October 28, 2013
Two times on the same night, Shannon Kanda was severely beaten by two male strangers. The first pair of assailants gave her a bloody lip and a few mild bruises. The second group, who arrived a few minutes later, shattered her skull against a metal staircase handrail. As a result of that attack, the victim was forced to undergo reconstructive surgery to replace broken ocular bones.
Kanda had done nothing to provoke either attack. The first group of assailants fled and were never captured. The second – Officers Gregory Moore and Jonathan Cantrell of the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Police Department – actually filed a battery charge against their victim.
After the first beating, Kanda – who was very intoxicated — went to a friend’s apartment and called the police, in the familiar and entirely mistaken belief that they would be of help.
When Officers Moore and Cantrell arrived, they asked her to come down to the parking lot where the attack had taken place. Kanda later explained that she hesitated because “she feared for her safety and was not assured by the officers present.”
As the three of them left the apartment, Kanda allegedly brushed away Officer Cantrell’s hand. Offended by this defilement of his consecrated person, Cantrell snapped, “Hey, you don’t hit the police” – as if the action of batting away uninvited contact from a stranger were a form of criminal assault.
Seconds later, according to the police account, Kanda “swung” at Officer Moore. She doesn’t remember doing anything of the kind. She admits that she was drunk and unsteady, and that the officers “misjudged [her] unsteadiness … as movements threatening to their security.”
Whatever it was that Kanda did, Moore reacted by attempting a “brachial stun” – a pressure-point strike to a nerve cluster at the side of the neck – but missed, and wound up slugging her in the jaw. Cantrell jumped in and both cops threw the victim face-down on the stairwell landing, slamming her face into the iron handrail as they did so. As she was bleeding into the pavement, Kanda was handcuffed and told that she was under arrest for “battery on a police officer.” Significantly, however, that charge wasn’t formally filed until after she had initiated a lawsuit against the department and the City of Coeur d’Alene.
Cantrell and Moore responded to that suit by insisting that the two of them – armed, highly trained, intrepid defenders of the public weal – faced an imminent threat from a drunk and traumatized woman, and “feared for their safety.” They also suggested that Kanda’s eye injury might not have been their fault – that it may have been inflicted by the first pair of thugs to assault her that evening. This would mean, of course, that they slugged and body-slammed a woman who had already been beaten up so severely that she required major surgery on the following day.