On W. Burnside and 18th today, I came across a man who was passed out, breathing but unresponsive, and myself and five other passersby called 911. After about 5 minutes, he opened his eyes a little and we were able to give him some water to drink. He still was very woozy, and stayed laying down on his stomach. He did not smell like alcohol, and we all thought that he had heat exhaustion or heat stroke. After 10 minutes, a lone police officer came and told him it looked like he had been drinking. She asked to see his wallet, and I noticed an Oregon Trail card in it. She had him stand up and put his arms out, put his feet together, etc. and went back to the car. We weren't sure what to do at this point, and gave him a bottle of water and all left. When I was a block away, I turned to see if the officer had left, and saw her handcuffing him and putting him in the back of her squad car.
I don't know if this man was drunk, or homeless, or someone that the officer was familiar with, but the way he was treated made me uncomfortable. I would like to think that if I was passed out on a corner, the police or an ambulance would respond more quickly than in 10 minutes.
What would you do in this situation? We were all clearly uncomfortable with the officer's response, but still left the situation feeling powerless to help.