On Friday, West Virginia law enforcement officer Kristen Richmond was involved in an altercation with a student at Bethany College while responding to a call that soon turned dangerous.
Richmond, a three-stripe BJJ white belt at West Karate of Weirton in West Virginia, has been training jiu-jitsu since August of 2016. She says she also trained in Krav Maga for several years before starting jiu-jitsu. While she was unable to provide an interview until the case surrounding the incident is settled in court, her coach, Troy Fernandez, praised her work in her career and in class:
“It really breaks my heart to see these types of situations happen, but the reality of the matter is that these things happen every day throughout the country. The men and women who literally put their lives on the line to make our communities safe are heroes in my opinion. I feel as though Kristen’s training and her ability to stay calm saved not only her life but also the young man’s life as well. Kristen’s work ethic and kind heart have been an inspiration to our whole team. She has had a few injury setbacks this past year but always kept BJJ in her mind and heart. She even attends class to watch and take notes. I hope more people are inspired by her story and start training, because you never know when you will have to defend yourself.”
Here is Richmond’s story:
“This will probably be one of the rawest posts I’ll write. It’s not for glory or any of that ****. I debated posting anything but, in doing so, my hope is that it serves as a swift kick in the *** to a lot of cops.
Early this morning I found myself in a full-out fight with a 5’11, 195lb collegiate male athlete who was gooned up on an unknown drug (I’m assuming some sort of dissociative anesthetic). It was me and him for about five minutes. During said altercation, my glasses were shattered and knocked off my face, none of my radio transmissions got out, and a ton of equipment was stripped from my vest and duty belt. I managed to stay in the fight and maintain some control despite exchanging punches and knees with the subject. I secured one of the subject’s hands in cuffs and maintained that grip throughout the majority of the fight. I also released my K9 partner and she did exactly what she trains to do; however, all the K9 bites, punches, knees, and baton strikes did not deter this guy. He wasn’t there. The drug had consumed every part of him. After about 5 minutes of fighting, my partners finally found us (due to lack of comms) and, after several more minutes of fighting, we were able to secure him in cuffs ending the fight.
The following saying comes to mind: Sometimes I had a bad day means that I almost didn’t make it home. While fighting with this guy, he reached for my duty weapon. Given the circumstances (full details are not being disclosed in this post), deadly force was warranted and it was probably getting close to my last resort. Thankfully, it did not reach that point … I think the majority of the credit goes to my training outside of work. I’ve been beat to hell and back in training so I knew how to react and fight through being repeatedly being struck in the face and head. I didn’t freak out … I knew I was okay and still in the fight. This post isn’t to be all bravado … I got my *** kicked this morning (there’s no doubt about it), but I also gave it right back. Another huge reason it ended the way it did was due to my partners (all 3 of them). My guys found me and my K9 engaged. If it wasn’t for them intervening when they did the outcome probably would have been much worse. I am so thankful for them! They are literally the best partners I could ask for. One of them apologized because I was fighting for so long, which was obviously not his fault at all. My Sergeant was also injured. He left his hospital room to come to mine and said, “I’m probably not supposed to leave my room but **** it.” He leaned over my bed, gave me a hug, and said, “I love ya, K-Rich!” I trust them fully and know that I never have to worry about if they’re coming.
The purpose of this post is three-fold. First and foremost, I implore you to train! Thank God I do. You don’t want to be in the fight for your life wishing you had done more to prepare for that exact moment. Second, bond with your partners. They’re your family and when you find yourself in a dark corner at 0300 praying for backup, they’re gonna be the ones who come running. Last, but not least, this is for the families, friends, and/or critics. After hours at the hospital and being treated for a broken nose, a fractured sinus, and some other minor bumps and lacerations to my hands, face, and head I went home. I took my bloody uniform, duty belt, and gear inside with me and dropped it on the floor. I took my tired K9 partner to her crate so she could get some much deserved rest. I went upstairs, undressed, turned on the hot water in the shower, stepped in, and washed his and my blood off my body. I watched it circle the drain not knowing whose exactly it was. Not a lot of people know what it’s like to do that. No, we don’t get into fights like these everyday but they do happen … along with situations that are far worse. Please take a few moments to consider everything that we go through before jumping to conclusions based off slanted media and facts. At the end of the day, we are exactly like all of you “normal” people. We just want to go home after work.
I would like to thank EMS personnel for treating and starting to clean me up on scene, hospital staff for their excellent care, and all of my family, friends, fellow officers, and community members for their calls and messages.”
Richmond’s original post on Facebook, which includes some additional comments from her on the situation, can be found below.