More 4th amendment

So the guy in this video just settled for $40,000 after being tasered by an overzealous cop. The cop seemed quick on the taser, but I also know that “routine traffic stops” are the most common cause of cop killing and the cop being alone and the driver was a little excited. . .

I am sure Jeff will scold me for not being outraged enough about the tasering. I am outraged that the cop never said, “you are under arrest.” Can you arrest someone for failing to sign a citation? I am appalled that this is what can happen for asking perfectly legal questions like “what is the citation for?”, “can we go back and see if there is a sign?” and “read me my rights.” OK, I am outraged.

BUT, my real question relates to our previous 4th Amendment discussion because the cop searches the car after he arrests the dude. Seems that is illegal (until that other case goes before the court). Right?

I also like how the cop recounts a completely different version of events to cop #2 who shows up at the end as back-up.  In the recounted version cop #1 says he told the driver he was under arrest and warned him before tasering him — yay videocameras.

Oh, and OUCH!


6 Responses to More 4th amendment

  1. jeffaregularworkinglawyer says:

    I’ll bite. Yeah, this is clearly excessive force by a cop with a crappy attitude. This happened in Utah, a very conservative place. I bet the cops don’t lose too many excessive force cases there. If the state paid this guy off, they must have been pretty worried about what a jury would do. And yes, the cop should have tried to arrest him first, and yes, the search at the end was illegal. And yay videocameras and yay You Tube. And you should be outraged, especially if you live in Chicago, where we’ve had a bit of a problem in recent years with out of control cops. A federal judge recently remarked that a few years ago, it seemed like the cops couldn’t lose an excessive force case here, but now they can’t win. People are getting sick of this stuff — and widely distributed videos have a lot to do with that.

    Interesting cultural experience — compare the reaction on the NYT comment board

    with the Salt Lake Tribune:

  2. nobamakoolaid says:

    Holy crap. I don’t have to go to the gym tonight because my heart rate has been running near 200 for the 10 minutes of this video. I wish I could say it was unvelieveable. Do we know if this trooper lost his job or at least got suspeded? Is this video at least being used in training as an example of how to not lose control of a situation?
    I truly believe there is a distinct culture in law enforcement where they begin to believe they are somehow above the rest of us; LB, point me to a study, please. I have prsonally seen this sort of attitude displayed a number of times. Fortunately for me, I was never on the wrong end of one of their toys.

  3. laurabethnielsen says:

    Oh, I do think the tasering wa excessive force, I just meant to say that I could understand the cops mistaken use of it. It is drilled into them that people resisting are a dangerous threat and the dude was walking along the side of him with his hand in his pocket. I am not saying it was the right decision (even when the other cop comes up and asks what happened, the cop is already misremembering or lying about what went doewn, telliing a more defensible story. So I really am outraged and yet I beleive this stuff happens. I was just interested in the search which is clealry illegal.

    So if the tasering is illegal and the search is illegal, how does that add up to $40K? Would you get tasered for $40K?

  4. hegemonsadun says:

    For 40k? Absolutely…

    But ya, I share LB’s frustration in that its horrible, yet completely understandable. When you give a part of the population a uniform, badge, and a weapon, to govern the rest of the population, this sort of thing is bound to happen.

  5. jeffaregularworkinglawyer says:

    Tasers have been sold to the public as protection for vulnerable police — they can defend themselves against violent offenders with less than deadly force. Instead, they are too often used as “compliance” devices, in order to render a suspect cooperative and docile when there is no legitimate threat to officer safety. The “Don’t tase me, bro” incident in Florida comes to mind.

    This is from Amnesty International’s 2006 report on the use of Tasers in the U.S.:

    Information gathered by Amnesty International also shows that tasers continue to be used to gain “compliance” from police suspects. The Amarillo Police Department, Texas, classifies taser as “pain compliance technique”. Amnesty International believes that the policy authorizes the use of excessive force by Amarillo police officers. One provision of the department’s use of force policy states that tasers may be used “if an unhandcuffed, passively resisting individual cannot be overcome by verbal or control hold techniques the taser may be used to gain compliance”. The policy also allows the use of tasers in drive stun mode on suspects who are already handcuffed if they “refuse to get into or out of a vehicle” and if a verbal warning has been given.

    There is no statute that makes “contempt of cop” a crime. Police officers are sometimes tempted to punish it, anyway. What’s really outrageous to me is how many of my fellow citizens, judging from the online comment boards, think that this is a good thing, and that inflicting extreme pain with a Taser is an appropriate punishment for a bad attitude.

  6. lankdangle says:

    I’ve watched the a few times now and I have to say, hasn’t Cops been on long enough for people to know that when a Police Officer has a weapon drawn on you and say’s “put your hands on your head” that you don’t walk away while reaching your hand in your pocket? As bad as it looked for him to get zapped, that guy got what he deserved for fucking with a cop. You just don’t do that. You don’t argue with an officer on the scene, that’s why we have courts and judges.

    The Police are no different than the Evanston Historical Preservation Society in that they’re just just people, doing a job according to a specific list of rules. They are just the messengers, you don’t shoot the messenger, you deal with the sender.

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