By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Whether a pair of constables were in danger when a gun was drawn while they arrested a dead beat dad in the parking lot of Trinity Catholic Academy’s Upper Campus last Tuesday is a key matter in an investigation into possible repercussions for the pair’s actions.
Jim Carey, owner of Mass Constable Services in Middleboro, said he knows the Loomis’ and said they operate “by the book” and believes if one or the other pulled a weapon there was good reason, even if it took place on school grounds.
“If he was in danger, than he was justified,” Carey said.
Jerold Loomis and his son Adam, also a constable, arrested George Haikal, a former Brockton resident and restaurant owner who owes his wife more than $45,000 in unpaid child support payments, while students were being dropped off at the school last Tuesday at about 7:30 a.m.
The school was put into lock-down when one of them pulled a gun when Haikal's car lunged forward.
Following the arrest Haikal was taken to court and jailed in Plymouth County Correctional Facility, where he will serve at least 30 days of a 60 day sentence, unless he can pay more than $18,000 of the overdue support payments.
Carey said he believes what has been lost in the incident is a dead beat dad who owes more than $45,000 for the care and support of his children has been caught and incarcerated.
“When he was taken to court he was indicted and sent to jail,” Carey said. “The sad part is he is being made out to be the good guy when he is actually the bad guy,” he said.
Carey said under most circumstances—about 80 percent of the time—constables have the authority to make arrests, serve a subpoena or eviction notices throughout most of the state.
He said if a court issues a cappias warrant, which was done in this case, it allows a sheriff, deputy sheriff or constable to arrest the person where they find them anywhere in the state.
Carey said the main question is why was the gun drawn during last Tuesday’s incident, and if the car lunged forward, there was a danger of being run over and hurt or killed.
Les Victor, owner of Statewide Process Servers in Randolph, who was a longtime constable, said he did not believe the Loomis’ put anyone in danger by pulling the gun, and likened the situation to the DJ Henry incident in New York when a police officer shot the Easton native after Henry’s car pulled forward with a police officer on the hood.
“The cop pulled out a gun and shot that kid dead. That didn’t happen here, probably because it was a constable and not a police officer,” Victor said.
Victor said, if anything, the Trinity School matter was handled much better than the police in New York, or any other police officer.
“If that was a police officer someone might have been killed,” Victor said.
As for the incident taking place on school grounds, both Victor and Carey said police do it all the time and no one bats an eye and if there is some sort of problem with an officer pulling a gun, like the DJ Henry incident, the officer is placed on paid leave, there’s an internal investigation by the department and the officer is almost always exonerated.
“What happened with the DJ Henry investigation,” Victor asked. “It was found the officer was in danger—end of story,” he said.
Victor and Carey said from media accounts of the incident they don’t believe the Loomis’ should be punished or lose their license, although Victor held out the caveat that the “DA can indict a ham sandwich.”
Victor said the perception some people might have of constables as cowboys, or police want-to-be’s, or unable to pass psychological tests to become a police officer, are, in most cases, completely untrue.
“Police are the macho ones—they have the guns, the uniforms, the cars with the blue lights and sirens and they want to use. Constables are usually more wimpy. The last thing they want to do is pull a gun,” Victor said.
Victor said historically constables came before police and the slang word "cop" stands for constables on patrol.
"Constables came before police," Victor said.
Carey, from Mass Constables Service, said he does not carry a gun because he does not believe he needs one, but the Loomis’ who specialize in arrests, must feel they need it.
Victor, who offers constable and process server training workshops, said most constables steer clear of the arrests the Loomis’ are known for even though arrests are more lucrative. “When it’s an arrest those people sometimes don’t want to go and that’s when problems like this happen,” Victor said.
It is unclear what charges the Loomis' might face.
City Councilor Dennis DeNapoli, who works at the school and is one of four adult witnesses who have been questioned by Brockton Police as part of the investigation into the constable’s actions, said students may have been placed in danger, however he is unsure what the outcome of the investigation will be.
“My understanding is this might be a civil matter, not criminal--if they face any charges,” said DeNapoli.
Initially DeNapoli told BrocktonPost.com he believed the constable who pulled the weapon was Jerold Loomis, a longtime constable who is best known for his part in the highly publicized 2007 arrest of pop singer Bobby Brown at a cheerleading competition at Attleboro High School.
DeNapoli said he may have been mixed up when he spoke to a reporter last Thursday night and could only positively identify Jerold and Adam Loomis from a photo lineup, although noted the constable who pulled the gun had very, very short hair and was standing next to DeNapoli at the front of the car driven by Haikal.
The other constable, who he described as scruffy with dark hair, had Haikal by the neck in a head-lock through the window of the driver’s side door.
“I’m not sure which is which,” DeNapoli said. “I would have to see a picture to be sure,” he said, adding he wished he could view pictures of each so he knows for certain which one drew the weapon.
"If they had identified themselves I'd know which one pulled the gun," DeNapoli said.
Haikal’s two sons were exiting the car as the constables made the arrest.
The constable who pulled the gun drew the weapon after Haikal’s vehicle lunged forward during the arrest.
DeNapoli said he believes the pair could have done many things other than arrest Haikal on school grounds which resulted in the school’s lockdown and frightened many of the children who were being dropped off at the school or were playing outside before school began at 7:45 a.m.
DeNapoli said the pair should face some kind of punishment and believes it is unlikely either one will lose their license to operate as a constable over the matter. W
hile DeNapoli said he has his opinion of what should happen to the constables, it is the school, Trinity Catholic Academy and its officials who are pursuing sanctions against the pair.
“The question is did they put anyone in danger when they pulled the gun on school property,” DeNapoli said.
DeNapoli said, and city records show, neither of the Loomis’ have been issued a license from Brockton to be constables in the city, but area constables said because of the nature of a cappias warrant, or an arrest warrant, that was issued by the courts and signed by a judge, the Loomis’ had carte blanche to arrest Haikal anywhere in the state.