Friday, November 17, 2006

Use of force

Evidently, some students at U of Cal are upset about the campus police using a taser on a student who was trespassing at the library. They tazered him a couple of times while arresting him. Everybody is up in arms.

Let me just say this about that. Too bad. The guy should have gone while he had the chance.

Every law enforcement officer has to deal with these idiots from time to time. It's fairly easy. You ask them once, you warn them once, then you say the magic words; You're under arrest.

Louisiana law allows me to use whatever force is necessary to effect an arrest and a goodly portion of the police academy is spent talking about Use of Force. It's fairly simple:
A person shall submit peaceably to a lawful arrest. The person making a lawful arrest may use reasonable force to effect the arrest and detention, and also to overcome any resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested or detained.
That's it. I can use reasonable force to overcome resistance. I get to decide what is reasonable, based on my training and experience. I have lots of training and over 25 years experience.

If I ask you to leave and you don't, you probably aren't going to like what comes next. I have spent most of my adult life dealing with idiots, meaning folks who can't take a gentle hint to depart. While I won't go into the particulars of technique, it involves joint locks, strong empty hand techniques, OC spray, the baton, and handcuffs. When it's over you still leave, except in the back of a cruiser and then you have to make the phone call for bail.

Save yourself the trouble of making bail. When an officer asks you to leave, say YESSIR and depart.

Hat tip to the LawDog.


Anonymous said...

The video doesn't show the entire episode, so I'm willing to give the officers the benefit of doubt. However, the most disturbing part was after he already was under arrest, tazered, and handcuffed. The officer was insisting that the guy walk out. I assume it's entirely possible that the after-effects of the tazer would impair fine motor control needed to get up and walk out, that's why it's such a good law enforcement tool. It stops the attack.

The best thing I can possibility say here is that the officer was poorly trained. Once he was in handcuffs a few officers could easily drag him out (which in the end, they did).

The worst case is that the officer was publicly and deliberately torturing the defendant after he was in custody. After a public tazering, I can only hope he was processed humanely after he was out of the public eye.

I had always assumed that If I felt the need to protest and get arrested, like say in front of the Whitehouse, and I went limp and offered no resistance, I assumed that after the officers plasti-cuffed me they would have absolutely no right to tazer me into complying with an order to march myself over to the paddy wagon. I also assume that while I was offering no resistance, I'd still retain my rights to free speech.

Please tell me I'm not wrong on my assumption of the use of excessive force after he was clearly handcuffed and (feigning or not) unable to stand.

Pawpaw said...

"I had always assumed that If I felt the need to protest and get arrested, like say in front of the Whitehouse, and I went limp and offered no resistance,"

In a nutshell, going limp is called passive resistance and I am allowed to use force to overcome that resistance. Joint lock techniques generally overcome that resistance in a manner suitable for videotape. The classic "frog-march" is the result of passive resistance. It's fairly painful, by the way, when done correctly, yet when the offender quits resisting the pain goes away.

I haven't seen the video either, and don't intend to. The Courts can sort it out.

Pawpaw said...

"I also assume that while I was offering no resistance, I'd still retain my rights to free speech."

There is also this thing called verbal resistance that occurs in incidents such as this. Hollering and yelling and carrying on might result in a Disturbing the Peace charge.

You do, though, maintain that one right offenders tend to forget about. Your fifth amendment right to remain silent. You always have the right to remain silent. Embrace it. Practice it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the video either, and don't intend to. The Courts can sort it out.

No, I have seen the video, and it's rather painful to watch.

Like I said, at one point the officer is urging the cuffed student to stand up so he can march him out to the police car. Trouble is, he's trying to use the tazer as a cattle prod. My understanding, however, is that the tazer actually causes a person to not be able to use his body, even after the power is removed from the subject. So he couldn't comply, even if he wanted to. Although fine motor skills are impaired, apparently the vocal cords were still entirely effective.

"Here's your Patriot Act. Here's your #$%@ing Abuse of Power" · Mostafa Tabatabainejad

The defendant was cuffed, arrested, and writhing on the ground. If the officer did not know that getting shocked by a tazer could prevent a subject from being able to stand by himself for perhaps several minutes, then he was poorly trained and the training agency is liable. That's best case. Worst case is public torture. I'm not going to go that far yet, but that seems have been Mostafa opinion, while he was on the floor of the library.

(in regards to peaceful protesters going limp)
We live in a country where it's legally impossible to challenge many of the laws as unconstitutional unless one is willing to get arrested to challenged it in court. While I think “standing” is utter BS, while we have it, I would hope that non-violent lawbreaking protests would not be met with force.

People non-violently protest lots of stuff here in DC, and I assume the system is that the police hogtie the limp protesters, and then cart them off to the paddy wagon for processing.

I assume the protester go limp as a public display of the fact that they are not resisting arrest

Anyway, I urge you to watch it, even if you decline to comment further. I normally don't value the opinion of either the police defense fund nor the ACLU. When notable cases like this come up, the police always side with the police and the ACLU-like groups always side with the defendant. I read you and value your opinion because you don't automatically seem to swing to one of the polar opposites.

Unknown said...

This college idiot claimed he was tazered b/c of his ethnicity. Someone needs to tell him, "No. You were tazered for being an uncooperative asshole."