The Lawrenceburg Police chief tells News 2, regardless of race, creed, or color, his agency will treat all suspects with the same dignity.