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Tase! or "Youtube Justice"
November 28, 2007 9:21 AM   Subscribe

"Officer, I don't know why you're doing what you're doing."
Refusing to sign a speeding citation in Vernal, Utah? That's a tasing. Requesting an investigation of the incident? That sounds like a job for YouTube.

And if you sit through the entire thing, you can hear the officer creatively describe the encounter to a fellow officer--"I told him to turn around or I'd tase him." In other news, the tasee has asked those making death threats against the officer on youtube (which are being investigated by the FBI) to please stop.

I was also struck by the bizarre levels of politeness demonstrated by both parties during the incident.
posted by mecran01 (314 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd have tased his ass too.
posted by ND¢ at 9:28 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


The trooper who shot Massey with the taser is under an internal affairs investigation. He is still on duty.

Say what?
posted by brain_drain at 9:29 AM on November 28, 2007


Laughable cops. That was the most mild-mannered person disputing a traffic ticket I've ever seen. His girlfriend loses points for not slapping the cop though.
posted by anthill at 9:30 AM on November 28, 2007


ND¢: "I'd have tased his ass too."

The fuck is wrong with you people? A guy who contests a speeding ticket deserves to get tased in front of his wife? Fuck off.

This is why we deserve this police state. I'd have tased his ass too. What a crock of shit.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:31 AM on November 28, 2007 [44 favorites]


"he wouldn't obey so he took a ride on the taser"
posted by anthill at 9:32 AM on November 28, 2007


The fuck is wrong with you people? A guy who contests a speeding ticket deserves to get tased in front of his wife? Fuck off.

The fuck is fucking wrong with you fucking fucks? Fucking fuck comes here commenting a bunch of fucking fuck and the only fucking thing you can say is some fucking shit? Fuck, man.
posted by xmutex at 9:34 AM on November 28, 2007 [26 favorites]


If this guy wanted to contest his ticket he could have gone to the courthouse to do so. What you can't do is get out of your car during a lawful traffic stop and start making demands on a police officer. I am as much against abuse of authority as the next guy, but I think the cop was within his rights to tase the guy.
posted by ND¢ at 9:34 AM on November 28, 2007


Christ, what an asshole.

Tasing is supposed to be a less than lethal alternative to deadly force. If you're alright with him tasing the guy, I suppose you're alright with him shooting the guy in a less than lethal fashion, too?
posted by kableh at 9:34 AM on November 28, 2007 [13 favorites]


MetaFilter is cruising for a tazing by posting this.
posted by DU at 9:35 AM on November 28, 2007


You're not legally required to sign a citation. And a cop is not allowed to tase you for not obeying a lawful order, even if it were one.

People die from being tased. Unless you believe that instant, painful death is an appropriate punishment for refusing to sign a traffic citation.
posted by empath at 9:36 AM on November 28, 2007 [10 favorites]


I am as much against abuse of authority as the next guy, but I think the cop was within his rights to tase the guy.

These two clauses do not belong in the same sentence unless the next guy is Hitler.
posted by DU at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2007 [27 favorites]


NDc, why don't you watch the video with the sound on. The cop suggests "alright, why don't you get out of the car", after which the guy gets out of the car. Also, you are not as much against abuse of authority as the next guy.
posted by anthill at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Jolts of painful electricity should be reserved for use on whiny, wanna-be Jedi Knights.

In other news, the UN has declared the use of tasers to be a form of torture.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


"...within his rights to tase the guy"

I always thought tasing was basically supposed to be like "I was gonna shoot you, but I'll tase you instead, and hopefully you'll live." Was this a situation where if the cop didn't have a taser he should have shot the guy?

Or, yeah, what Kableh said.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2007


If this guy wanted to contest his ticket he could have gone to the courthouse to do so. What you can't do is get out of your car during a lawful traffic stop and start making demands on a police officer. I am as much against abuse of authority as the next guy, but I think the cop was within his rights to tase the guy.

The cop told him to get out of the car. Did you watch the video? That's a tasing.
posted by mecran01 at 9:38 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Computers should have mandatory tase-capable keyboards, so I can tase YOU right now.
posted by Artw at 9:39 AM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


I hope the cop gets what's coming to him. In court, I mean.

And yeah, ND¢, wtf?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:40 AM on November 28, 2007


Don't taze me, bro!
posted by fandango_matt at 9:40 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd have tased his ass too.

Hey, you're hilarious! Not really.
posted by billysumday at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's very hard to hear what's going on and what's being said while the guy is still in the car, but yeah, it does appear that the cop told him to get out after he refused to sign the citation for the purpose of tazing him.
posted by yhbc at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2007


The amount of tasing in the news is further decreasing my respect for law enforcement.

Rather than its intended use as a (usually) nonlethal substitute for a bullet, the taser is continuously used as a tool for lazy police to immediately immobilize a "person of interest" who's asking too many questions.

It is not the job of law enforcement to dole out physical punishment when unnecessary, even if the coppers are frustrated.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2007 [6 favorites]


I am pretty upset by the officer, but I have to confess that my wife and I both started laughing uncontrollably when he got tased. That was her first youtube taser video. Then when I saw the entire thing in context, and saw the cop lie at the end, I knew I had to alert metafilter immediately.
posted by mecran01 at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2007


Friday 23 November 2007

The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), an agency charged with overseeing the application of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, arrived at the conclusion on Friday, November 23, that the use of the electric pulse Taser gun constitutes a "form of torture" and "can even provoke death."


"Use of these weapons provokes extreme pain," that can go as far as "causing death, as reliable studies and recent facts occurring in practice have revealed," declared the Committee's ten members in a recommendation to Portugal, a country that purchased Taser X-26 guns for its police. "The consequences to the physical and mental state of the persons targeted are of a nature to violate" the provisions of the UN's Convention against Torture, the experts, who asked Lisbon to "consider renouncing use of the electric weapons," also note.
posted by mattbucher at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


IMO, the distribution of 'non-lethal' weaponry to law enforcement is the last step to a police state. It enables the government to completely control the populace and suppress dissent without causing the moral revulsion that guns and tanks do.

If we accept this, and we accept the use of torture on suspected criminals, there is nothing preventing us from sliding into totalitarianism.

If you think not, then you just have to look at the recent policy changes allowing the president to declare states of emergency and deploy national guard units from one state to another without the governor's permission.

Imagine National Guard units from Illinois being deployed to New Orleans loaded up with pain rays, tasers and foam to put down legal demonstrations. No one would blink an eye. Because no one gives a shit about dirty hippies anyway, and where is the harm?
posted by empath at 9:42 AM on November 28, 2007 [12 favorites]


Taserporn is the hot new thing on the internets. I wonder how I can make some money off this.
posted by xmutex at 9:43 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


The taser is already proving a valuable tool for the police. Oh, sure, it was initially intended as a last-ditch alternative to deadly force, but it seems to be working wonderfully as a "persuader." I think they should issued with a whole range of similar devices including, say, a lower voltage unit that causes intense but brief pain. Then the cop on the sidewalk could give people sidling by a little zap to make them step lively. MOOOOOOOOOO!

And if someone then gives the police hero a dirty look? Zap'em with the VomitBlaster™
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:44 AM on November 28, 2007


(not a conspiracy theorist -- the totalitarianism doesn't require a conspiracy, it just requires a cowed populace and wealthy, powerful people acting in their own self-interests)
posted by empath at 9:45 AM on November 28, 2007


...when I saw the entire thing in context, and saw the cop lie at the end, I knew I had to alert metafilter immediately.

(Extinguishes pipe)
You know Johnny, you did the right thing here. It can be hard to know right from wrong in this crazy world. Sometimes you gotta go ask Metafilter. They'll know what to do. And if they don't, well, they'll be able to while away a few hours gettin' their knickers in a twist arguin' about police brutality and the like.

Anyway, me and the boys'll take it from here. You go get yourself a popsicle from the cool box, y'hear?
posted by Jofus at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2007 [39 favorites]


Oh man do I love cops.
posted by nola at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2007


What you can't do is get out of your car during a lawful traffic stop and start making demands on a police officer.

I know that a lot of police officers don't like having to explain the laws they're enforcing to civilians but if he had've spent a couple of minutes talking to him/telling him how he can protest it if he feels he's been wrong, this could've all been avoided.

Police officers shouldn't be the enemy but the way they're approaching people these days, they're becoming it.
posted by scabrous at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


Don't taze me, bro!

ROFL
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2007


I watched it with the sound on last night, but I can't right now as I am at work. My interpretation was that the cop tried to get the guy to sign the ticket, the guy refused, and the cop was going to arrest him for refusing to sign the ticket, which is why he asked him to get out of the car. The guy then got out of the car and started demanding to be shown the sign (which you can see at the beginning of the video, not that it matters), the cop demands that he put his hands on the car and submit to arrest, the guy refuses, the cop pulls his taser, the guy still refuses to submit to arrest, the guy gets tased.

This is not some political prisoner here. The guy was arguing with and disobeying a cop making a lawful traffic stop. When a cop stops you, you do what he says unless it is clearly illegal or outrageous. If, after the stop is over, you have questions or objections, we have an entire legal system designed to redress such grievances. You don't "fight for your rights" on the side of the road where a cop doesn't know if you have a gun or a knife and has to protect his safety first. You fight for your rights in court. No one was denying this guy that right.
posted by ND¢ at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2007 [6 favorites]


I think if a cop were shouting at me to do something whilst pointing a taser, I'd probably do whatever he said, or at least try to behave in as non-threatening a way as possible.

The guy walked towards the cop whilst appearing angry, then moved away against instruction, looking very much as if he was about to pull something from his pocket (somewhere after 2:30). I don't blame the cop for being twitchy at that point - his logic in applying force was probably that it would be better to use the taser than to risk being shot or stabbed - overzealous almost certainly, but not entirely gratuitous.

However, the cop was stupid to get himself into that position - he clearly let his irritation escalate the situation from what should have been a conversation into an angry confrontation.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2007


If you've never been to Vernal, here's some context: The guy was speeding because Vernal's a fucking wasteland and the faster you get through it the better - and the cop was angry because he works in Vernal, a FUCKING WASTELAND.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:48 AM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Here's the story behind why the tasee, Jared Massey, decided to post the video on YouTube.

I also found information for lodging a complaint, pulled from this page:

If you feel the Trooper8217;s use of "semi-lethal force" with his Taser Gun was not warranted, please write to the address below:
Department of Public Safety
Utah Highway Patrol Headquarters/Administrative Offices
Calvin Rampton Building
First Floor - South
4501 South 2700 West

Salt Lake City, Utah 84114
or fax: +1 (801) 965-4262
or via online form (least effective): http://highwaypatrol.utah.gov/contact_uhp.html
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:49 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


What lazaruslong said. I also flagged ND¢'s post as abusive.

The police aren't given Tasers so that they can use pain to enforce compliance, to make them "obey". Tasers and other semi-lethal weapons are by law only to be used to defend the lives of citizens and police officers (though rules do vary locally, this part is as far as I know a universal truth).

Looking at that video, it's absolutely and completely clear that the young man getting Tasered offered not the slightest threat to the officer.

What really astonishes me is that the officer is still on duty. What's sad is if this were a video of the same officer getting a free meal from a local restaurant, he'd be reprimanded that same day.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:49 AM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


Or to put it another way, if the cop had shot the guy in the chest, would you say that was okay, too?
posted by empath at 9:50 AM on November 28, 2007


What lazaruslong said. I also flagged ND¢'s post as abusive.

You flagged a post you disagreed with as abusive?
posted by xmutex at 9:52 AM on November 28, 2007 [7 favorites]


You're remembering it differently from what appears on the video, ND¢. There was almost no discussion or talking after the guy got of the car and he was tazed.
posted by yhbc at 9:52 AM on November 28, 2007


Man, if we're going to allow Digg-style content on here we should have a Digg-style rating system to digg down the stupidity.
posted by chips ahoy at 9:52 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Mr. C. Davis,

As a proud resident of Utah, could you please refer to Vernal by its proper name?

Dinoland!
posted by mecran01 at 9:53 AM on November 28, 2007


it's awesome how so many of these so-called tough guys, the cops, are in fact so cowardly and full of shit that they cannot actually wrestle some guy to the ground and cuff him -- they'd much rather tase thr guy, just because they won't leave the donuts down and going to the gym is too hard on their TV-watching schedule.

there was no danger to the cop's safety -- he just got a kick out of tasing this guy. he'd have tased the guy's wife, too, to show what a tough, tough, fearless cop he really is.

this is shit police work, and if you're too clueless -- or dumb -- to figure that out somebody you should take your voting rights away until you figure out the basic difference between legitimate police work and fascism.

bullies with a badge are the worst kind of bullies, really. no, wait, cowardly bullies with a badge are the worst. their supporters are not much better.

there is something very wrong when you have to be more afraid of the police than of the criminals.
posted by matteo at 9:54 AM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


The Tasee released the video two months after the incident when then internal investigation accidentally stalled.
posted by mecran01 at 9:54 AM on November 28, 2007


This sort of things seems to happen an awful lot with Utah cops.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:54 AM on November 28, 2007


While arguing my side of a difference of opinion I've been told to fuck off, called an asshole and a sick sadistic fuck, and you have flagged me as abusive? Having a different opinion from you is not abusive.

And empath, the tasering was not a punishment. The ticket is a punishment. The taser is a tool that cops use when they feel force is necessary but don't want to use lethal force. The cop obviously believed that this was one of those times, and I am saying that I can see why he might think that based on the guy's actions.
posted by ND¢ at 9:55 AM on November 28, 2007


The guy, Jared Massey, was pretty clearly under the impression that he and the officer were going to look at the location of the sign. He's casual about it all until the taser (which, he claims in the CNN interview, he thought was a REAL GUN) comes out, at which point he just looks scared and confused.

Probably not the smartest thing to move away at that moment, but I'm not sure I wouldn't have done the same thing--the officer was coming off like a real loose cannon.

Also, check out the UHP spokesman on the CNN video. He doesn't believe that the availability of tasers has made officers any more trigger-happy. The follow-up question should have been whether the officer would have just shot Massey, but alas, no hard-hitting from the interviewer.
posted by dontoine at 9:56 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Taser position their devices not as alternatives to deadly force, but as alternatives to non-deadly force.

Cops are encouraged to think of the Taser as an alternative to fighting with a 'suspect' or using baton or pepper spray.

This cop's still on duty? FFS. He should be in jail.
posted by unSane at 9:57 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


posted by empath You're not legally required to sign a citation. And a cop is not allowed to tase you for not obeying a lawful order, even if it were one. People die from being tased. Unless you believe that instant, painful death is an appropriate punishment for refusing to sign a traffic citation.

Yes, you are required to sign the citation. If you refuse to sign it, you'll be placed under arrest. Traffic citations usually say something like Without admitting guilt, I promise to appear at the time and place listed below--what you're doing is agreeing to appear in court. If you refuse to agree to appear in court, you will be taken into custody.

This guy refused to sign the citation, so he was told to get out of the car and put his hands behind his back. When he became belligerent and refused to obey the officer, he escalated the situation, and out came the Taser. Case closed.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:57 AM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Having a different opinion from you is not abusive.

Stop disagreeing with me! It hurts SO MUCH!
posted by brain_drain at 9:57 AM on November 28, 2007


ND¢, serious question, and I'm not trying to contribute to a pile-on here.

How would you feel about the situation if, instead of tasing the guy, the officer:
-shot the man in the kneecap(s) with his handgun?
-beat the man to the ground with a billyclub?
-simply aimed his gun or taser at the man in order to get him to put his hands on the car (which th, handcuffed him, and arrested him without causing physical harm to the man?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:01 AM on November 28, 2007


By the way, the US seems to be 'in danger of becoming' a police state in the same sense that Paris Hilton is 'in danger of becoming' famous.
posted by unSane at 10:01 AM on November 28, 2007 [11 favorites]


I don't know what to say ND¢, I see your point but I've had so many bad experiences with police it's hard for me to agree in a broad sense. They are in fact very quick anymore to use force. It scares the shit out of me. The last time I got stopped it was for a seat belt violation not a block away from my house. My pregnant girlfriend and I were on our way back for a late lunch and I got pulled over. Once he looked at my licence he had me step out of the car in front of my neighbours began asking if I had any pills, marijuana,crack, meth, pipes, syringes, scales,guns, knives, papers, . . . after that he frisked me, he then interrogated my girlfriend, asking her the same line of questions. He wanted to search the car, bring out a drug dog. I'd been polite, and cooperative, and after 30 minutes of standing on my own street getting dressed down for not wearing a seatbelt, yeah I was remembering why I don't like cops.
posted by nola at 10:02 AM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


I think that the cop resorted to the taser a bit too quickly. But, by the same token, the guy was acting pretty erratically. To be fair, cops never know what someone may do. Acting erratically just increases the potential for trouble.
posted by janetplanet at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2007


I love it when people say 'Case Closed', as if that proves they're right.
posted by unSane at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2007 [9 favorites]


I don't get the post-hoc rationalisations of this cop's actions. He clearly says "he wouldn't obey so he took a ride on the taser."

This kind of attitude is becoming endemic in any uniformed agency in the US. Speaking as a frequent visitor to the US, I feel that compared to other Western countries, it has the most aggressive and confrontational cops/TSA/immigration etc officials, by quite some margin.
posted by Jakey at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Yes, you are required to sign the citation. If you refuse to sign it, you'll be placed under arrest."

Not true. You may be placed under arrest. The officer also has the option to mark the ticket as "refused to sign" and give you your copy of the ticket anyway, at his discretion.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:04 AM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


janetplanet, maybe cops should just Taser everyone, just in case.
posted by unSane at 10:05 AM on November 28, 2007


scabrous, yeah. I always understood that signing a ticket was "sign this and you're not admitting any guilt; you're just promising to appear in court if you don't want to pay the fine instead -- you can tell judge your side and let him/her straighten this out."

But I think a cop can flat-out take you into custody if you don't sign. Prolly depends on the laws in the jurisdiction. Any MeFier cops or lawyers care to comment?

I can't watch this at work, but people have mentioned that there's some muffled conversation. I wonder if some variation on the above got discussed first.

I don't get the "wanna step out of the car?" "Sure!" *ZAP* business, though. That cop might have ordered him out of the car, made him assume the position, and arrested him -- or given him a last chance to sign the damn ticket and be on his way. Tasing him sounds like a lazy cop's shortcut to badge-heaviness instead. The officers and deputies (and MAs and SPs) I used to know brooked very little bull$hit from anybody, but they were a little more circumspect and professional about how they dealt with troublemakers than some of the horror stories I hear around here.

on preview: janetplanet, yeah again. Civilians tend to overlook how paranoid cops tend to be -- partly for survival reasons, frankly.
posted by pax digita at 10:06 AM on November 28, 2007


America is the lamest police state ever.
posted by chunking express at 10:06 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


The guy then got out of the car and started demanding to be shown the sign (which you can see at the beginning of the video, not that it matters), the cop demands that he put his hands on the car and submit to arrest, the guy refuses, the cop pulls his taser, the guy still refuses to submit to arrest, the guy gets tased.

Here's the thing, though: the guy's only "refusing to submit to arrest" if he understands that he's about to get arrested. The cop escalates that shit so fast, that the guy arguably has no idea what is going on. The cop says "Turn around and put your hands behind your back" at 2:28, and then literally 10 seconds later, he's tased. How long should an officer wait to use his taser after giving a lawful order ? I don't know where that line should be drawn, but it should be more than 10 seconds.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:06 AM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


The tazee's account is pretty reasonable. Copper needs a time-out.
posted by docpops at 10:06 AM on November 28, 2007


Huh, I've never heard of such a thing. But sign-the-ticket-or-be arrested is the case here in California. Or at least it was.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:07 AM on November 28, 2007


I'm not real big on gun control, but I've noticed that most police brutality issues stem from an innate fear that at any point, a suspect can just produce a concealed firearm and kill a cop. It's gotta be stressfull to spend every interaction with the citizenry under the assumption that they are trying to kill you.

janetplanet: Just because cops "never know what someone may do" doesn't mean they don't have a realistic sense of what is likely to happen, and how effective their own UNARMED combat skills are in comparison.

And besides, whatever happened to just knocking a guys teeth out with a night stick?
posted by butterstick at 10:08 AM on November 28, 2007


Worst taze video ever. So far. Tazed Bro had a golden opportunity but couldn't even nail one sound bite. Like I'm really gonna buy a "Mam, get back in the car and close the door!" or "You didn't follow my instructions!" t-shirt.
posted by hellbient at 10:11 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


That's a good point. However, your comment and your later explanation make you look like a sick, sadistic fuck, so fuck off, asshole.

Hey folks:
Could we try being, I don't know, somewhat civil? The responses to ND¢ are just downright ugly, and I've flagged the one I quoted above. You all sound extremely immature, and this is coming from a 19-year-old. I know, I know, "it's MetaFilter," but the MeFi I know isn't this egregiously rude.

Please, if only for the novelty, class it up a bit.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:11 AM on November 28, 2007 [13 favorites]


And that cop didn't even say "vehicle". Not once.
posted by hellbient at 10:13 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad the cop cuffed and left him in a fucking car lane. Talk about thinking outside of the box.
posted by phaedon at 10:13 AM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Even worse, when you watch the video, the guy is very close to the road, he could have fallen into it, and then been run over.

The side of the road is a very dangerous place, and police often tell people to stand on the passenger side of their case for just that reason.

For example.
posted by delmoi at 10:13 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


In the event that a motorist refuses to sign a trooper has two options, Roden said. One is to write "refuses to sign" on the citation, which is then given to the driver. The second is to arrest the driver.
posted by empath at 10:14 AM on November 28, 2007


[a few comments removed, "pregnant bitch" jokes and "you're a sick fuck" comments need to either go to MetaTalk or back to the schoolyard, ffs]
posted by jessamyn at 10:15 AM on November 28, 2007


Compare with this traffic stop. Ticketee goes absolutely apeshit, grabs the cop's ticket book, curses, swears.... watch how the cop handles it.
posted by anthill at 10:15 AM on November 28, 2007 [12 favorites]


(er, passenger side of their car)
posted by delmoi at 10:15 AM on November 28, 2007


But sign-the-ticket-or-be arrested is the case here in California. Or at least it was.

Stan the Radar Man sez "Yes". To the first thing.

Utah Highway Patrol rep Cameron Roden sez "If you sign a citation, it's not admitting guilt by any means. It just says you'll promise to appear in court. If someone refuses to sign the citation, they're refusing to appear in court," and that another option if a driver refuses to sign a ticket is for the officer to "put it in the car in a professional manner and leave it at that."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:17 AM on November 28, 2007


There was absolutely NO reason to arrest the driver, other than to prove what a big man he was.
posted by empath at 10:17 AM on November 28, 2007


Also, check out the UHP spokesman on the CNN video...

The CNN interview which dontoine mentions above and a CBS Early Show interview (both of which are referenced in the "more" section of the original YouTube video.)
posted by ericb at 10:17 AM on November 28, 2007


fandango_matt, here are the relevant sections of Utah code, which as I read them only require the officer's signature on the citation, and not the signature of the person receiving the citation:

77-7-18. Citation on misdemeanor or infraction charge.

A peace officer, in lieu of taking a person into custody, any public official of any county or municipality charged with the enforcement of the law, a port-of-entry agent as defined in Section 72-1-102, and a volunteer authorized to issue a citation under Section 41-6a-213 may issue and deliver a citation requiring any person subject to arrest or prosecution on a misdemeanor or infraction charge to appear at the court of the magistrate before whom the person should be taken pursuant to law if the person had been arrested.

77-7-19. Appearance required by citation -- Arrest for failure to appear -- Transfer of cases -- Motor vehicle violations -- Disposition of fines and costs.

(1) Persons receiving misdemeanor citations shall appear before the magistrate designated in the citation on or before the time and date specified in the citation unless the uniform bail schedule adopted by the Judicial Council or Subsection 77-7-21(1) permits forfeiture of bail for the offense charged.
(2) A citation may not require a person to appear sooner than five days or later than 14 days following its issuance.
(3) A person who receives a citation and who fails to comply with Section 77-7-21 on or before the time and date and at the court specified is subject to arrest. The magistrate may issue a warrant of arrest.
(4) Except where otherwise provided by law, a citation or information issued for violations of Title 41, Motor Vehicles, shall state that the person receiving the citation or information shall appear before the magistrate who has jurisdiction over the offense charged.
(5) Any justice court judge may, upon the motion of either the defense attorney or prosecuting attorney, based on a lack of territorial jurisdiction or the disqualification of the judge, transfer cases to a justice court with territorial jurisdiction or the district court within the county.
(6) (a) Clerks and other administrative personnel serving the courts shall ensure that all citations for violation of Title 41, Motor Vehicles, are filed in a court with jurisdiction and venue and shall refuse to receive citations that should be filed in another court.
(b) Fines, fees, costs, and forfeitures imposed or collected for violations of Title 41, Motor Vehicles, which are filed contrary to this section shall be paid to the entitled municipality or county by the state, county, or municipal treasurer who has received the fines, fees, costs, or forfeitures from the court which collected them.
(c) The accounting and remitting of sums due shall be at the close of the fiscal year of the municipality or county which has received fines, fees, costs, or forfeitures as a result of any improperly filed citations.


77-7-20. Service of citation on defendant -- Filing in court -- Contents of citations.

(1) If a citation is issued pursuant to Section 77-7-18, the peace officer or public official shall issue one copy to the person cited and shall within five days file a duplicate copy with the court specified in the citation.
(2) Each copy of the citation issued under authority of this chapter shall contain:
(a) the name of the court before which the person is to appear;
(b) the name of the person cited;
(c) a brief description of the offense charged;
(d) the date, time and place at which the offense is alleged to have occurred;
(e) the date on which the citation was issued;
(f) the name of the peace officer or public official who issued the citation, and the name of the arresting person if an arrest was made by a private party and the citation was issued in lieu of taking the arrested person before a magistrate;
(g) the time and date on or before and after which the person is to appear;
(h) the address of the court in which the person is to appear;
(i) a certification above the signature of the officer issuing the citation in substantially the following language: "I certify that a copy of this citation or information (Summons and Complaint) was duly served upon the defendant according to law on the above date and I know or believe and so allege that the above-named defendant did commit the offense herein set forth contrary to law. I further certify that the court to which the defendant has been directed to appear is the proper court pursuant to Section 77-7-21."; and
(j) a notice containing substantially the following language:
READ CAREFULLY

This citation is not an information and will not be used as an information without your consent. If an information is filed you will be provided a copy by the court. You MUST appear in court on or before the time set in this citation. IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR AN INFORMATION WILL BE FILED AND THE COURT MAY ISSUE A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST.

77-7-21. Proceeding on citation -- Voluntary forfeiture of bail -- Parent signature required -- Information, when required.

(1) (a) A copy of the citation issued under Section 77-7-18 that is filed with the magistrate may be used in lieu of an information to which the person cited may plead guilty or no contest and be sentenced or on which bail may be forfeited.
(b) With the magistrate's approval, a person may voluntarily forfeit bail without appearance being required in any case of a class B misdemeanor or less.
(c) Voluntary forfeiture of bail shall be entered as a conviction and treated the same as if the accused pleaded guilty.
(d) If the person cited is under 18 years of age, and if any of the charges allege a violation of Title 41, the court shall promptly mail a copy of the citation or a notice of the citation to the address as shown on the citation, to the attention of the parent or guardian of the defendant.
(2) An information shall be filed and proceedings held in accordance with the Rules of Criminal Procedure and all other applicable provisions of this code if the person cited:
(a) willfully fails to appear before a magistrate pursuant to a citation issued under Section 77-7-18;
(b) pleads not guilty to the offense charged; or
(c) does not deposit bail on or before the date set for the person's appearance.
(3) (a) The information is an original pleading.
(b) If a person cited waives by written agreement the filing of the information, the prosecution may proceed on the citation.


77-7-22. Failure to appear as misdemeanor.

Any person who willfully fails to appear before a court pursuant to a citation issued under the provisions of Section 77-7-18 is guilty of a class B misdemeanor, regardless of the disposition of the charge upon which he was originally cited.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:19 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's very hard to hear what's going on and what's being said while the guy is still in the car, but yeah, it does appear that the cop told him to get out after he refused to sign the citation for the purpose of tazing him.

The CBS interview has captions of the dialogue.
posted by ericb at 10:21 AM on November 28, 2007


Fuck you, I refuse to read that entire thing.

*shrieks as mr_crash_davis pulls out Taser*
posted by fandango_matt at 10:23 AM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'd be more likely to pull out a tater.

From where, I ain't tellin'.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:25 AM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


"...we have an entire legal system designed to redress such grievances..."

ND¢, we used to have a legal system designed to prevent such grievances. You like it better this way?
posted by newmoistness at 10:26 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


The guy follows the cop way too closely after getting out of car, and his right hand appears to be trying to get at something in his cargo pocket, even after the cop draws his taser and tells him to turn around. Rather than find out what the guy has in his pocket, the cop tasers him. Then while the cop is cuffing him, the wife gets out of the car and the guy comes up behind the cop again!

Yeah, this cop is a dick. But he's out there alone, stopping cars with no idea who's in them, and he has to decide based on the driver's behavior what level of danger he himself is in and what level of perceived risk he's going to accept.

I was discussing this video last weekend with three of my friends who happen to be an NYPD sergeant, a former CT state trooper, and a former MA trooper. The point they made is that the taser is classified in their training as less lethal than mace or the nightstick, and that lowers the danger a cop has to be in before it's drawn or used.

This cop saw a guy who was uncooperative and belligerent, and erred on the side of controlling the situation before the passenger got out and he had to deal with two people at once. He knew afterward that it hadn't been necessary this time, but he didn't know that then.
posted by nicwolff at 10:26 AM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


I know that a lot of police officers don't like having to explain the laws they're enforcing to civilians but if he had've spent a couple of minutes talking to him/telling him how he can protest it if he feels he's been wrong, this could've all been avoided.

No kidding.

This is not some political prisoner here. The guy was arguing with and disobeying a cop making a lawful traffic stop. When a cop stops you, you do what he says unless it is clearly illegal or outrageous. If, after the stop is over, you have questions or objections, we have an entire legal system designed to redress such grievances. You don't "fight for your rights" on the side of the road where a cop doesn't know if you have a gun or a knife and has to protect his safety first. You fight for your rights in court. No one was denying this guy that right.

You need to learn the difference between "can" and "should be able to." Just because a law is written in a way that a cop can get away with a hell of a lot doesn't mean those laws are good or worthwhile.

The guy went from getting a speeding ticket to being arrested to being tased in something like 5 to 10 seconds. And you expect someone who isn't involved in police confrontation on a daily basis to understand what's going on or whatever in that amount of time. It's ridiculous.

What you people (ND¢ and anyone agrees with him) is that police should be able to tase anyone who doesn't "perform" the way the police expect them to "perform" regardless of whether the person understands what's going on or not. There was an instance of police tasing a person who was in a diabetic coma a while ago, and another in canada where police tased someone with a mental condition that makes it hard for them to understand spoken words.

A couple years ago there was a famous video of the LAPD beating the crap out of a retarded kid, today, that kid would have probably been tased.

It's utterly absurd.
posted by delmoi at 10:27 AM on November 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


I'm not a fan of tasers, but I suspect this will hold up in court. The driver was oppositional and argumentative from the moment the officer walked up to the car (ironically, it sounded to me like, if the guy had used a little common sense and acknowledged he had been speeding, the officer might have let him off with a warning).

His attitude and demeanor once he was asked to get out of the car was threatening in nature (in my opinion). When he refused to follow the directions of the officer, the officer had the choice of engaging him physically, or using the taser.

Keep in mind that:

1. The officer was alone
2. There was another person in the car
3. He had no idea if there were weapons in the car, or on the driver.

There seems to be a lot of antagonism against LEOs here today, it feels a bit like it's based as much on commenters past history with law enforcement as it is about this incident.
posted by HuronBob at 10:28 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have kept my mouth shut on this taser business. I just graduated from the University of Florida and still live in Gainesville. In the last few months, I've gotten more than my share of taser news. I've pretty much tuned out all the taser posts on Digg and Reddit. I'm less discriminating in my MetaFilter reading, so I finally clicked on one of these posts.

The whole Andrew Meyer incident was pretty ambiguous. There were a lot of factors that made that situation a tough call.

That being said, fuck that cop. Seriously. Xmutex may have been right to poke fun at the earlier post, but fuck that cop. He should be stripped of a badge and forced to undertake some serious counseling.

I respect the positions that police officers are sometimes put into. Things can get heated and it can be intimidating if you're outnumbered, or if people become aggressive. There are a lot of things that could go wrong. I'm sick of the whole "Fuck the Police, free Mumia" shtick. I'd much rather have our police force than the Stasi or NVKD or whoever. Even so, watching that clip made my physically angry to the point where I imagined myself running that cop down on the highway.

This was obviously not one of those above mentioned tough situations. That cop was way out of line. Here's what really happened: some pathetic bully flipped out because he felt he wasn't being respected. He tasered that poor person because they had the audacity to turn there back on him. They were obviously not going to attack him or try to escape. He failed to communicate the severity of the situation from his perspective; and he completely lost his shit. That particular officer should never be allowed to deal with people again. I wouldn't trust him to take orders at a McDonald's.

The argument that tasers replace deadly force has proven itself pretty specious at this point. Either police are not receiving the proper training or the police force is disproportionately made up of sadists.

When the officer's victim was trying to get the cop to calm down, the officer just kept on getting more agitated. He repeatedly refused to read him his rights. That's infuriating. Anyone who defends the police officer in this situation should be ashamed of themselves.
posted by Telf at 10:29 AM on November 28, 2007 [13 favorites]


On review: I just realized how bad things are when I see myself typing, "I'd much rather have our police force than the Stasi or NVKD or whoever."
posted by Telf at 10:30 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


But I think a cop can flat-out take you into custody if you don't sign. Prolly depends on the laws in the jurisdiction.


Police spokesperson Sgt. Jeff Nigbur talks about the laws and procedure at the end of the CBS interview (starts at 5:02).
posted by ericb at 10:31 AM on November 28, 2007


Yeah, this cop is a dick. But he's out there alone, stopping cars with no idea who's in them, and he has to decide based on the driver's behavior what level of danger he himself is in and what level of perceived risk he's going to accept.

How much effort would it have taken for the cop to have explained what was going to happen if he didn't sign the ticket? Why not call for backup if the guy didn't sign it?

Instaid, the cop ratcheted up the situation himself instantly, and put himself into a situation that he needed to 'control'.
posted by delmoi at 10:31 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just watched it and it's a pretty fucked up situation all around, but I see why the cop actually tasered the guy. The cop couldn't control the guy since the guy was ignoring everything the cop was saying, he was walking back to his car when the cop told him to freeze, and he was fishing around in his right pocket at the same time.

I've had dozens of run-ins with bad cops (mostly on the bad end of getting busted for skateboarding and bike riding where I shouldn't have) but the one thing I never did ignore their basic instructions or try and walk away. When you start ignoring a cop, they have to do something and in this case the cop tasered the guy, but he certainly could have simply forced the guy to keep his hands on the hood of his police car.
posted by mathowie at 10:33 AM on November 28, 2007


Great. Time to fire up OutRageFilter once again. This has already been covered to death on Fark, Digg, Reddit, and youtube. I'm surprised that it took this long to get here.

This guy managed to get right up and seemed just fine, though. Maybe "Don't tase me bro" guy could take a few lessons.
posted by drstein at 10:33 AM on November 28, 2007


I guess I could appreciate these threads more if they didn't move so quickly from "here we have a cop displaying extremely questionable, possibly fireable judgement" to "COPS ARE EVIL! AMERICA IS A POLICE STATE! SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!"

Just for the record, in a police state:

a) that video never existed in the first place. The police do not document their own behaviour when they answer only to themselves.

b) If that video did exist, it certainly wouldn't have been handed over.

and

c) All of you people who watched that illegal video, and who were idiotic enough to mention that you had seen it in a public forum would be looking over your shoulder a lot just now.

--------------------

Also, I *really* wish that everyone here who is so black and white about "appropriate" force could spend a few days approaching cars full of pissed off people who most likely hated you before you even turned on the siren. I think this particular cop used poor discretion, but I am nowhere near as certain of that as a lot of you folks seem to be.
posted by tkolar at 10:35 AM on November 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


Whoops, turn their back on him. I apologize for the string post.
posted by Telf at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2007


the tasering was not a punishment

Sure it was. From the link Brandon Blatcher posted:

"Do you want another hit with this," the trooper asks.

"No. I want you to read me my rights," Massey replies.

"I want you to follow my instructions and do as you're told," Gardner says.


How is that not a punishment for not following instructions?
posted by scottreynen at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Rome. It's burning.
posted by Pecinpah at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2007


Here's the problem, the cop sucked and let the situation get out of hand. Why did he tell the guy to get out of the car and then TURN AROUND & WALK AWAY? What was that? The cop let the guy feel like they were going to have a little chat about the sign.

He needed to control the situation immediately after ordering the guy out of the car; he should have screamed at him until he put his hands on the car. That way the guy would know what was up.

It didn’t look right to me that the guy was walking behind the cop like that, but that’s becaue the cop was a dope.
posted by Wood at 10:39 AM on November 28, 2007


And actually the guy got tased twice. Once to nock him down, and a second time to roll over, but he couldn't roll over because he was still paralyzed from the first hit.

So that's another example of being tased for not "following an order", even when someone isn't capable of following an order. That's the same kind of thing that happened to Tabatabainejad in the UCLA tasing incident. The cops tell him to "get up or I'll tase you again", and yet, he can't get up. So they tase him again.

Seriously fucked up.
posted by delmoi at 10:39 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


newmoistness wrote...
we used to have a legal system designed to prevent such grievances.

Really? When was that exactly?

Video tapes on traffic stops is one of the greatest blows for civil liberties in years. 'Cuz believe me, when it was the cop's word against yours, the system did not bias in favor of believing you...
posted by tkolar at 10:41 AM on November 28, 2007


a) that video never existed in the first place. The police do not document their own behaviour when they answer only to themselves.

If the police can show videos like this and still keep their job and not suffer any repercussions, why would they bother to keep it secret? Just go on TV and explain all the "Cues" the guy was sending off and why need a good strong tasing.
posted by delmoi at 10:42 AM on November 28, 2007


he escalated the situation, and out came the Taser. Case closed.

No, NOT case closed. As a police officer, you don't get to use a weapon just because someone refuses to do what you say!

Assuming that the law allows the officer to arrest the man for not signing the ticket, there's a strict protocol to be followed.

While not strictly required, as a professional the officer has every business to warn the citizen: "If you do not sign this ticket, you'll be arrested," particularly in this case where the citizen in question was completely unthreatening in any way.

If the citizen continued to refuse to sign the ticket, the next stage that the officer must legally execute is to announce that the citizen is under arrest and attempt to arrest him.

Even then, the officer is not allowed to use his weapon unless the citizen resists arrest.

So as a cop someone "escalating" a situation does not give you the right to use force on them.

And why I flagged that original post? I'm sick, sick, sick to death of you psychopaths. You seem to rule everything now, you have an unending thirst for blood and pain and death. You're everywhere now: "I love America because America loves war."

That any human could watch some poor kid get illegally Tasered in front of his pregnant wife because he refused to sign a piece of paper and then jeer at him! I'm 45 years old and I still get shocked that people are willing to openly express such sentiments.

So I flagged it because I didn't want that piece of shit sitting at the top of the thread for time to come.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:44 AM on November 28, 2007 [16 favorites]


This link makes me too angry to even finish watching it. All I can think about are the seemingly endless retorts I'd have for that motherfucker if I were in that guy's position.

Yes, I know that makes it worse.

And yes, I wouldn't give a fuck.
posted by nonmerci at 10:45 AM on November 28, 2007


We are fucked. I now have a serious expectation of being tased in my lifetime just for being in the wrong place, or mis-hearing something said, or maybe just for the hell of it. Something to look forward to!
posted by everichon at 10:47 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


And apparently the cop wasn't required to arrest him, but had that choice. The cop could have either issued another ticket (which wouldn't need to be signed) or he could have written refused to sign on the ticket and left it at that. It wouldn't have made the ticket unenforceable.
posted by delmoi at 10:47 AM on November 28, 2007


ND¢, serious question, and I'm not trying to contribute to a pile-on here.

How would you feel about the situation if, instead of tasing the guy, the officer:
-shot the man in the kneecap(s) with his handgun?
-beat the man to the ground with a billyclub?
-simply aimed his gun or taser at the man in order to get him to put his hands on the car (which th, handcuffed him, and arrested him without causing physical harm to the man?

Although I don't think the tasing was necessary, I also don't think it was totally inappropriate either. At this point I suppose the courts will decide.

But instead of tasing... my wife witnessed a cop writing a PARKING ticket near a community college campus. When the girl that owned the car got there and got abusive then tore up the ticket. The cop cuffed her and arrested her. The crowd applauded.

Life was so much simpler in the pre-taser days.
posted by Doohickie at 10:50 AM on November 28, 2007


I apologize for the derail, and I find NDc's comments repugnant and the "fuck off" responses nearly as repugnant, but can we please stop with the sanctimonious "this is why I'm flagging you" comments? Just flag and move on. What does it contribute to the discussion?
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 10:54 AM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


What upsets me the most about this is that there is clearly another officer there who didn't seem to think that this was excessive force, and just stood there in the background doing nothing while the poor guy's pregnant wife is screaming hysterically with a child in the car.

With two officers, I don't see why ANYONE would feel threatened enough to use a taser. Unless the guy suddenly pulled out a gun and was running at the officer, or something similar.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:57 AM on November 28, 2007


When he refused to follow the directions of the officer, the officer had the choice of engaging him physically, or using the taser.

Or just handing him the ticket and letting him drive off. It was only a speeding ticket, and not even a ticket for big-time dangerous speeding, just a speed-trap ticket for a zero-danger driving infraction (he went over 40 on a wide empty highway).

If a very large truck had come by at about 100 mph just then and made the cop into a thin blue paste, so that the Taser wires were just left flapping in the breeze, I would definitely have said something like "holy fucking shit!" and then, I don't know, it's hard to say, but I might have laughed. That video needs a better ending. Are the writers still on strike in the US?
posted by pracowity at 10:58 AM on November 28, 2007


Now, look at anthill's excellent link. This is what a professional police officer should be doing! (I loved that officer, by the way. "If you don't pick up that up, I'm going to give you a ticket for littering." I died laughing!)

This officer remembers that work works for us. We're his employees and his responsibility is to us first -- even when we are being personally rude and obnoxious.

Police officers are only allowed to use violence in certain specifically controlled circumstances; where someone's is in danger or during the arrest process. A police state is nothing more or less than a state where the police are allowed to arbitrarily enforce their requests with violence.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:01 AM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm at work and I can't watch the video, but I'm glad ND¢ got all the attention he was after by leaping in to troll on the first comment.

He's too experienced a mefite to not have anticipated this reaction, and certainly would have clarified or elaborated on his opinion from the start if he'd really cared for any other outcome.
posted by hermitosis at 11:02 AM on November 28, 2007


Unicorn, huh? I didn't see another cop, but I also didn't watch more than 3 minutes of it.
posted by butterstick at 11:05 AM on November 28, 2007


ND¢: What you can't do is get out of your car during a lawful traffic stop and start making demands on a police officer.
mecran01: The cop told him to get out of the car. Did you watch the video? That's a tasing.
Actually, ND¢ didn't watch the video, we have forensic evidence of that. I'll note ND¢ posted the first reply in this thread, "I'd have tased his ass too." at 9:28, while the original post was at 9:21. The video is 9:58 long, so there is no way unless ND¢ has a "Youtube video accelerator" that he could have watched the entire video in the time it took him to start posting inane drivel.

ND¢, violating the laws of space and time? That's a tasin'...
posted by hincandenza at 11:06 AM on November 28, 2007 [17 favorites]


a) that video never existed in the first place. The police do not document their own behaviour when they answer only to themselves.

If the police can show videos like this and still keep their job and not suffer any repercussions, why would they bother to keep it secret? Just go on TV and explain all the "Cues" the guy was sending off and why need a good strong tasing.


Sorry, delmoi, that mealy-mouthed liberal mumbo-jumbo doesn't fly in the "police state" debate. There is only one kind of police state, only one mold: the East German Stasi version.

The continuum maps out thusly:

FREE MCHAPPY LAND<>STASI-ERA EAST GERMANY

For a time, there were rumours of a hyphen-length middle ground in between, consisting primarily of Soviet Canuckistan, which despite its socialized medicine did manage to send troops to Afghanistan and thus far dodge its Kyoto commitments. But as our border authorities have of late taken to electroshocking to death bewildered Polish-speaking stapler-wielding new arrivals at the airport, the middle ground appears to be gone. (On the other hand, that incident is being investigated by seven separate inquiries, so hope springs eternal.)
posted by gompa at 11:07 AM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


As usual both parties have fault in this matter. I think we need a national symposium on how law enforcement and civilians should act during a traffic stop. As many police abuse videos I've seen on Youtube I've seen just as many friendly lax officers get shot by seemingly timid drivers. The officer should have called for backup once the kid wouldn't sign - if he felt this guy was a threat then what is to stop his wife from shooting him when he struggled to arrest him?

The guy was talking way too much and was way too antsy and nervous. In my experience that really freaks out the cops (especially NJ state troopers). Do I blame the cop for tasering the guy - absolutely, do I blame the guy for putting the cop in the position where he saw that as an option yes. Two morons don't make a right.
posted by any major dude at 11:08 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's a shame that the cop is capable of walking still, let alone on-duty. The amount of "Well, he had it coming" and "He should've known that's what happens when you mouth off" makes me nauseous. Anyone who apologises for pieces of shit like that cop is just as bad as the cop.

You want to know why the cops act that way? Because you fucking give them permission to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:11 AM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


posted by Unicorn on the cob What upsets me the most about this is that there is clearly another officer there who didn't seem to think that this was excessive force, and just stood there in the background doing nothing while the poor guy's pregnant wife is screaming hysterically with a child in the car.

The second officer pulled up in another unit after the suspect was in custody.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:15 AM on November 28, 2007


When a cop stops you, you do what he says unless it is clearly illegal or outrageous.

Yes, BUT: There's a fine line between cooperating and waving your rights. For example, "Pop your trunk, m'kay?" is really asking you to consent to a search, but it sounds like an order. If you "cooperate", you're exposing yourself to unnecessary risks.

And many citizens -- and police officers -- don't KNOW what is "clearly illegal or outrageous". What if you believe the cop's orders are "clearly illegal and outrageous" but the cop disagrees? Ultimately, it takes a courtroom to determine this. On the street, though, the cop has all the power and the citizen has none.

Really, though, I think cops thrive on this ambiguity. A cop can grab you without warning, and if you yank your arm away, as any reasonable person would, that's "resisting arrest", if not "assaulting a police officer". Nevermind that you had no warning whatsoever that you were, in fact, "under arrest". The *cop* knew he was "arresting" you; it doesn't matter that you didn't.

I would really, really like to see a Supreme Court judgement that says a police officer (unless he's being threatened) is required to say, "I'm placing you under arrest." before you are considered to be under arrest. I think this is a bigger deal than reading Miranda Rights, which the guy in the video kept demanding for some reason -- I don't think he knew, at that point, that he was under arrest. I think he thought a wack-job thug of a cop was torturing him because he challenged his ego. I think the guy showed great restraint and self-control. At what point do you defend yourself?

If nothing else, the video demonstrates terrible police work. All the cop had to say after the guy refused to sign was "Sir, if you do not sign this, I am required to place you under arrest." Clearly the guy didn't know this; he just thought the ticket was bullshit and wanted to argue it away on the spot, rather than deal with the hassle of court. Just having to defend yourself in court carries significant costs in time and money, especially if it's an out-of-state court, even if you're declared innocent.

Personally, I think the cop should be in jail for assault with deadly weapon, with my patented triple-penalty for commiting the crime under color of authority. There was absolutely no need for that other than to stroke his own ego.

Here's a fun scenario: Imagine if the pregnant wife was driving and *she* refused to sign, was ordered out of the car, and was tased IN THE BACK while the cop stood back and gloated. Now imagine you're the husband. What would you do?

I know what I'd do.
posted by LordSludge at 11:16 AM on November 28, 2007 [12 favorites]


I know this is about tasing, but I love that the guy was so upset that he was being given a speeding ticket. Who doesn't just say to himself, "Damn. I need to watch my speed or look out for cops more efficiently." Well, lots and lots of people, it would seem.

He is asking to see the speed limit sign. That is great. Apparently, he thinks that the cop is going to get back on the highway, proceed to an exit, turn around, get back on the highway in the opposite direction, exit again, and then get back on the highway to show him a speed limit sign. Well, that seems perfectly reasonable.

I have about one client per week who tells me that the "cop wouldn't show me his radar. That's against the law." Not only does the cop not have to show you his radar, he doesn't have to use his radar. He can pace you. He can even estimate your speed just by observing your car. Do these people think that speeding tickets didn't exist before police had radar?

Another of my favorites is, "62? Now how could I be running 62? My car won't even go 62!" What the fuck are you driving -- the vehicle of your neighbor Flintstone? What car doesn't go 62? Again, apparently at quite a few. I hear that one about once a month.

Anyway, the tasing is terrible, but it is fun to watch one of my jackass cliet-types in action.
posted by flarbuse at 11:16 AM on November 28, 2007


Speaking from a British perspective, I am *never* going to Utah.
Seriously.

You have a polite driver who asked to know what speed the officer thought he was doing, and wanted to show the officer the speed sign, before signing a document he didn't know the contents of, based on an offence the officer wouldn't tell him anything about, based on facts the officer wouldn't tell him either.

He clearly thought he was getting out of the car to go look at the speed sign, at the officer's instruction. Instead he gets threatened with arrest, virtually instantly has a weapon trained on him, and is then tased repeatedly in a matter of seconds, right next to fast-moving traffic for not doing exactly what the officer said on a couple of seconds notice, despite clearly being scared witless and looking like he wanted to run from the man pointing a weapon at him.

The officer's complete lack of professionalism and basic 'do what I tell you without argument, *right this second* or you get to ride the taser - no? *zap*' is frankly scary. The officer caused that situation from start to finish. That he still is wearing a badge is scary - that people can even consider for one second that his approach and handling of the incident was reasonable scares me even more. I can see, once he's at the taser holding stage, it's probably too late for the poor sap wanting to know what he's being cited for to escape unscathed - if it's a choice between being reasonable, and taking any risk to himself, the officer is going to make him ride the potentially lethal tase. But that it got to that point at all is entirely down to the cop's outright bullying attitude and total impression that he is the lord of all below him. He won't even read him his miranda rights, or pull him out of the way of traffic. The wife is frankly lucky she didn't get tased too - if he'd had a second unfired taser, I honestly believe he would have.

If a british cop behaved like that, he'd be on suspension within a day, and likely out of uniform for life within a fortnight - according to my friend's family which has several senior coppers in it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:17 AM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


I know what I'd do.

Get tased so that sociopathic fascist enablers can giggle and masturbate furiously to the video on YouTube.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:18 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Speaking of the "don't tase be bro" guy, here is a video of a guy heckling Guiliani, and he's clearly argumentative, but no one gets tased, because no one needs to be tased. But if that guy had been tased, a lot of the people defending this cop would say it was a perfictly fine thing to do, even though it would clearly have been unnecessary
posted by delmoi at 11:19 AM on November 28, 2007


Another of my favorites is, "62? Now how could I be running 62? My car won't even go 62!" What the fuck are you driving -- the vehicle of your neighbor Flintstone? What car doesn't go 62? Again, apparently at quite a few. I hear that one about once a month.

There was actually a British driver who got out of a ticket by demonstrating that his model of car was patently incapable of the speed the officer claimed he was doing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:20 AM on November 28, 2007


posted by LordSludge Imagine if the pregnant wife was driving and *she* refused to sign, was ordered out of the car, and was tased IN THE BACK while the cop stood back and gloated. Now imagine you're the husband. What would you do? I know what I'd do.

Update your Twitter feed?

What are you doing?
Watching my pregnant wife get Tasered in the back by a gloating cop. OMG!
posted by fandango_matt at 11:21 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I watched this video last night when it was posted on Boing Boing and had the reaction of "I'd have tased his ass too." which is why that was my comment in this thread. It was not an attempt at trolling or a cry for attention. In retrospect, it was a poor way of expressing my opinion about this video, and was an especially poor way to start off this thread and caused a lot of people to get upset. I should have said "I don't think that the cop handled the situation as well as he could have, but I can understand why he did what he did as the individual that he tased was failing to obey his commands and acting in a way that could be interpreted as threatening." There are a lot of bad cops out there that do bad things. I don't think that this is one of them. Incompetent maybe, one with poor judgment, maybe, but I honestly don't think that this cop was out to abuse his authority or just looking for someone to tase. A cop has to be able to protect himself and has no way of knowing whether someone is armed or not and no way of knowing who is going to try and attack him or her. If you want to contest a ticket, follow an officer's instructions and contest it in traffic court. I am home for lunch and just watched the video again and had the exact same reaction.
posted by ND¢ at 11:22 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think everyone here thinks the driver was acting like a jerk. I think most of us believe there was probably justification to arrest him.

We all agree that generally, when a cop tells you to do something, you should do it.

Agreeing to that does not mean that you should tase somebody for not doing it or for acting like a jerk.
posted by empath at 11:29 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


tkolar writes "Also, I *really* wish that everyone here who is so black and white about 'appropriate' force could spend a few days approaching cars full of pissed off people who most likely hated you before you even turned on the siren. I think this particular cop used poor discretion, but I am nowhere near as certain of that as a lot of you folks seem to be."

That's the job. If you can't handle it, or if it causes you to lose your judgment, you should be in a different line of work.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:34 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


flarbuse writes "Anyway, the tasing is terrible, but it is fun to watch one of my jackass cliet-types in action."

Jackass clients? Too bad you have so much contempt for the people whom you represent. Hope you never represent me.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:36 AM on November 28, 2007


Compare with this traffic stop . Ticketee goes absolutely apeshit, grabs the cop's ticket book, curses, swears.... watch how the cop handles it.

Ah, ya see there chummy, you're video is of a traffic stop in Maine. And the Maine troopah's a little more laid back than the ones in Utah, dontcha know? Now the fellah that the troopah pulled over was most likely wicked agitated because he was on his way to pickin' up some Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy and a Powerball ticket. Just a different perspective up here, ayuh.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:37 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


ND¢: not everyone already knows that if they don't do exactly as they're told by a Utah police officer immediately without question, they will be tased repeatedly and then 'put in jail'.

It is the duty of the police officer to explain to the suspect what he's doing, why he's doing it, and what he's going to do before he does it. The officer did none of those, unless you include 'turn around and put your hands behind your back! turn around and put your hands behind your back! *tase* Well, hurts a bit don't it. perhaps you should have followed my instructions'

He is virtually happy he tased the guy to his colleague. Didn't do what I said, so I tased his argumentative ass, paraphrasing.

The suspect didn't do what he was supposed to. He instead did what many people do when they're accused of something they don't think they did - they argue. He wanted to know what speed the officer thought he was doing - he got tased twice for daring to ask what he's accused of, and what he's being asked to sign. He clearly didn't realise how trigger happy the cop was - I doubt he's had much dealings or any with Utah police before.

I stand by my original assessment - complete unprofessionalism from the officer. Instead of controlling the situation peacefully and calmly, by explaining what he was doing and the legal consequences of non-compliance, including that he'd have the chance to contest it in court, the officer caused it to get to the point where tasering the guy and quite possibly his pregnant wife was his best course of action. That he gloated over doing it shows he should never wear a badge again.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:37 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like how I can avoid a good bit of the encroaching police state by not owning a car.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:39 AM on November 28, 2007


Because of the volatile and unpredictable nature of traffic stops, I was almost willing to give the cop the benefit of the doubt, but the more I looked, the more I was really unhappy with what I saw;

The officer ordered the suspect out of the car, and did not do enough to make it clear that he was placing him under arrest.

He never read the suspect his Miranda rights. That alone should have been enough to get him in hot water.

He used the tazer as a compliance device. That is becoming increasingly common and to be frank, is complete bullshit. Tazers were designed to give officers a less than lethal option, it is not meant to be used when someone is disobeying in a non-violent way.

The more of this I see, the more I think that it might be time to take this tool away from the police.

And if I had any questions about my read of the situation the cop said: "he took a ride on the taser"

He clearly doesn't respect the tool that he is using, or it's impact on those whom he uses it. He makes light of it, as if it were funny. If for no other reason than this, he should not be allowed to continue being a police officer. He is not mentally equipped for it, nor does he have a disposition that is conductive to being a 'man of the peace'.

In other words: Fuck him.
posted by quin at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


The cop in anthill's video was completely awesome. This guy was pathetic. I can see why, once things got to the point where the cop turned around and saw some argumentative guy walking too closely to him, that he may have felt threatened enough to justify using the taser.

But he handled the situation in a completely piss-poor way to begin with. He was scowling and sighing like a retail clerk instead of projecting any confidence or authority. He had the option of being very patient, clear and authoritative, or if he felt the situation demanded a firm hand, he should have told the guy he was facing arrest, or gotten him out of the car and made him place his hands on his car.

Slipshod, pissy, easily scared: that's how this cop came across. Maybe he was having a bad day -- maybe -- but he was damn lucky he didn't run across someone who really was ready to hurt him, because I think he wouldn't have handled that situation very well, either.
posted by maudlin at 11:43 AM on November 28, 2007


Miranda rights don't have to be read until questioning.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:43 AM on November 28, 2007


Anybody got a handle on the 'fuck' count in this thread? It's like I'm watching Deadwood, though there's not been a cocksucker thrown out yet.

Is there a 'fuck' record for MeFi?
posted by xmutex at 11:46 AM on November 28, 2007


ArkhanJG writes "If a british cop behaved like that, he'd be on suspension within a day, and likely out of uniform for life within a fortnight - according to my friend's family which has several senior coppers in it."

And that's the problem. This level of violence from LEOs has become acceptable in the US, or it always sort of was anyway, but now we have more weapons. It is possible to enforce the law without being a brute, but so many people here think that's the only solution.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:48 AM on November 28, 2007


We're his employees and his responsibility is to us first -- even when we are being personally rude and obnoxious.

And ArkhanJG seconded.
posted by ersatz at 11:49 AM on November 28, 2007


Very true, Pope Guilty however, reading them to the guy might have calmed him down somewhat, as he clearly didn't know that. (too many detective shows I think).
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:50 AM on November 28, 2007


Family Shocked, Outraged after Deputy Shoots Pet Dog in their Yard
posted by homunculus at 11:58 AM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Two morons don't make a right.

I keep coming back to the cop and what he was thinking. When I hear his explanation to the other cop, I get the vibe that he is regretting having used the taser on the guy and is trying to cover his butt by minimizing the tasing and its effect on the guy. When he's "joking around" it sounds more like nervous laughter to me. He knew he messed up and is trying to spin the situation so he doesn't get in trouble. At least with the police department, it seemed to work pretty well.
posted by Doohickie at 12:00 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm just not sure that blind obedience is the appropriate response to every encounter with the police/authority. And it does seem a bit disingenuous to argue that the cop was just "protecting himself" ND¢. What precisely was the threatening gesture? Was it the pregnant wife attempting to get out of the car? The turning around and walking away? Oh yes, the man did have his hand in his pocket... Maybe we USians should be a little less supportive of someone using brutal preemptive force because they are afraid. In this instance of course, the cop was likely just your average fascist (pig).
posted by Raoul de Noget at 12:02 PM on November 28, 2007


The American public are easily abused. Just remember not to rip off the curtain (nsfw).
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:04 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like how I can avoid a good bit of the encroaching police state by not owning a car.

I like how I can avoid a good bit of the encroaching police state by not using the telephone or the internet, by not walking down the street of any major city, and by not engaging in any political or social activism.
posted by facetious at 12:11 PM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


Compare with this traffic stop.

I think the Utah cop was totally in the wrong, but I kinda wish that Maine cop had casually tased that shrieking guy, though. Just for fun. (Ayuh, it's wrong. I know. But he was wicked annoying.)
posted by miss lynnster at 12:18 PM on November 28, 2007


Since tasers are non-lethal, er, "non-lethal", howabout every cop who is issued one gets to be on the receiving end once, just so they know exactly what they're wielding?
posted by notsnot at 12:21 PM on November 28, 2007


Speaking from a British perspective, I am *never* going to Utah anywhere but Maine.
Seriously.


Fixed.
posted by mecran01 at 12:23 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Since tasers are non-lethal, er, "non-lethal", howabout every cop who is issued one gets to be on the receiving end once, just so they know exactly what they're wielding?"

That's standard procedure in many police departments, actually (at least in Canada). Before you're issued with one, you get hit with one.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 12:27 PM on November 28, 2007


I'll bet the guy who was tazed is a typical child of the 80's - brought up by parents who told him he was special. This was reinforced when everyone on his team got a trophy, even though they didn't win. He probably figures the rules apply to everyone BUT him. If he had just been a little smarter, he would have signed the ticket, then got mommy and daddy to pay for a big lawyer to fight it in court. Not too smart if you ask me, and the way he was acting he shouldn't be surprised he was tazed.
posted by GreyFoxVT at 12:27 PM on November 28, 2007


Ah, ya see there chummy, your video is of a traffic stop in Maine.

Also, it was in 1992. I doubt that Maine Staties had tasers back then.

I'm about ready to conclude that this particular device has too much gee-whiz 'fun' built into it for it to be routinely handed out to cops.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:28 PM on November 28, 2007


I'm just not sure that blind obedience is the appropriate response to every encounter with the police/authority.

No I don't think that blind obedience is the proper response to dealings with the police either. I have recommended to everyone that I know that they keep a copy of the ACLU's Know Your Rights: What to Do If You're Stopped by the Police in their car at all times. The first thing that that pamphlet says is "Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions. Don't get into an argument with the police."

I think that people from other countries may have a hard time understanding what is at stake for an American cop. Other countries have sensible gun laws. America does not. Any person that a cop pulls over could have a gun, so cops here have to be extremely careful when dealing with suspects in order to protect themselves. This does not mean that they should go around tasing people carelessly, but it does mean that they have to make judgment calls constantly where one side of the equation is "I may get shot."

When I get pulled over by a cop, the first thing I do is put both of my hands on top of my steering wheel where they can be seen. I do not move them until he or she asks for my license and registration. I provide him or her with that paperwork and I answer his or her questions politely. I do not see this as a forfeit of my rights or being a sheep living in a police state. I see this as recognizing that the cop has a tough job to do and it is in my interest to make it easier for them to do it. If I felt that my rights were being violated, I would calmly explain why that was the case and ask for the information recommended in the ACLU pamphlet, including the officers' badge and patrol car numbers. I would then make a complaint through the proper channels.
posted by ND¢ at 12:28 PM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


More Taxicab and Limo drivers are shot in the line of duty than policemen. I don't see Cab drivers Tazing innocent people for no reason.
posted by Megafly at 12:32 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sadly, notsnot, they usually are (plenty of youtube videos of police being tased in their training session). The problem isn't that the cops don't know how it feels to be tased, it's that- like the street fighting video yesterday- people can easily forget the pain they've felt when dishing out pain to others. So a cop tases, and there's no feedback to them to discourage it's frivolous use. Yeah, they felt the tasing pain once, years ago, when first introduced- but never again.

Now, if they implemented something like "Every tasing requires an immediate suspension without pay/backpay until the matter is investigated and resolved", or even just "Every tasing requires full tasings back at the precinct", then cops would only use it if they really, really, really felt it was necessary.
GregFoxVT: I'll bet the guy who was tazed is a typical child of the 80's - brought up by parents who told him he was special. This was reinforced when everyone on his team got a trophy, even though they didn't win. He probably figures the rules apply to everyone BUT him. If he had just been a little smarter, he would have signed the ticket, then got mommy and daddy to pay for a big lawyer to fight it in court. Not too smart if you ask me, and the way he was acting he shouldn't be surprised he was tazed.
The fuck?! Projection much, dude? And now, for your next trick are you going to diagnose a Florida coma victim from a short viewing of a video tape, Senator?!
posted by hincandenza at 12:32 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll bet that GreyFox character has a whole basement full of strawmen that he can drag out anytime he feels the need to blame someone for getting in the way of the Establishment machine. Also, I'll bet that his socks don't match or get washed too often, and that the part of VT he's from is way the hell over by the NY border.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:33 PM on November 28, 2007


GreyFoxVT:

I'll bet the guy who was tazed is a typical child of the 80's - brought up by parents who told him he was special.


Yeah, and did you hear how he went on about the cop reading Miranda to him and asking what the charge was? Not only did he think he was special, he probably also though he had civil rights. I mean, what a N00B!

We should made it a part of our civics classes to teach people that no one is special, with the exception of persons at certain higher socio-economic levels and/or judges who forget they are packing a .38 in their purse when boarding a plane.

The essence of good citizenship is recognition that one is, at best, a source of state revenue and, at worst, quasi-criminal.

All that Constitutional stuff is just to impress the foreigners.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:38 PM on November 28, 2007 [6 favorites]


Is there a 'fuck' record for MeFi?

Well, there's this record of fucks, but I don't suppose that's what you meant.
posted by cortex at 12:38 PM on November 28, 2007


I suspect the people who are okay with tasering people for not cooperating are not familiar with what it feels like to be tasered. From what I have read, it sort of feels like Hulk Hogan just tore through a wall, seized you, and beat you within in inch of your life. And I hate the feeling of getting electrocuted. I'd rather get beaten by Hulk Hogan. At least you go numb for a little while, rather than feeling electricity prickling its way through ever part of your body, causing your muscles to spasm uncontrollably, and frying your nerves.

Wasn't it a few years ago cops would mace anyone who got out of control? I've been maced. I'd rather be maced than tasered. Oh, those halcyon days of yore.

I can't wait until other non-lethal tools of control become the court of first resort for cops. Moved your hands too quickly and spoke too loudly during a traffic stop? That's a waterboarding. And, by that time, I expect our population will have become so apathetic that they will think the cop was justified.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:39 PM on November 28, 2007


ND¢, you're a cop's wet dream.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:40 PM on November 28, 2007


Current fuck (or variations thereof) count= 45.

Obviously some people aren't pulling their weight.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:42 PM on November 28, 2007


Fuck fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck.

There's my share.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:45 PM on November 28, 2007


Obviously some people aren't pulling their weight.

Fuck those fuckers.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:52 PM on November 28, 2007


What a fucking thug.

He was a bored bully from the start of things. "License and registration, now .." That sandy highway's so boring, he's got to invent confrontation.

"He took a ride on the taser." Shop talk for a their pocket torture devices. They've such enthusiasm for shocking people with darts and wires that they've cooked up slang. Makes you wonder how common this is.

Seems that every time someone dies soon after tasering, they're awful quick to quote some doctor willing to say that the of ordeal being shouted down and shocked into submission and the heart attack the suspect suffered weren't related.

Swear to god I once read that the suspect went into diabetic shock at the same time as his tasering! Golly, what a coincidence!
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:52 PM on November 28, 2007


I've elected to not sign quite a few tickets from 1984-1986, 18-20 years old. I didn't get beat/shot/arrested for it. I't s another clear cut case of poice abusing their powers. We'll have to revisit after the case is settled. I predict a nice check for the tasee. BTW, the cops here in New Orleans, are way beyond abusive. Read the news, they're beating up citizens in the quarter all the time. Usually the cops get fired for it.
posted by winks007 at 12:57 PM on November 28, 2007


"He is asking to see the speed limit sign. That is great. Apparently, he thinks that the cop is going to get back on the highway, proceed to an exit, turn around, get back on the highway in the opposite direction, exit again, and then get back on the highway to show him a speed limit sign. Well, that seems perfectly reasonable."

Or, you know, they could have walked back to the sign.
posted by nthdegx at 12:58 PM on November 28, 2007


The fuck?! Projection much, dude? And now, for your next trick are you going to diagnose a Florida coma victim from a short viewing of a video tape, Senator?!

cops taser a person in a coma.
posted by delmoi at 12:59 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


tkolar:

Just for the record, in a police state:

a) that video never existed in the first place. The police do not document their own behaviour when they answer only to themselves.


Oh for the love of god, we've already had plenty of threads about police officers demanding video cameras being handed over when they're used to tape them! And cameras in vehicles can be used to support either side, don't forget, especially when they're kept by the police and if anyone has the chance to tamper with evidence, it's them.

I don't know, maybe I shouldn't be reading this as the police organization itself is directly organized against the people they're serving, maybe it's not so bad yet. But the rise in taser abuse cases is worrisome, and must have -some- explanation.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2007


Everybody who serves on a jury to decide cases like this, and everyone who is given permission to use a taser in any capacity, should be tased unexpectedly first.

That way -- and only that way -- will they be fit to understand what a tasing is, and under what circumstances they are warranted.
posted by davejay at 1:02 PM on November 28, 2007


"cops taser a person in a coma"

Well, all the cop knows is the person wasn't complying. Figuring out why, I suspect, is above the average flatfoot's pay grade.

And not nearly as much fun.

P.S. Fuck.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 1:02 PM on November 28, 2007


The guy was walking away from the cop, disobeying a direct order and reaching his hands into his pockets. That's asking for trouble from a cop who already has his taser out.
posted by dhammond at 1:06 PM on November 28, 2007


The sad thing about tasering is that it has turned into a tool for officers to exact immediate punishment on suspected criminals for the purpose of establishing their dominance over the suspect. Looking at the larger picture, this isn't so much about cops physically defending themselves in a non-lethal way through tasering, as it is using the taser to create a culture of submission.

Get out of the car. No? Taser.
Sign the ticket. No? Taser.
Shut the fuck up. No? Taser.
Do a little dance. Get down tonight. No? Taser.

And frankly, submitting is not something white people are use to, amirite?
posted by phaedon at 1:07 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


ND¢: I would then make a complaint through the proper channels.

We've gone down that road.

homunculus: Check this shit.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:10 PM on November 28, 2007


Everybody take a deep breath, man. Remember the civility discussion we had a couple of weeks ago on Metatalk?

Empath pretty ,much nailed it. The guy was naive in the extreme and not very bright. The cop should have explained that he could arrest the driver for not signing the certificate BEFORE asking him to step out of the car. He also should have left him with that knowledge and gone back to his cruiser hile he had the registration etc and let the guy sit and calm down.

Lastly. The cop should not have pulled his weapon when he did. It was a forgone conclusion from there as the cops hostility drove the action from that point.

HOWEVER the cop, while not very well trained, certainly had the right to feel threatened if somebody turns and walks back to the car - especially a young able bodied fit man.

Also. Note the guys hands after he turns and says "whats wrong with you!?" to the cop. His hands stray down to his belt and pockets. This is a red alert moment to anybody trained in self defense.

At that point, if I were the cop I would have acted as well.

It should have never gotten to that point.

Instead of all this blind outrage y'all should insist on adequate training, professional conduct, and proper investigation out of your LEOs. Maybe pay attention to the local tax levies when your cops ask for money for more training. Obviously they need it.
posted by tkchrist at 1:10 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


When I get pulled over by a cop, the first thing I do is put both of my hands on top of my steering wheel where they can be seen. I do not move them until he or she asks for my license and registration.

When I get pulled over by a cop, the first thing I do is apply electrical shocks to myself. I do not stop doing this until I am law-abiding.
posted by regicide is good for you at 1:14 PM on November 28, 2007 [9 favorites]


Pick up that can.
posted by chunking express at 1:16 PM on November 28, 2007


Throw it in the trash can.
posted by chunking express at 1:17 PM on November 28, 2007


LEOS?

What a hysterically self-aggrandizing acronym for a group of people whose over-reacting out of fear and the need for Male Enhancement have become SOP.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 1:18 PM on November 28, 2007


"It's a bullshit story! It's idiotic. Two lame-brains chasing each other across Texas! Are you kidding? Who do you think's going to see a film like that?" -- Austin (True West, Sam Shepard)
posted by muppetboy at 1:19 PM on November 28, 2007


Whenever a cop pulls you over, it's a good idea to immediately taze them -- you know, just in case they're one of the "bad" cops. Can't be too careful.

Besides, it doesn't do any permanent damage, right?
posted by LordSludge at 1:19 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


IMO, the distribution of 'non-lethal' weaponry to law enforcement is the last step to a police state.

Next to last, empath. There's still one little hurdle to clear.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:20 PM on November 28, 2007


More taser shit huh? well I guess I'll necropost this.
I think the major thing that concerns me about tasers is they are treated as a non lethal use of force, they are not thought of as an extreme measure, thus the prevalence of use goes way up. Tasers are seen as an automatic good tool to use, not a step to take if absolutely necessary, but a step to take if someone is not acting 100% the way some police want them to act. Hell there was just a story about a fella who passed out in a diabetic coma on a bus who was tasered because the police found thought he was being deliberately unresponsive.
In this era where water boarding is seen as justified it is not really surprising that authorities are turning towards more, increased use of extreme measures of perceived non-lethal means of control. Pain no longer counts, only acquiescence.
Cops are seeing people not as those there are suppose to protect and respect, but as potential sources of danger and problems. An antagonistic mindset perpetrates increased incidents of conflict, and when that happens the well organized (increasingly paramilitary), well armed side always wins.
posted by edgeways at 1:23 PM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Rather than its intended use as a (usually) nonlethal substitute for a bullet, the taser is continuously used as a tool for lazy police to immediately immobilize a "person of interest" who's asking too many questions.

One way to deal with this might be to build tasers that also shock the officer. Not enough to incapacitate by any stretch, but enough so that every time you pull the trigger, it hurts like a sonofabitch.

Or hook it up to something so that every time the officer pulls the taser trigger, he's forced to shit his pants. Harmless -- you can still wrestle people to the ground and fire your weapon with full pants -- but deterring.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:26 PM on November 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


Or they can treat taser use exactly as they treat firearms discharges-- mandatory administrative leave and an investigation.
posted by empath at 1:33 PM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
posted by hermitosis at 1:36 PM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Do a little dance. Get down tonight. No? Taser.

If you offer to "make a little love", you can probably avoid the Tasering.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Another interesting count:

Elapsed time from when the officer tells Massey to put his hands behind his back to his drawing the Taser:

0 seconds.

He does both almost simultaneously.

If one claims that the Taser was drawn because Massey was non-compliant, that would mean only clairvoyants could escape a good Tasin' *





*Of course, they would still be Tased for some other reason. LEOs don't let their buzz get harshed that easy.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 1:49 PM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Hahahaaha. I just watched the video, and my primary reaction is that pissed off snarky Utahns are hilarious. There's no swearing or coffee in this video.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:51 PM on November 28, 2007


These cases raise some serious need for comparative anthropology. All of the arguments against if this is a necessary precaution, is this too much force et cetera et cetera, are worthless when noticing that there are many countries where police just won't do this shit and still get their job done. Are americans so much worse as people, or why do you think that your people deserve worse treatment and your police less professionalism? Why have you fallen so much below par? Please stand up before you drag the rest of the world to this level. I know there are countries that are worse, but you were supposed to be about freedom and stuff.
posted by Free word order! at 1:53 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


tl;dr but I wanted to respond to NDC's remark:
If this guy wanted to contest his ticket he could have gone to the courthouse to do so. What you can't do is get out of your car during a lawful traffic stop and start making demands on a police officer. I am as much against abuse of authority as the next guy, but I think the cop was within his rights to tase the guy.

The officer did not explain what signing the ticket meant. Usually the officer says something along the lines of "Signing this ticket merely acknowledges that you have received the ticket. It is not an admission of guilt, and you have the right to contest the ticket in a court of law, do you understand?"

I've received a lot of traffic tickets in my day, and the officers nearly always explained what it is they were giving me, and never gave me any grief when I asked if I could take a moment to read the citation before signing.

But no matter what, it is really sad how common it is for people to believe that it is okay for officers to attack somebody with the purpose of causing physical pain, if there is a disagreement on something.

If this was the 1960s, NDC would be rooting for the batons, the fire hoses and the national guard. Sadly, he wouldn't be alone.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 1:58 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


The cop obviously believed that this was one of those times, and I am saying that I can see why he might think that based on the guy's actions.

So politely refusing to sign a paper is a situation where potentially lethal force is justified? Just wow.

Your idea of situations that require potentially lethal force is clearly different than mine.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 2:03 PM on November 28, 2007


tkchrist:
HOWEVER the cop, while not very well trained, certainly had the right to feel threatened if somebody turns and walks back to the car - especially a young able bodied fit man.

Also. Note the guys hands after he turns and says "whats wrong with you!?" to the cop. His hands stray down to his belt and pockets. This is a red alert moment to anybody trained in self defense.


Here, I believe, is where we part ways:

I recognize that being a police officer is not just a difficult job, it's an amazingly difficult job. To be called upon to go out every day and face potential loss of limb or life in exchange for little salary... it's a job I frankly would not want. Us law-abiders should all consider how difficult it is for a police officer to do his job, when he must recognize some freak could pull out a weapon and kill him pretty much on a whim.

But that's just the thing. Being a police officer is intrinsically dangerous. It cannot be made "safe." Going into that occupation means you are choosing to roll the dice every day.

When a suspect reaches for his belt, that does not give the police officer the right to taser him instantly because he MIGHT be reaching for a gun. There are a hundred things he could be reaching for, including and especially his wallet. Until the gun is seen, the police officer is not allowed to assume that's what's being reached for, just as I should not be allowed to taser you just because you reach for your pocket. Being a police officer should not grant one any personal rights unavailable to ordinary citizens.

I'm not saying that police officers should just roll over and -die- when threatened, or that their hard job should not be made easier. But they cannot be made safer, or their job easier, in a way that harms the populace they are ostensibly serving, and producing a culture of fear in law-abiding citizens by tasering them at any excuse is harmful, period.
posted by JHarris at 2:06 PM on November 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


To clarify why I think you are insane, ND.

Tasers are supposed to be used in situations where lethal force would be the only other option. They are supposed to provide a non-lethal alternative.

The only proper time to use a taser is when lethal force would be required otherwise.

Watch the video again, and ask yourself as you do, if the young man deserved to die.

If the answer is "No, he does not deserve to die", then the officer should not have tased him.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:08 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Tasers are supposed to be used in situations where lethal force would be the only other option.

That is not what the stated and public policy of many police departments says. For instance, Jacksonville says that Tasers may be used when an individual poses "an articulable threat to the officer and/or another person." Tasers are not just a substitute for guns.

So, asking if the tazee deserved to die is meaningless. It doesn't relate to Tazer use.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:25 PM on November 28, 2007


Well, to be fair, the guy in the coma looked like he was reaching for a weapon. *smirk*

I think ND¢ makes some fair points about how to respond during a traffic stop. Folks should know their rights, but be polite and not give the appearance of being a threat. The cop might have thought the guy was reaching for a weapon. The cops dialogue has to be taken into account there.
Overall though, I think it was unprofessional and handled poorly.
And I rather like the idea that police officers do have to worry about an armed populace. I don’t for a minute think police violence is -escalated- as a result of that. Quite the contrary. (And if it were my pregnant wife getting tased I’d turn Vernal, Utah into a charnal pit).
And video, as valuable as it is, doesn’t matter much if it doesn’t ultimately make a difference to the hearing body.

Oh, and
*flags own post*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:27 PM on November 28, 2007


I'm fucking flagging the whole fucking works of ya, ya fucking fucks!
Glad to be of assistance.
posted by SpannerX at 2:35 PM on November 28, 2007


Dipsomaniac opined:

That is not what the stated and public policy of many police departments says. For instance, Jacksonville says that Tasers may be used when an individual poses "an articulable threat to the officer and/or another person." Tasers are not just a substitute for guns.

So, asking if the tazee deserved to die is meaningless. It doesn't relate to Tazer use.


That's odd. I was at a shooting range this weekend which sold guns. And Tasers. The posters for the Advanced Taser described it as a "less lethal alternative". Not non-lethal. And that's from the manufacturer. It most certainly does relate.

Police may have their own descriptions. Then again, many police departments bought dowsing rods too. So just how well informed are they about anything?

The point remains that every time a Taser is used it is potentially lethal and should be used accordingly. Accordingly means not as a substitute for exertion and not simply because the officer in question lacks proper patience, training, common sense or is simply a psychological outlier.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 2:35 PM on November 28, 2007


It should have never gotten to that point.

Exactly. If you only looked at the last five seconds of video before the guy gets tasered, you might think it was justified, but why in gods name did it ever get to that point? Because the cop was freaking the fuck out from the start.

The guy should have signed the ticket, and fought the case. When he didn't, the cop should have just marked down that the guy refused to sign it. It wouldn't have made any difference in the DA's case, signing the thing is a formality, and the Police commissioner said so in this interview there wasn't even any reason to arrest him. The cop was only doing that to be an ass.
posted by delmoi at 2:43 PM on November 28, 2007


The posters for the Advanced Taser described it as a "less lethal alternative". Not non-lethal. And that's from the manufacturer. It most certainly does relate.

No, it doesn't relate in that context about 'deserving to die', because it was not a situation where Tazers are ONLY an alternative to a firearm. That's just not so.

There is NOTHING in a policeman's arsenal that can be said to be truly non-lethal. Batons are potentially lethal. So is mace, and pepper spray, and even handcuffs.

I suspect you're being deliberately disingenuous, rather than unwittingly so. Notice that, like the other thread, I'm not defending the use? I'm pointing out the flaws in the arguments. If you have a problem with that, stop introducing the flaws.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:46 PM on November 28, 2007


I think that people from other countries may have a hard time understanding what is at stake for an American cop. Other countries have sensible gun laws. America does not. Any person that a cop pulls over could have a gun, so cops here have to be extremely careful when dealing with suspects in order to protect themselves. This does not mean that they should go around tasing people carelessly, but it does mean that they have to make judgment calls constantly where one side of the equation is "I may get shot."

Oh bullshit, that cop never would have acted that way if there was a realistic chance the wife could be armed. Come on.

There are rules that the police are supposed to follow, a 'continum of force' or whatever, and (I would imagine) those rules could be gamed just like any other set of rules. So, a cop could game the rules, and people would come on Metafilter and defend the heck out of 'em.

Next to last, empath. There's still one little hurdle to clear.

Don't be ridiculous, guns != free society, just ask an Iraqi Shia. You could buy all the guns you wanted under Saddam, but that didn't make anyone free.
posted by delmoi at 2:57 PM on November 28, 2007


I see what you are saying here. But the slippery-slope argument of "everything is potentially lethal" doesn't hold water, because then how do we define when it is appropriate to use any of the aforementioned implements?

I suppose I should have been more clear in my reasoning. Keeping in mind that we already have things like handcuffs, batons, and pepper spray that can be used to subdue violent folks, it reasons to me that since a taser is an order of magnitude more harmful than the aforementioned, it should be used to, you know, subdue violent folks, in lieu of using a gun.

I'm sure there are many different definitions at different police departments of when it is appropriate, with different language used to describe the circumstances. The point remains, however, that they are, as described by the manufacture, "less than lethal" devices that should be used to subdue violent people in lieu of a firearm.

This begs the question of whether he was a violent person in need of subduing via taser, in lieu of a gun, which he was not. I suppose the "did he deserve to die" question was melodramatic, but you can see the point I am trying to get across here, I hope.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:57 PM on November 28, 2007


MoralPanicFilter
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:26 PM on November 28, 2007


I actually think this shows and improvement in police behaviour and attitude. Twenty years ago cops would only deliver this kind of unneccessary pain and suffering to black people.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 3:40 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, frankly, I'd rather be zapped with a Tazer than equally incapacitated by a blow to the head with a baton. That has more potential for long-lasting effects.

The question of appropriate use is quite apart from what it was meant for. The manufacturer may advertise them as a substitute for a firearm but that is not the only thing they can be used for. There have been cases where Tazers have successfully stopped suicides or injury - I wouldn't want to try that with a firearm or a baton.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:42 PM on November 28, 2007


Points I think were missed (although, I didn't wade into every comment on here after the first 30 fucks)

1) What this officer told the second officer at the end of the movie doesn't much coincide with what happened. What this says about the officer's thoughts about his action is conjecture, but he does give a fairly different account.

2) He said "What the heck is wrong with you." Aw...

3) Tasing someone who is standing so close to a white line on a busy highway is dangerous.

4) The officer asked him out of the car and pulled the taser while the man's back was turned. The man looks at the officer and sees a gun looking object pointing at him. It's hard to say if the man knows what a taser looks like, but moving away from that object seems like a reasonable response.

Opinions:

1) Walking away isn't threatening behavior. It is a bad idea, but it's difficult to see that action as threatening.

2) The cop wouldn't likely pull either a gun or a nightstick in this circumstance, which makes the use of the taser seem lazy and petulant.

3) Telling the man "Put your hands behind your back or I will have to tase you" would have helped the officer's case.

Question:

What's the proper term for this cop? Trooper, Officer?
posted by OrangeDrink at 3:45 PM on November 28, 2007


...human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteriafilter!

(Vernal the Utahzerer (pr: Ut-ta-haz-erer)- he will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii, the Utahzerer came as a large and moving Torb. Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex supplicants, they chose a new form for him - that of a giant Sloar! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be tazered in the depths of the Sloar that day, I can tell you)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:49 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


What's the proper term for this cop? Trooper, Officer?

Fascist Fuck?
posted by panamax at 3:50 PM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Seriously inappropriate taser use *should* cost an officer his job and land him in jail, seeing as how their potentially lethal n' all. But I don't see why you'd ever let such a guy carry a weapon again regardless, that's just stupid.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:54 PM on November 28, 2007


Next time your house is getting robbed or you’re a battered wife who thinks her husband is going to kill her, dial 911 and ask them to send those Fascist Fucks to come help you out.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:06 PM on November 28, 2007


Then the cop on the sidewalk could give people sidling by a little zap to make them step lively.

Shades of The Running Man by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman).
The police watched them, hands on either gun butts or move-alongs. They smiled anonymous, contemptuous smiles.
Compare with this traffic stop. Ticketee goes absolutely apeshit, grabs the cop's ticket book, curses, swears.... watch how the cop handles it.

I love that video, especially the end.
posted by bwg at 4:19 PM on November 28, 2007


tkchrist writes "Instead of all this blind outrage y'all should insist on adequate training, professional conduct, and proper investigation out of your LEOs. Maybe pay attention to the local tax levies when your cops ask for money for more training. Obviously they need it."

I have never known a tax levy for police training to result in a decrease in police abuses, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:20 PM on November 28, 2007


It didn't look all that problematic to me. The guy wouldn't sign the ticket (and yes, he really does need to), and then when he got out of the car, he refused to be arrested. When the cop pulled the taser, the guy just walks back to his car.

The cop at this point is obviously wondering what the guy has in his car that he needs so much at this precise moment. I guess the cop could've started scuffling with him on the side of the highway, but that doesn't seem exactly safe either.

All methods of arresting someone who doesn't want to be arrested are potentially lethal, and before you suggest that the cop should've just talked the guy down, keep in mind that he only had a few seconds to do it before the guy got whatever he was itching to get out of his car.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 4:39 PM on November 28, 2007


Something has been bugging me, so I watched the video again, and sure enough, prior to tazing the driver the cop returned to his vehicle with his back to the suspect.

If the guy had been armed, it would have been a great opportunity to shoot the cop.

And the cop's side of the conversation went like this:

"Ok hop out of the car, [draws taser] turn around and put your hands behind your back... [repeated] [shoots]"

He never told the guy that he was being placed under arrest, he just immediately drew down and shot.

So, to sum up. Officer let a suspect walk behind him, (twice), didn't inform suspect that he was being arrested, then subdued the driver and left him along side a busy roadway.

How is this guy still employed? He's not just trigger happy, he's incompetent.
posted by quin at 4:40 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


ND¢ writes "No I don't think that blind obedience is the proper response to dealings with the police either. I have recommended to everyone that I know that they keep a copy of the ACLU's Know Your Rights: What to Do If You're Stopped by the Police in their car at all times. The first thing that that pamphlet says is 'Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions. Don't get into an argument with the police.'

This is always good advice. But here's the thing. Police have the right to use force as an instrument of the state. As such, they have an enormous responsibility, because they are acting on behalf of the citizenry. If they abuse their authority, it should be treated seriously, because they have violated the trust society places in them. A cop has the upper hand in a traffic stop and has the ability to diffuse potentially escalating situations, as well as the training and responsibility to do so. It's not incumbent upon the citizens to do so. A citizen may act inappropriately and get what's coming to them, in a poetic sense, but it's really the responsibility of the police to be professional and deal with the situation rather than take their frustrations out on someone violently. And if they can't do that, well, we need to get them behind a desk or off the force.

"When I get pulled over by a cop, the first thing I do is put both of my hands on top of my steering wheel where they can be seen. I do not move them until he or she asks for my license and registration. I provide him or her with that paperwork and I answer his or her questions politely. I do not see this as a forfeit of my rights or being a sheep living in a police state. I see this as recognizing that the cop has a tough job to do and it is in my interest to make it easier for them to do it. If I felt that my rights were being violated, I would calmly explain why that was the case and ask for the information recommended in the ACLU pamphlet, including the officers" badge and patrol car numbers. I would then make a complaint through the proper channels."

The first thing that comes to mind when I read that is that you've never been at the business end of an abusive cop, or a bunch of them. I have found that the ACLU advice works to a point, until you start getting beaten or tased. Even then, it's not a good idea to fight back or run, but it's hard to be calm and collected.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:41 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


How about we just rename this place TaserFilter and be done with it?
posted by jonmc at 4:43 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys writes "All methods of arresting someone who doesn't want to be arrested are potentially lethal, and before you suggest that the cop should've just talked the guy down, keep in mind that he only had a few seconds to do it before the guy got whatever he was itching to get out of his car."

No, the issue is that, if the cop had dealt with this differently from the beginning, it never would have come to that. The cop was responsible for the escalation. The guy could easily have been dealt with, but that's not how the cop directed it.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:53 PM on November 28, 2007


No, the issue is that, if the cop had dealt with this differently from the beginning, it never would have come to that. The cop was responsible for the escalation. The guy could easily have been dealt with, but that's not how the cop directed it.

I don't think it's very useful to talk about what would've happened if the cop had behaved differently at the beginning. The cop was acting pretty normal at the outset, I'd say, but the guy just flat-out refused to sign the ticket, and the ticket has to be signed, or it's not effective.

I suppose you're claiming that if the cop had just talked to the guy for a while, he would've come around and decided to be ticketed after all. The problem is that there's no way to prove you right or wrong--anyone can claim anything would've happened in a hypothetical alternative scenario.

If someone more or less complies with the important parts of an officer's instructions but raises a big fuss, I don't think escalating it is necessary (see the video linked upthread of the swearing guy who did sign his ticket).

However, if someone is refusing to be cited or arrested at all, I think the police are justified in bringing the situation under control more quickly.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 5:08 PM on November 28, 2007


Honest this is not to bring national politics into this thread after wading through more than two hundred comments.
But I can close my eyes and easily visualize that cop reacting to 9/11 (AS PRESIDENT) the same way as Bush did.
And I can then visualize Bush as a cop reacting to this encounter with a motorist in the same way as the paranoid cop.
posted by notreally at 5:10 PM on November 28, 2007


Next time your house is getting robbed or you’re a battered wife who thinks her husband is going to kill her, dial 911 and ask them to send those Fascist Fucks to come help you out.

Police Taser 82-year-old woman after being called to check up on her.

Seriously, I don't live in a high-crime area, and I'm not living in a high-crime area. The fact is, crime makes people unsafe, but so do taser happy cops. If you took away their guns and restricted their use of tasers or violence to life threatening situations I'd be fine with it.
posted by delmoi at 5:29 PM on November 28, 2007


I don't think it's very useful to talk about what would've happened if the cop had behaved differently at the beginning. The cop was acting pretty normal at the outset, I'd say, but the guy just flat-out refused to sign the ticket, and the ticket has to be signed, or it's not effective.

no that is completely false the ticket is valid whether or not the motorist signs it. The only person who has to sign it is the cop. The cop can arrest a person if they refuse to sign it, but they don't need to. The ticket is just as valid signed or no.
posted by delmoi at 5:31 PM on November 28, 2007


The cop tells the man to turn around and put his hands behind his back. The guy turns around with his arms to his side and is looking backwards at the cop. His back is to the cop and the cop keeps repeating "turn around" and then tasers him. He was following the cops orders ("turn around, turn around").
posted by null terminated at 5:37 PM on November 28, 2007


Wow, what took so long for this latest outrage to make it to MeFi? It must not be that important.
posted by caddis at 5:38 PM on November 28, 2007


no that is completely false the ticket is valid whether or not the motorist signs it. The only person who has to sign it is the cop. The cop can arrest a person if they refuse to sign it, but they don't need to. The ticket is just as valid signed or no.

That's good to know. Do you happen to know why they require it to be signed?
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 5:55 PM on November 28, 2007


"Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys writes "However, if someone is refusing to be cited or arrested at all, I think the police are justified in bringing the situation under control more quickly."

It's not absolutely necessary that the person cited signs the ticket. The cop should have left it at that. If he doesn't show up in court, it's still a FTA and a bench warrant. Obviously, the guy's not a threat, just a bit anxious, and escalating it at that point was completely unnecessary. Yeah, maybe the cop thought the guy was being a jerk, but there's nothing that requires jail or tasing going on until the cop decided not signing the ticket was a serious issue.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:00 PM on November 28, 2007


"Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys writes "That's good to know. Do you happen to know why they require it to be signed?"

A signed statement saying you'll be in court is a pretty good legal instrument to compel you to appear. Or so I imagine. I am only speaking as someone who's been arrested and had my own dealings with the system. IANAL.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:08 PM on November 28, 2007


OK, cops DO have to deal with difficult, often gravely serious confrontations as part of their jobs. They have to take precautions and assume the stranger they are dealing with could KILL them.

BUT that is clearly not what's going on in this case:

At 2:22 the cop instructs the driver to get out of the car.

At 2:30 he is tasing the guy.

The cop walks with his BACK TURNED to the cruiser and places the paperwork on the bumper.

If the guy HAD a gun he could have easily shot him in the back. This is terrible use of force technique.

He exposed HIMSELF to lethal danger, then fails to use enough verbal commands before using the taser. The guy was backing off and moving back toward his vehicle where he MIGHT have a weapon, so then the taser can be used to prevent that. So the driver is an idiot.

The whole thing might have been avoided had the officer explained that he would arrest him if he failed to sign the citiation, which he didn't do.

The cop was simply going to teach this guy a lesson, professionalism be damned.
posted by crowman at 6:11 PM on November 28, 2007


That should read: the cop walks with his back turned to the driver, not the cruiser.
posted by crowman at 6:19 PM on November 28, 2007


The posters for the Advanced Taser described it as a "less lethal alternative". Not non-lethal. And that's from the manufacturer.

Well, they certainly aren't going to say it's non-lethal! They would get sued into oblivion.
posted by smackfu at 6:19 PM on November 28, 2007


Honest this is not to bring national politics into this thread after wading through more than two hundred comments.
But I can close my eyes and easily visualize that cop reacting to 9/11 (AS PRESIDENT) the same way as Bush did.
And I can then visualize Bush as a cop reacting to this encounter with a motorist in the same way as the paranoid cop.


Wait. What?

I find myself wondering if the 1992 Rodney King arrest happened now how much differently it might've gone down. I could be wrong but I can imagine the first officers might've tased him. There probably wouldn't have been so much backup called. And since it's been happening to a lot of people (even in libraries and whatnot), it wouldn't have been such big news. There would probably have been an inside investigation but no trial for the officers. And no riots. And I'm not quite sure what to think about that.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:27 PM on November 28, 2007


If the cop didn't do anything wrong, why'd he lie about what happened?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:32 PM on November 28, 2007


I finally got a chance to view this and that cop is an ass. His condescending tone, the way he lied, and the way his buddy backed him up. Sure, the driver should have just signed the ticket, but that cop controlled that whole situation, and he is the one who escalated it.
posted by Big_B at 6:53 PM on November 28, 2007


“I have never known a tax levy for police training to result in a decrease in police abuses, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough.” -posted by krinklyfig

You’re not. But it is hard to spot. The difference is in one-time equipment costs versus ongoing costs and the intangible (or side effect) benefits. Ongoing costs tend to - by their very nature - get more budgetary oversight which means they have to justify it which means more public oversight and department accountability.
It’s the basic mechanics of it. Community policing models, f’rinstance, cost a bit more. Bikes, extra cost, not much, but does wonders for interaction and officer fitness. Same deal with use of force training, the benefits are in the intangibles, increased comeraderie, increased fitness, enhanced confidence and attitude especially as officers climb the ranks (if you have belt ranks or other achievement milestones), and as a result, less complaints, less use of force, etc. etc. etc.
Or a one time cost of handing a guy a taser, giving him 2 hours of training and calling it a day. No oversight, no budget questions for equipment, the sales guys from the taser company do your sales pitch on the budget for you - easy as pie. (And that’d be part of the ‘fascist’ thing - but I take exception to all cops being considered bastards a priori. Of course, the particular cop in question is debatable. But on the whole, it’s a matter of training.)
Easy as pie until you start having lawyer costs and discipline problems when your guys start tasing people for not listening to them because they don’t have any self-confidence, don’t really know how to handle themselves in a verbal or physical confrontation, are in poor physical condition and can only maintain authority by escalating the use of force.
It’s not that you get the department you pay for, it’s that you get the department you train and maintain.

“The fact is, crime makes people unsafe, but so do taser happy cops.”

Agreed delmoi. I’d even augment your statement by saying it further enhances crime since it fosters disrespect for the law.
I only took exception with the blanket nature of the statement I was responding to. And I take exception with the blanket inference that your link makes in refutation of my statement. Certainly that was an abuse. There’s no question any able bodied police officer should never taser an old woman. Not all police responses result in the caller being wrongfully assaulted.
I’ve been sorely tempted to post examples of, and there are many, police heroism and instances of them going above and beyond the call. But it is exactly their job to put themselves into potentially dangerous situations and protect people. If they didn’t do this on a daily basis, if they routinely and egregiously tased 82 year old women whenever they were summoned, there would be no police forces anywhere.
The point about this being a problem is undisputed (at least by me), it is the exception however, not the rule. That does not make it any less acceptable, merely a matter of ubiquity.
Without question it should be discouraged by the professional environment, prevented by oversight, investigated when it does happen, and prosecuted where appropriate.

But indeed, I’d be happy if no cops had any tasers at all. (I disagree on the firearms but that’s a whole other HUGE issue)
posted by Smedleyman at 6:54 PM on November 28, 2007


We're his employees and his responsibility is to us first

Correction we are his employers. He is a civil servant. But you are right that his responsibility is to us first.
The primary purpose of the police is to serve and protect the public.
This officers behavior is inexcusable if he comes out of this still in possession of his badge then there is something seriously wrong in Utah.
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:54 PM on November 28, 2007


Well, I already tried to explain my theory, kirkaracha.

JHarris: Being a police officer should not grant one any personal rights unavailable to ordinary citizens.

You know that's B.S.... how many times have you seen a cop use his lights to get through an intersection to get to the donut shop quicker? To speed through traffic just for the helluvit? Maybe it *shouldn't* give them extra rights, but in practice it does. And really, it should.

The relevant point, though, is that cops should not abuse those rights, which I kind of think happened here. And the right to tase isn't the right I'm talking about; the right to escalate is the thing he abused.
posted by Doohickie at 6:57 PM on November 28, 2007


miss lynnster - Rodney King was tasered.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:01 PM on November 28, 2007


And no riots

the riots happened because they were acquitted -- next time, don't have a lily-white, reverse-kangaroo court acquit a bunch of cops who together beat the shit out of an incapacitated man who was clearly unable to get up just because they enjoyed it.

the trial wasn't the problem; the acquittal was. and speaking of Tasers, good old Darryl Gates was a big fan of the chokehold -- didn't he explain that so many blacks died after being choked by his nice LAPD gentlemen because their windpipes are different from white people's?

chokehold, tasers. it doesn't change much. one day they'll Taser the wrong guy, a trial hopefully will happen, and if the cop walks you may see some more rioting. rinse, repeat. it all boils down to accountability -- as long as the blue wall of silence covers the asses of thuggish cops with no honor and no professionalism, as long as pricks like this Utah cop don't suffer the consequences of their thuggish behavior, you will eventually have problems in urban area with a high precentage of black and brown people who know very well what police abuse is. it's action and reaction. you don't want riots, then don't whitewash the cops crimes when they commit them
posted by matteo at 7:05 PM on November 28, 2007


(Oh, and Rodney beat the crap out of his wife, and used some of the $3.8 million he won in his lawsuit against the city - or rather, their taxpayers - to buy a nice big SUV, which he smashed through someone’s home at 100 mph. Nice guy. Good thing the cops beat the hell out of him so he didn’t have to go to jail for any serious length of time so he could get hooked on PCP again. ‘That’s nice work boys’ *Wiggimfilter* That’s what all this excessive violence leads to - the job NOT getting done right.)
posted by Smedleyman at 7:08 PM on November 28, 2007


Next time your house is getting robbed or you’re a battered wife who thinks her husband is going to kill her, dial 911 and ask them to send those Fascist Fucks to come help you out.

I want to pretend you didn't type that, because I think way more highly of you than to associate you with such.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:12 PM on November 28, 2007


This officers behavior is inexcusable if he comes out of this still in possession of his badge then there is something seriously wrong in Utah.

I don't think this is just a Utah thing. There is something seriously wrong with Utah (and I say that as a practicing Mormon) but this kind of abuse seems to be creeping across the country. Except for Maine, proud destination of many British tourists.
posted by craniac at 7:17 PM on November 28, 2007


The cop was responsible for the escalation. The guy could easily have been dealt with, but that's not how the cop directed it.

Well, to be fair, the very first thing the cop asked for was the driver's license and registration. Now, you have to be brand new to planet Earth to not see that coming. No matter if they're right or wrong or crazy or high or tatooed purple from head to toe, a cop pulls you over and the very first thing they're going to ask you for is your license and registration.

The guy didn't hand it over. The cop was pretty calm throughout the beginning of the stop, even explaining almost exasperatedly how the 40mph sign was right there, ya' dope! Once the guy got out of the car, however, the cop completely lost control.

Problem is, American police are taught that you control people by projecting force. They yell. They demand. They interrupt. No civility whatsoever. Had the cop at any point said, "Listen, I understand you don't think you broke the law. If you wish to dispute the ticket, that's your right, but this is neither the appropriate time nor place to do so."

And that would have been it. Instead he's barking orders like a drill instructor, completely confusing the motorist. Same thing happens when the guy's wife gets out of the car. Bark bark bark.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:29 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Pope Guilty: update )
posted by Smedleyman at 7:32 PM on November 28, 2007


Hell there was just a story about a fella who passed out in a diabetic coma on a bus who was tasered because the police found thought he was being deliberately unresponsive.

Indeed. I believe this sort of idiocy on the part of the police is why we'll see tasers banned in Canada again. It is painfully obvious that our RCMP are over-using them and using them inappropriately.

I'd like to see our cops better-trained in psychology, neuro-linguistic programming, body language, etcetera. Work smarter instead of relying on brute power.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:32 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Oh, and Rodney beat the crap out of his wife, and used some of the $3.8 million he won in his lawsuit against the city - or rather, their taxpayers - to buy a nice big SUV, which he smashed through someone’s home at 100 mph. Nice guy. Good thing the cops beat the hell out of him so he didn’t have to go to jail for any serious length of time so he could get hooked on PCP again.)

What the hell does that have to do with anything? I mean, did the cops know any of that backstory when they beat the crap out of him?
posted by delmoi at 7:33 PM on November 28, 2007


The point about this being a problem is undisputed (at least by me), it is the exception however, not the rule.

Of course its the exception, but the fact that cops all across the country have these things now means these 'isolated incidents' happen all the time. Same with botched raids. It's a pretty serious question as to whether these cops are making us more safe or less safe, and if they're making us less safe, then what's the point of having them? (at least in terms of the way they are operating)
posted by delmoi at 7:38 PM on November 28, 2007


The guy didn't hand it over. The cop was pretty calm throughout the beginning of the stop, even explaining almost exasperatedly how the 40mph sign was right there, ya' dope! Once the guy got out of the car, however, the cop completely lost control.

What makes you think he didn't hand them over? Since the cop wrote the ticket, he must have seen the license, otherwise he wouldn't have known his name. The whole thing happened because the guy refused to sign the ticket, which is a pointless formality that does not prevent the ticket from being valid.
posted by delmoi at 7:40 PM on November 28, 2007


Interestingly, it came out in my local paper this week that the annual per capita spending on police in my city is $284.

So for the wife and me that's $2,840 every five years. And that's property tax, which of course is more like $4,000 in pre- federal tax income for five years of thug insurance.

So the good cops better start leaning on the crappy ones, because that's damn near unsustainable for one damn city service.
posted by crowman at 7:42 PM on November 28, 2007


But I can close my eyes and easily visualize that cop reacting to 9/11 (AS PRESIDENT) the same way as Bush did.

Yep. Confused, immobilized and "out-of-it" for over 5-minutes [video], waiting to hear how "My Pet Goat" ends -- after having been told by Chief-of-Staff Andy Card that "America is under attack."
posted by ericb at 8:17 PM on November 28, 2007


ND¢ are you being a dick or what? I might have to erase the shitty ass country songs that you sent me for the mefi swap dude.

Ban Tasers!
posted by Skygazer at 8:20 PM on November 28, 2007


$284 to keep the criminals at bay? Not too bad. It doesn't justify taser cowboys etc., but would you really want to live without police protection? are you some kind of NRA nut? ;)

Frankly, we need some laws, or some lawsuits, which put the taser back into it's original role as an alternative to deadly force, rather than a civilian control tool - "hey you talked back to me - take that" - zap. If it is not appropriate to pull your service revolver, it very likely is not appropriate to pull your taser, although I don't think the standards should be exactly the same, just a hell of a lot closer than they are now. A taser is not deadly force, but it is potentially deadly force. If this was a drug that was forced on people and caused this level of death - oh my what a plaintiff lawyer's dream.
posted by caddis at 8:20 PM on November 28, 2007


You know that's B.S.... how many times have you seen a cop use his lights to get through an intersection to get to the donut shop quicker? To speed through traffic just for the helluvit?

Doohicke, fyi, often police officers are dispatched to a call then advised to stop responding and resume patrol (for example when another unit has arrived at a scene and advised no other assistance is required).

So the next time you see a police car activating lights and siren to pass through an intersection then shut them off, think about it.

p.s. - "Donut shop"? What are you, 12?
posted by mlis at 8:22 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


delmoi wrote...
It's a pretty serious question as to whether these cops are making us more safe or less safe

It's only a serious question if you have data to back it up.

And no, the plural of anecdote is *not* data.
posted by tkolar at 8:24 PM on November 28, 2007


(Pope Guilty: update )

You were not responding to a blanket comment. You were referring to an epithet that referred to a specific cop as though it were a blanket statement about all cops.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:36 PM on November 28, 2007


"Don't taze me, Bro!"
posted by Balisong at 8:36 PM on November 28, 2007


For those of you apparently keeping score:

535 ~$ (echo; curl -sS 'http://www.metafilter.com/66959/Tase-or-Youtube-Justice' |
awk '{ print tolower($0) }' |
egrep -o '[a-z]*fuck[a-z]*' |
sort | uniq -c | sort -n)

1 fuckers
1 fuckitty
1 motherfucker
3 fucked
7 fucks
15 fucking
38 fuck
536 ~$

posted by ryanrs at 8:49 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Admins, please add "fuckitty" to the tags.
posted by ryanrs at 8:53 PM on November 28, 2007


Gah, I was told there wouldn't be any legal code in this group.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:05 PM on November 28, 2007


Let me say this right up front.

I think that police officer was wrong, showed a complete lack of skill and judgement, and should be forced to reenter the academy, or quit the force. The use of tasers and excessive force seems to be an epidemic across the country, and something really needs to be done.

However...I realize that a lot of you are new to this whole "cops are not your friend, and they WILL get up in your ass" scenario. I understand your outrage. That's no excuse to be stupid. For all of you who are watching this video through the lens of not liking cops, dont let your outrage get you hurt.

The young man who found himself on the unfortunate end of the tasering showed a remarkable amount of disrespect for the officer in this video. He showed a lethal amount of stupidity, and while the officer in question was OBVIOUSLY WRONG, that guy is lucky things only went as far as they did. Watching the way the guy acted in that video made me physically jittery and nervous.

Everyone in this thread who is automatically seeing this through a filter of not liking police, please heed my words. No matter how much you hate cops, or think they can be assholes, or whatever negative feelings you have. This is NOT, NOT, NOT the way to act around them. I've seen too many people with a chip on their shoulder regarding police get themselves into situations they simply could have avoided. This guy was treating the officer like he was just any old guy on the street he was having a disagreement with.He had no appreciation whatsoever for the fact that he was dealing with an officer of the law. And that's just flat out stupid. Look at the video objectively, there's an officer of the law, with a drawn weapon, and this guy is acting with no measurable regard for the consequences of his actions. Which in the eyes of a police officer usually equals a danger sign.

For a long time there has been an absolute double standard in this country as to how it's citizens are treated by the police. If anything is a shining example of that old cliche..."first they came for (whoever) and I was quiet"...this is it.

As someone who grew up with the reality of this sort of thing being a real possibility in any interaction with police, I look at this and have the same reaction ND¢ had.

This is as fine an example of bad police work as you will see. But still, dude had it coming. If you think otherwise, fine, but should you find yourself in the same situation, do not look to this guy's behavior as a sign of how to register your disapproval with the "police state". Most of all, learn to tell the difference between a good cop and a bad one. The vast majority of them are good, well meaning, and do a job that most of us couldn't handle for a day, much less an entire career. When you flip attitude to the good cop, you're not helping anything. When you flip attitude to a bad cop, you're just endangering yourself unneccesasarily. Vent your frustration from the safety of a lawyer's office.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:36 PM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


Beware the fascist pigs—they're not to be trusted.
posted by ryanrs at 9:56 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


So what's the solution, then? No matter how many oversight committees turn up, and no matter how much money flows into police departments (especially since 9/11), it keeps getting worse and worse? People keep saying not to resist. Well, what else is there?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:17 PM on November 28, 2007


People keep saying not to resist. Well, what else is there?

Respecting their authority, even though they are acting like schoolyard bullies. "Yes sir, officer."
posted by caddis at 10:37 PM on November 28, 2007


ND¢ said: I provide him or her with that paperwork and I answer his or her questions politely... If I felt that my rights were being violated, I would calmly explain why that was the case...

krinkfly said: The first thing that comes to mind when I read that is that you've never been at the business end of an abusive cop, or a bunch of them.

I've gotta second krinkfly here. In face-to-face situations I'm a pretty calm person and I'm scrupulously polite. And I agree with ND¢ that cops have a tough job and I always want to make any kind of situation as easy as possible.

But I've found time and again that sometimes no matter how calmly, politely, and honestly you talk to an officer, and even if you're genuinely confused by what they want out of you - forget obeying the cop, just not agreeing with them or asking reasonable non-snarky questions can get a response like "Do you WANT me to give you a ticket? Do you?" or "Why are you trying to ruin my day? WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO RUIN MY DAY?" (seriously).

All I can figure is that they feel like they need to achieve absolute dominant control of every interaction they're in. To some degree I can understand that approach when your job is to BE the authority figure in most of the situations you run into, and of course for dealing with any kind of criminal stuff but there seem to be guys who want to pull out the six-gun and shout "Dance, pilgrim!" every time they talk to someone, much less for traffic or parking violations, and they do not exactly have your best interests or the public good at heart when they start doing it.

So in my experience being polite and calm is not enough, you really have to keep your guard up and cover your butt if you find yourself getting pushed around. All of the reasonable behavior advocated in the various links above seems good, you just can't expect that because you're being reasonable the cop is also going to be.
posted by XMLicious at 11:04 PM on November 28, 2007


1 fuckers
1 fuckitty
1 motherfucker
3 fucked
7 fucks
15 fucking
38 fuck


No fuckwits?
posted by homunculus at 11:56 PM on November 28, 2007


People keep saying not to resist. Well, what else is there?

a) The more you know about the law, the more it works in your favor. Most people's knowledge of the law, especially in regards to police comes from TV. Know what the law is where you live, Otherwise how caqn you know when they're actually breaking it.

b) Get to know your local police. Don't wait until a) you've been a victim of a crime or b)you've been suspected of a crime to get to know the officers in your jurisdiction. Depending on where you live, there's a good chance your local precinct/dept. has some sort of community police program. Officers who's job is to serve as a non-emergency liason with the community. These are the Officers who go to open houses, do ride alongs, organize neighborhood watch groups, etc. This is usually a good chance to meet the Officers who love what they do, and truly believe that their job is to serve and protect.

c) If you ever have the opportunity to do a ride-along. DO IT! It completely changed my view of what police work is about. Despite all the paranoia bout "OMG! Police State!" The vast majority of officers out there are nothing short of heroes in my book, any day of the week. And this is coming from someone who grew up in the inner-city with a serious fear/hatred of police. Bad cops make the news, good cops rarely do. This is a crime if you ask me. And I'm willing to bet that even if the cop in this video isn't fired, and even if the others publicly support him in the way that only police do, the other officers in his dept. know that he's not the caliber of officer they want around in a serious situation. I'm guessing he spends a lot of the rest of his short career hanging out around that 40mph sign. The type of incompetency on display here is as much a danger to other Police as it is to the public.

d) Be vocal about ALL police mistreatment. A lot of people looked the other way for a long time about this sort of thing because it was only directed at the "bad guys". I'm not trying to be axe-grindy here, but for a long time, this sort of thing was ignored, because most Americans were insulated from it. It was happening to someone else. When someone is unjustly injured bu Police, it shouldn't just be that person's community that takes to the street in protest. It should be everyone.

e) By all means, resist. Just choose your battles wisely. There's a big difference between informed disapproval and having a chip on your shoulder. I know too many people who take this extreme "fuck the pigs" approach, when their only interaction with the police has been having parties broken up in college. If you've ever been stopped alone at night with the wrong color skin in the wrong neighborhood * then you know that you can "respect" the badge in the same way you "respect" a downed power line. As in you treat it carefully and give it a wide berth.

Want to know the biggest thing you can do that most people don't do? Get involved in local politics. Vote in local elections. Volunteer for the councilperson or state rep you like. A 50 dollar check during campaign season to a local candidate does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.Hell, send $25 to both candidates. That's what the big boys do, and it can work for you too. While the specifics of who you voted for is secret, the fact that you voted (or didnt vote) is public record in most places. People who get elected to office do so based on their knowledge of this information. Your irate call has a pretty good chance of getting returned if you vote regularly and name is on the donor list.

But mostly, know this. The main difference between us and the police is that we have given them the power of justification for their actions. It has to be this way, because we rely on them to protect us. Our adherence to the law is measured in terms of if it can be proven the we did the action in question. With the police, it's not a question of whether they did it, it's whether that action was justified given the situation. This is a HUGE difference, and one that must be considered fully.

Even when they make a poor or sometimes criminal choice, if your actions have justified that choice, chances are that Officer is considered to have done nothing "wrong". This is because sometimes in the name of protecting us we need them to have that justification. Anyone who has a problem with this, please post your phone number, so we can forward 911 calls to your house.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:05 AM on November 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


*this goes for everybody. From what I've seen, cops see anybody "out of place" as being suspicious. White guy in a suit hanging around the projects at 2 am? You're getting pulled over.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:19 AM on November 29, 2007


My feeling is that most people just want to be left the hell alone. You know, pursue their own happiness without undue interference. Do what thou wilt and all that. Yes, you have to accept some degree of everyday interference in order to honour the social contract – there’s traffic lights and taxes and laws to enforce them – but beyond a certain point your life is your own.

All I’ve seen over the past decade is the State pushing this point further and further into your own backyard – your freedom is now outweighed by the impact of your freedom on others. We’ve gone from individuals wanting to be left alone to everyone wanting to be left alone by individuals, because dealing with them or otherwise acknowledging their existence is too much like hard work. We’ve abandoned a defensive legal framework (protect the individual, assuming general goodwill) for an aggressive one (restrict the individual, assuming general malfeasance). We don’t want the right to be free. We want the right to be free of others.

When you have the State believing it must dictate exactly how everyone should behave – down to the minutest detail - in order for all of us to co-exist peacefully, alarm bells should start ringing.

People are annoying. They shit you sometimes. Even my girlfriend. Hell, especially my girlfriend. But part of living in society means that you have to deal. If you can’t, fuck off and go live in a cave. You don’t try and encode every single aspect of your neighbours’ behaviour in order to fit him with your sociopathic Simsworld view of the universe.

People smoke. They curse, yell, gossip, blaspheme. They drink and gamble and take too long in the shower. They take sickies and play loud music and wear low-cut jeans with wide-arse waistlines. They have abortions, circumcisions, liposuction. They make unwanted sexual advances. They’re sarcastic and snide and bullying. Their dog shits on the sidewalk. They park in handicapped zones. They fuck the poolboy while the husband’s at work. They don’t use condoms. They throw up on your shoes and flirt with your girlfriend and make unfunny jokes about bombs in airports. They believe in God. They don’t believe in God. They stand by while you’re being mugged or drowning or having a heart attack. They cut you off in traffic. They yell inappropriate things at political gatherings. They watch porn. They take drugs. They strike, they march in protest, they conscientiously object. They eat three squares at McDonalds every day for a month. They’re fat and ugly and spank their kids. They watch too much TV and don’t do their homework and treat their wife like their dog.

I’m not thrilled about most of these things, but I’m less thrilled about living in a society that says its ok to restrict – let alone punish - someone for them. I might close my eyes and happily imagine taseing most of these people, but that’s very different from pinning a badge on someone and enabling it. Compare and contrast the evolving rights of corporations at your leisure. I’ve taken up enough space.

What the fuck does this have to do with Taseboy? Picture yourself driving the same highway someday. Signs everywhere. These days you’re watching the speedo more than the road. You now know that any slip, at any moment – like doing 43 in a 40 - and not only do you get a ticket and points off your license and jacked-up insurance and a court date and a faceful of cop but you’re three questions and ten seconds away from being electrocuted.

Kesey wrote about the combine, Steinbeck the machine. The State is right up and in your face but you can’t ask what he’s doing there. And because all you want – even now – is to be left alone, it’s better to keep quiet and be respectful and behave because if you do that they’re more likely to pick someone else out of the line for questioning. After all, first they came for the speeding motorists, and I am not a … *sigh*

To me it seems like the West – and America in particular – has jumped on the fascist waterslide precisely because they are losing control. Last refuge of a desperate populace. Once you start with the ultimatums - do this or else, you’re with us or against us – the end is nigh. What struck me about my last trip to the States was listening to the conversation in bars and hearing how … angry, how confrontational, how disenfranchised and confused and divided people are. The undertone was just hysterical shitscaria. The white man is over. Resources are scarce and people are many. India and China and Africa are coming for us and there ain’t enough freedom to go around.

Excuse the indulgence. Just exercising my right to type too much. My guess is this trend is nowhere near over until all of America is run exactly like an airport. Stand here, sign that, say this, shut up. And if you dare step out of line you’re dealt with. Intimidated. Arrested. Tasered. It amazes me that some of you think this is acceptable. Somewhere, sometime, the stupidity will go too far and people will awaken. My concern is that we are a long, long way from that tipping point – much further than anyone believes possible. Where we are now is Pleasantville.

One last thing: I’m not sure you can blame the cops. You might as well blame the troops for Iraq …
posted by bookie at 12:27 AM on November 29, 2007 [5 favorites]


It amazes me that some of you think this is acceptable.

it amazes me that you get all that out of a speeding ticket

Somewhere, sometime, the stupidity will go too far and people will awaken.

or join in - what i see here is a driver who's being an idiot, a cop who's being a jerk and a lot of people who think this is the second coming of hitler

all over what should have been a mere speeding ticket

it's not our fascistic tendencies or our authority problems that are going to ruin us as a country, but our terminal addiction to drama - it's not good enough to contest a speeding ticket, you've got to FIGHT THE SYSTEM, man - it's not good enough to enforce the law, you've got to MAKE THE MISCREANTS GROVEL AND OBEY - and it's not good enough to question a cop's use of authority, we've got to SAVE THE COUNTRY FROM THE NAZIS WHO WILL KILL US ALL

people need to get a grip
posted by pyramid termite at 3:18 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


What makes you think he didn't hand them over? Since the cop wrote the ticket, he must have seen the license, otherwise he wouldn't have known his name.

I didn't mean he never handed it over. I mean he didn't hand it over when he was asked for it. Watch it again.

Cop: "How ya' doin'? You were goin' kinda fast... can I see your license and registration?"

Driver: "I... [pause] I just have a question: how fast was I going?"

Cop: "Can I have your license and registration? [pause] Right now?"

Up until the whole "sign the ticket" fiasco, I would actually say the cop's behavior was fine. It's not the cop's responsibility to convince you he pulled you over for a good reason, yet the cop entertains the driver's questions and self-rightousness for at least a little while. Any civil rights attorney will tell you the exact same thing when it comes to being pulled over: it is not the time to plead your case.

Of course, as soon as the driver got out of the car, it was a complete train wreck.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:01 AM on November 29, 2007


Doohicke, fyi, often police officers are dispatched to a call then advised to stop responding and resume patrol (for example when another unit has arrived at a scene and advised no other assistance is required).

Yeah, I realize that. But there is also an awful lot of speeding around for what is obviously not an emergency, and never was. For instance, after a traffic stop, pulling away like a bat outta hell only to park on the median a half mile down to wait for the next speeder.

So the next time you see a police car activating lights and siren to pass through an intersection then shut them off, think about it.

In my area, I've seen them activate lights and cruise through intersections against the red, then calmly pull into the precinct house parking lot and slowly stroll back into the building for end of shift. I've seen several do this at the same time even- my commute used to coincide with their end of shift.

p.s. - "Donut shop"? What are you, 12?

What? I can't use a stereotype to dramatic effect??
posted by Doohickie at 7:01 AM on November 29, 2007


Fucking pigs. I can't have any sympathy for any cop anymore. Seriously. There are so many fucking bad apples that they've rotted the whole bunch in my eyes.
posted by tehloki at 7:29 AM on November 29, 2007


Dipsomaniac:


I suspect you're being deliberately disingenuous, rather than unwittingly so. Notice that, like the other thread, I'm not defending the use? I'm pointing out the flaws in the arguments. If you have a problem with that, stop introducing the flaws.


Stop the presses!

Dipsomaniac accuses someone disagreeing with him of being "deliberately disingenuous". Not merely wrong, but insincere, cynical and/or calculating. I assume to carry out my evil agenda or merely for shits and giggles.

Followed of course by this prime example of calculating cynicism which I don't believe is insincere, merely arch stupidity:

There is NOTHING in a policeman's arsenal that can be said to be truly non-lethal. Batons are potentially lethal. So is mace, and pepper spray, and even handcuffs

Not to mention the ball-point pen in his pocket.

But so what? You've made this argument before and it's still not convincing because the fact that other things are potentially lethal doesn't mean that some other potentially lethal device should be used as a first resort. Especially when what is at issue is someone nonviolently protesting a traffic ticket.

It's rather like someone whacking someone in the head with a baseball bat and then excusing it because he could have used a crowbar instead.

Given the actual case at hand it's not even an argument. It's a non sequitur.

Smedleyman:

Next time your house is getting robbed or you’re a battered wife who thinks her husband is going to kill her, dial 911 and ask them to send those Fascist Fucks to come help you out.

Well, that's the "protect and serve" PR, but aside from hypothetical fictions do the police actually prevent many crimes, much less save homeowners and damsels in distress? The main reaction of the police from the safety of their squad car or even in force is to cite some palliative about going home to the wife and kids at night and then taking the course that puts their asses in the least danger. You know, when the shit really hits the fan, you can expect to die like Dave Sanders and others at Columbine before the police actually bust a move. Of course, sometimes the police will take aggressive action, mostly against unarmed hippies and minorities.

The primary function of the police, as a practical matter, seems to be:

1. Keeping "undesirable elements" in check. Historically this has included racial and ethnic minorities, protesters, the poor, unions and so on. Remember Bull Connor?

2. Creating revenue for the state. The police are not only "protectors" they can be active predators with tacit quotas to fill in everything from speed traps to tricking ordinary citizens into committing felonies, obviously because there aren't nearly enough felons for them to attend to.

3. Self-perpetuation. The police are on point at every bad law and social hysteria because, quite frankly, this means a big piece of the pie for them. Prohibition, the war on drugs, even creating sex abuse hysterias out of whole cloth. Don't worry though, in the Wenatchee sex ring, only the poor and marginally retarded saw any real jail time.

Unfortunately, when you put all of the above together you don't have a police force that "protects and serves". You have one that is more and more normalizing the idea of being at war with the citizenry itself.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:41 AM on November 29, 2007


So, Reverend, your 'defence' is that something you don't like becomes non-sequitur, but someone introduces the "don't use a Tazer if the perp didn't deserve to die" chestnut and you're right on board?

Pot, kettle, black. Your arguments are insufficient, and it's only when they're used against you that you'll recognize it. From your posts your irrational bias against police is quite apparent, and the Tazer issue is merely an excuse for you to rail some more.

Yes, irrational. You've convinced yourself that all cops are as bad as the worst cops. Sell crazy somewhere else, mmmkay?

Oh, and your statement of what is at issue is at best misleading and at worse a lie. YOU may want to believe that's the only issue, but it's never that black and white except to those who already have their minds made up. It's pretty apparent that you don't want to hear anything that may put police in a good light, so why would anyone bother addressing your 'arguments'?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:59 AM on November 29, 2007


Here's a fun scenario: Imagine if the pregnant wife was driving and *she* refused to sign...

Well -- this just in: FBI Investigates After Officer Uses Taser On Pregnant Woman [article and video].
posted by ericb at 8:13 AM on November 29, 2007


Dipsomaniac:

So, Reverend, your 'defence' is that something you don't like becomes non-sequitur, but someone introduces the "don't use a Tazer if the perp didn't deserve to die" chestnut and you're right on board?

I would have thought you would be the last person to go for the "because your post followed another post, you agree with the post in its entirety" canard.

I was wrong, apparently.

Nothing to do with "deserving to die". You are still playing this silly game of "Because X and Y are potentially lethal, therefore the officer was justified in using potentially lethal option Z". It simply doesn't follow.

It's simple: The officer wasn't justified in macing the guy, hitting him with a baton or Tasering him. The correct answer is "none of the above". I'd explain it to you some different way, but seeing how recalcitrant you are, next time I'll explain it exactly the same way. In fact, next time I'll cut and paste, for all the good it will do you.

Pot, kettle, black. Your arguments are insufficient, and it's only when they're used against you that you'll recognize it.

Oh well, if you say so.

From your posts your irrational bias against police is quite apparent, and the Tazer issue is merely an excuse for you to rail some more.

Actually, as I cited examples, it becomes a rational bias. There's a difference.

Yes, irrational. You've convinced yourself that all cops are as bad as the worst cops. Sell crazy somewhere else, mmmkay?


Aww, you are so cute when you become hysterical.

If you are going to put words in my mouth, can you add a "fuck you" while you are at it?

Oh, and your statement of what is at issue is at best misleading and at worse a lie.

Yes, liar that I am, I think the issue is when it is appropriate to use force to cause compliance when force is unnecessary. You however, think it's always justified because some other force could have been used. Being a "liar" in your eyes simply isn't the pejorative you seem to think it is.

YOU

Oh my, here comes the all-caps portion of your argument. This must be where you dispense THE TRUTH™

may want to believe that's the only issue,

Not saying it is the only issue. Just the one we are discussing.

but it's never that black and white except to those who already have their minds made up.

Have you been reading this thread? We have a police officer who mishandles the situation: Doesn't explain the significance of signing the ticket, turns his back on a suspect he later lied about being threatening, almost simultaneously gives a command and draws his weapon, etc. Really, read the thread. Get up to speed on what's being discussed. It's pretty black and white. The only grey area is in your special pleading for police being justified regardless.

It's pretty apparent that you don't want to hear anything that may put police in a good light,

Yes, what's at issue isn't the specifics of this video, or other instances of police misconduct, but my wicked agenda against the poor "thin blue line". Boo hoo.

so why would anyone bother addressing your 'arguments'?

Are you going to answer that?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 8:45 AM on November 29, 2007


TASER responds to U.N.: Stun guns aren't torture. (via)
posted by LordSludge at 8:47 AM on November 29, 2007


Yo, Dipso:

Read the article cited above:

"The video shows the woman struggle with the officer, who then takes the child from her and gives the boy to another officer. The first officer then forces the woman down on her stomach, and he then deploys a Taser on her neck."

Is the officer justified in Tasering a woman who is already prone on the ground? Forget that she was pregnant, as it's not reasonable to think anyone knew that at the time. The issue is whether Tasering an already subdued subject -- and if you have someone down on the ground on their stomach and that doesn't count as subdued, perhaps police officer isn't the job for you --is justified.

Maybe you think that's justified. I wouldn't be surprised, as you have already made the case again and again, as a practical matter, that Tasering is a justifiable substitute for an officer exerting himself or just because he's annoyed.

But lets see who is biased: Can you cite a single instance where you think the use of a Taser wasn't justified? I don't mean pulling a hypothetical out your ass. I mean cite a real case with a real police officer you would be criticizing.

If you can, then that means you must have a crazy anti-police bias too. If you can't, that means you are just plain biased. How crazy you are is irrelevant, albeit highly entertaining.

I eagerly await your breathless response accusing me of more disingenuous lying, bias, craziness, moral turpitude and/or kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 8:58 AM on November 29, 2007


TASER responds to U.N.: Stun guns aren't torture

I see that and raise you:

Waterboarding not deemed torture by US
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:00 AM on November 29, 2007


FWIW, a county sheriff here in St. Louis has decided to take away the tasers from his force, since they're so ripe for misuse.
posted by notsnot at 9:00 AM on November 29, 2007


"Because X and Y are potentially lethal, therefore the officer was justified in using potentially lethal option Z".

I see you're right back at making shit up and telling me I said it. Nowhere did I say it was justified, nowhere did I put forth that argument or anything like it. I haven't said that cop was justified in his actions, so your 'argument' against that is (also) bullshit.

That shit is why you're not worth arguing with, BTW. Your questions are pretty much answered. Here's a little hint - when someone is reduced to making shit up as you are, I don't bother to defend something I never said.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:02 AM on November 29, 2007


I wouldn't be surprised, as you have already made the case again and again, as a practical matter, that Tasering is a justifiable substitute for an officer exerting himself or just because he's annoyed.

GFY, Rev. Being a child about this and lying about what I write is a pretty fucking stupid thing for you to do. This is where you say you 'won', right? Get a clue: This is yet another time when I'm not going to bother to defend a position I never took.

Or, if you like, you could demonstrate where I've said it's "justifiable" to use a Tazer as a substitute for exertion. I won't be holding my breath on that.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:06 AM on November 29, 2007


Remove from activity is awesome!
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on November 29, 2007


Dipsomaniac,

Not making shit up Dipso. You wrote:


No, it doesn't relate in that context about 'deserving to die', because it was not a situation where Tazers are ONLY an alternative to a firearm. That's just not so.

There is NOTHING in a policeman's arsenal that can be said to be truly non-lethal. Batons are potentially lethal. So is mace, and pepper spray, and even handcuffs.


Keep in mind I wasn't the one who wrote about "deserving to die" being a factor, although you seem to have later attributed that sentiment to me in to me in brain-dead ad hoc fashion, because, apparently, it's OK when you do it.

I rendered the second paragraph as

"Because X and Y are potentially lethal, therefore the officer was justified in using potentially lethal option Z".

Because you think the Tasering was justified. If not, what are you arguing for anyway?

I'm getting used to this behavior on your part. You make an argument, and as soon as it becomes untenable you deny you made it and lash out accusing people of lying.

It's an outrage, I tell you...*YAWN*


Before you leave in a high dudgeon, mortally offended, and plant the flag on the high ground, can you indulge me (in fact, it's an opportunity to show me up) by answering my question. As you don't seem to remember what you wrote from post to post, I don't expect you to remember what I wrote, so I'll just repeat it:


Can you cite a single instance where you think the use of a Taser wasn't justified? I don't mean pulling a hypothetical out your ass. I mean cite a real case with a real police officer you would be criticizing.


Your options:

1. Evade providing evidence of your bias one way or another and continue to act all huffy. No one will notice it's an evasion.

Honest. It's foolproof.

2. Put up

3. Shut up.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:17 AM on November 29, 2007


Because you think the Tasering was justified.

GFY, Rev. I haven't even once stated that.

Grow up, sparky. Get over your teenage angst.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:26 AM on November 29, 2007


Dipsomaniac:


Or, if you like, you could demonstrate where I've said it's "justifiable" to use a Tazer as a substitute for exertion. I won't be holding my breath on that.


No, what I said was:

"Maybe you think that's justified. I wouldn't be surprised, as you have already made the case again and again, as a practical matter, that Tasering is a justifiable substitute for an officer exerting himself or just because he's annoyed."

As a practical matter that's what you are arguing. You see, when dealing with an non-violent, unarmed subject the Taser becomes a substitute for 1. Any exertion, as is the case in Utah or 2. continuing to exert oneself, as is the case with the pregnant woman already on the ground. That's the reality that lies between Tasering someone in the back or on the ground and expecting the magic handcuff fairy to do the job for you. In fact, since in neither instance was handcuffing attempted before the Tasering it's dubious to claim the guy was resisting *at all* because he never got a chance to before being Tasered. So it absolutely becomes, in the officer's toolbox, a substitute for even beginning to exert oneself.

But not only don't you misunderstand the implications of what you are arguing, you are just trying to evade some more.

So I repeat. Again:

Can you cite a single instance where you think the use of a Taser wasn't justified? I don't mean pulling a hypothetical out your ass. I mean cite a real case with a real police officer you would be criticizing.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:28 AM on November 29, 2007


As a practical matter that's what you are arguing.

No. It isn't. It's what you wish I was arguing. Fortunately for me, I don't care.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:30 AM on November 29, 2007


Dipsomaniac:

GFY, Rev. I haven't even once stated that.

Oh. OK.

Now, back to the question:

Can you cite a single instance where you think the use of a Taser wasn't justified? I don't mean pulling a hypothetical out your ass. I mean cite a real case with a real police officer you would be criticizing.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:30 AM on November 29, 2007


Maine: Give us your speeders, your nuts, your British.
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:38 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dipsomaniac:


No. It isn't. It's what you wish I was arguing. Fortunately for me, I don't care.


Let's review: On one hand you get all pissy when the totality of your arguments makes one assume that you thought the use of the Taser was justified in this and other cases discussed.

Yet, at the same time you avoid citing any instance where you think the use of the Taser wasn't justified.

If you continue avoiding the question, can I assume that, although you will deny you claim the use of the Taser is justified in any particular instance, at the same time, for the life of you, you can't think of a case where it wasn't justified?

A couple more threads like this and nothing will be left but your Cheshire Cat grin.

P.S. If I'm not worth bothering with, nothing will make a statement like the deadly silence as I ask again:

Can you cite a single instance where you think the use of a Taser wasn't justified? I don't mean pulling a hypothetical out your ass. I mean cite a real case with a real police officer you would be criticizing.

posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:38 AM on November 29, 2007


Oh, Jesus Christ. Rev, I'm not answering your question because you're still being a pissy idiot.

Let's review: I've said over and over that I'm not justifying the use of Tazers in any case (regardless of how you seeming can't comprehend that statement).

If that's not enough for you then why don't you go pound sand? I am not interested in going around and around your fallacies. That's why I ignore them instead.

Now here's where you can grandly proclaim that my 'failure' to do as you ask is proof of something you made up. You know you're going to, so just get it over with, mmmkay?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:55 AM on November 29, 2007


Dipsomaniac :


Oh, Jesus Christ. Rev, I'm not answering your question because you're still being a pissy idiot.

Let's review: I've said over and over that I'm not justifying the use of Tazers in any case (regardless of how you seeming can't comprehend that statement).


Yet, at the same time, it's obvious that you refuse to even entertain the thought of one real life case where you think the use of the Taser was not justified. One might think it's because your own agenda and bias will not allow it, but now I understand it's actually because I'm a pissy idiot.

I stand corrected.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 10:02 AM on November 29, 2007


There's a meta-issue going on right now.

Middle class America is becoming scared of the police. Really, genuinely scared.

There's a reason these articles are getting more and more common. The message is, if you aren't in perfect pristine compliant mode, you will be tased, and you might die. You and I might know to be compliant, but I think parents are becoming afraid for their kids. Kids are never perfectly compliant.

The first 18 year old to be tased to death will probably lead to a banning of the product nationwide.
posted by effugas at 1:17 PM on November 29, 2007


Reverend Mykeru: FWIW, I have no idea what you are trying to say.
posted by delmoi at 1:23 PM on November 29, 2007


On the other hand, I read all of Dipsomaniac's comments and I'm not really sure what he's getting at either.
posted by delmoi at 1:30 PM on November 29, 2007


I'd like to see our cops better-trained in psychology, neuro-linguistic programming, body language, etcetera. Work smarter instead of relying on brute power.

I'd like to see all the tasers replaced with hypno-disks. Not only would these enforce immediate compliance (that stripper would never have complained about the cop who stalked her and jerked off over her if he'd given her a taste of the hypno-disk prior to engaging her), but you can get the things for a dollar apiece in the back of any Superman comic, so think of all the tax money we'd save.

Then, I'd scrap all of the K9 forces and issue cops with X-Ray Specs. No need for nasty dogs, or uncomfortable pat-downs. You can see right through the perps clothing wearing a pair of X-Ray Specs. These also cost just a dollar a pair.

By issuing every cop with X-Ray Specs and a Hypno-Disk, every single cop will have powers equivalent to a super hero. How much smarter can we work?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:34 PM on November 29, 2007


Arguing on the internet is like trying to remember a Frank Zappa quote, and maybe the pig will learn to sing.

Wait, am I late?
posted by Nabubrush at 3:31 PM on November 29, 2007


“What the hell does that have to do with anything? I mean, did the cops know any of that backstory when they beat the crap out of him?” - posted by delmoi

Perhaps you could, y’know, read and digest an entire comment to devine the gist, understand the concept, it’s not like: “That’s what all this excessive violence leads to - the job NOT getting done right” is some abstruse and arcane woven perspective referencing some deep convoluted point.
But I’ll use small words and go slow - had the police, not beaten Rodney King, he would have been arrested, and justifiably so, for assaulting an officer among other things. That is given, of course, that he wasn’t defending himself from being beaten in the first place. In which case he would have been arrested for driving recklessly. Instead of giving an individual with a drug problem and criminal tendancies millions of dollars with which to get more drugs and shield himself, he may have actually gotten help and/or a wake up call. In either case, beating people, apart from all other considerations (that, in the King case, are certainly valid) does not lead to combating crime, whereas arresting people on valid charges and treating them in a lawful manner - does. Thus - they don’t need to know anything about anyone to have the system work the way it is supposed to, they just have to do their jobs properly and not, y’know, beat people.

“It's a pretty serious question as to whether these cops are making us more safe or less safe, and if they're making us less safe, then what's the point of having them?” - delmoi

I’m sorry. It’s really hard, given the hyperbole, to take this point at all seriously. Do away with police departments entirely? That’s your solution? Or are you just looking for a fight? I don’t believe I could have stated a more reasonable position. My only disagreement was the universal nature of the assertion, not that there isn’t a problem, not that it is occuring and far too often.
And that the police officers in question are - I agree - making us less safe. But you shift to include the entirety, which I can’t agree with, not every cop on every beat in every town, village, city and state goes out every day and brutally tasers people.
You agree these incidents are exceptions, not the rule, yet assert they “happen ALL the time”( emphasis mine).
I can’t agree or disagree with that position because it makes no sense.

“You were referring to an epithet that referred to a specific cop as though it were a blanket statement about all cops.” -posted by Pope Guilty

If that is the case than I was mistaken. However what I presumed was that I was referring a blanket statement.
My point should be clear (and remains) even if I mistook the original statement. (And there are other blanket “pig” or “fascist” statements here)
And indeed, I believe I’ve agreed the specific cop in question (the Utah cop) was in error.
While I think they both contributed to the problem, the cop was in authority, it’s his job to control the situation and if possible keep it from escalating unless it’s necessary. He didn’t. He fails. The driver was just a dick being a dick. And, to be clear, doesn’t mean he should get tasered.


bookie - people do blame the troops for Iraq. On mefi, even.

“do the police actually prevent many crimes, much less save homeowners and damsels in distress?” - Reverend Mykeru

I’m sorry - what? The police don’t actually intervene when a crime is being committed? Does your local news paper have a police blotter? They seem to be arresting people who drive drunk, arrest robbers, arrest people for domestic assault. Is the newspaper simply creating this as a fiction?

“Unfortunately, when you put all of the above together you don't have a police force that "protects and serves"” - Reverend Mykeru

Is it not possible that police misconduct can exist without it being a massive conspiracy or can it not exist along side an effort to legitimately protect and serve? It must be either black or white? There is no possiblity that complexity of such a level exists that cops in general can be trying to do their jobs while others abuse their authority? Is that out of the relm of human conduct and organizational operation?

And concerning your links, I don’t dispute them. But it doesn’t refute my point that police do actually, y’know, arrest criminals daily. I’m not going to cite every newspaper article in every paper in the country about the police arresting some criminal, along with every daily news blotter item. This is just from today. This got what two paragraphs? Why? Because it happens all the time. Police brutality and abuse doesn’t. So it’s sexier for the media. And indeed, it should get a great deal of attention. It should be reported. There should be outrage and it should be stopped. This particular tazering was out of line, and I’ve got a real problem with tasers in general. (A lot of folks seem to miss sentences where I say stuff that, so I like to repeat them).
And unquestionably cops have been used to oppose labor movements, and all sorts of egregious conduct has taken place from time to time and location to location.
But insofar as all police officers and departments everywhere organized in some calculated ‘war on citizenry’? Ridiculous (unless...the Illuminati are behind it *duhn duhn duhnnnn!*). Your locally elected city, village, town council control the police department’s funding. You elect them. There are citizen’s oversight and accountablity committees, if there aren’t you can work to establish them. But it’s oversight that keeps cops in line. Otherwise this discussion is merely academic. And 99% of any police department is what people make it, so if your police department sux, you suck. Run for city council.
Folks who make the laws, the feds, spying on the american public, different story, but we’re talking local cops here.

Do garbagemen actually remove garbage? Or are they secretly working to destroy the environment and conspiring against citizens?
They’re just guys doing a job. You want to talk what should be done in terms of landfills, recycling, etc. and the economic and political interests looking to screw folks over, that’d be a valid point. But cops are just like garbagemen in that respect. You see people aren’t killing each other in the streets or invading homes or rioting maniacly because there’s no law enforcement. And you see your trash taken away when you put it on the curb.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:37 PM on November 29, 2007


Speaking of Rodney, he was shot during a drunkfest today.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:51 PM on November 29, 2007


Can't we all just get along?
posted by caddis at 6:56 PM on November 29, 2007


i'm buying a candy police car and melting it in my microwave in protest
posted by pyramid termite at 6:59 PM on November 29, 2007


heh! DUI but no tase.
posted by tellurian at 9:39 PM on November 29, 2007


I'm All In:

[Taser] is also developing a mini-flying saucer like drone which could also fire Taser stun rounds on criminal suspects or rioting crowds. He expects it to be launched next year and to be sold internationally... (again, via)
posted by LordSludge at 7:55 AM on November 30, 2007


Smedleyman:

Is it not possible that police misconduct can exist without it being a massive conspiracy or can it not exist along side an effort to legitimately protect and serve?

That's your "either/or", not mine. nor did I claim it's a conspiracy. What I'm referring to is an institutionalized attitude that goes along with the increased militarization of police forces. For example, and yes, all examples can be discounted:

Advocates Find Stereotypes In Police Materials or watch the videos of citzens (some former police) trying to make a complain at Police Abuse. Then lets talk about "bad apples".

It must be either black or white?

No.


There is no possiblity that complexity of such a level exists that cops in general can be trying to do their jobs while others abuse their authority? Is that out of the relm of human conduct and organizational operation?


All you've done is beg the question of what exactly their job is.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 8:13 AM on November 30, 2007


I’m sorry - what? The police don’t actually intervene when a crime is being committed? Does your local news paper have a police blotter? They seem to be arresting people who drive drunk, arrest robbers, arrest people for domestic assault. Is the newspaper simply creating this as a fiction?

They (sometimes) intervene when a crime has been committed. The drunk has already driven, the robber has already robbed, and the assaulter has already assaulted. In fact, the cases you read about in the paper are specific instances where the crime was NOT prevented by police intervention. They committed the crime, and they got caught. But they committed the crime. It was not prevented.

Furthermore, police are under no obligation to prevent crime. So they don't actually prevent crime, directly -- but people will be less likely to commit crimes if there is a risk of punishment. (Of course, this risk of punishment is generally greater where there is a police presence.) You'll never read about the crimes that were actually prevented via this mechanism, because they didn't happen.

And, indeed, we don't want police prosecuting "pre-crime" ala Minority Report. (You know, with psychics in water baths and wooden balls and Tom Cruise... that would suck.) It would be pretty ridiculous to be arrested because a cop is pretty sure you're going to kick somebody in the taint, and yet that's the only way to prevent said taint-kicking.

Police won't save the damsel in distress, but they'll catch the thug after he attacks her.
posted by LordSludge at 9:19 AM on November 30, 2007


LordSludge:

They (sometimes) intervene when a crime has been committed. The drunk has already driven, the robber has already robbed, and the assaulter has already assaulted. In fact, the cases you read about in the paper are specific instances where the crime was NOT prevented by police intervention. They committed the crime, and they got caught. But they committed the crime. It was not prevented.

Exactly.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 10:13 AM on November 30, 2007


“What I'm referring to is an institutionalized attitude that goes along with the increased militarization of police forces.”

I’ve ceded, and I think it’s implicit in my previous comments, my opposition to that situation. So we’re in agreement.

“All you've done is beg the question of what exactly their job is.”

No, I’ve asserted that their job is to prevent crime and protect citizens.
I’ve argued that, for the most part, they do that. And I’ve ceded the argument in your particulars (that there other effects such as intimidation and so forth) in that where they’re not doing that, they’re not doing their job.
So, I agree there, but I’ve argued that that can and should be changed. I just don’t get how you’ve refuted my position at all.
Unless you’re arguing for some kind of powerlessness where were just utterly helpless before the power of the police to change anything they do.
I’ve been doing you the courtesy of thinking you’re not arguing that.

“Police won't save the damsel in distress, but they'll catch the thug after he attacks her.” - posted by LordSludge

The link I posted refutes that. Retired cop intervened in a kidnapping in progress. Damsel in distress saved.
I wouldn’t argue that happens all the time but it does happen. Additionally, police departments have crime prevention programs to inform citizens how they can prevent crimes happening to them. This does, in fact, prevent crimes by lowering the numbers of targets of opportunity.
That, however, wasn’t my central point.

“So they don't actually prevent crime, directly -- but people will be less likely to commit crimes if there is a risk of punishment. (Of course, this risk of punishment is generally greater where there is a police presence.) ” - posted by LordSludge

This then would be exactly my point. Sure, cops arrest criminals after the fact. But this coupled with jail time or whatever creates a disincentive to commit the crime. The faster the police response, the less the odds are of getting away with it, the more effective the investigation, the less likely someone will commit the crime in the first place.

I’m well aware cops aren’t obligated to come to your rescue. I am pro-gun, in part, precisely because the police are not obligated to prevent a crime.

But again, I’m not making some esoteric point here. I’ve granted the excesses are bad, and they may well be getting worse. It’s unreasonable to dismantle all police departments everywhere immediately based on that however. I’ve argued that remedies do exist to fix the problem. And that, like garbagemen, police do generally do their jobs. And visibly so - that is, arrests and such of which there are numberous records.
But grant that I have common sense, you can’t praise me for my general levelheadedness then condescend to me.
Obviously police arrest people after the fact. My question is - would you rather have them - immediately - stop doing that entirely?
I don’t see how there can be any realistic response other than ‘no.’
And again - to reiterate - I agree that there are excesses and they are bad and so forth. These are reasons for greater oversight, training and changes in (or indeed, the creation of) the professional environment, there’s no question there are departments with poor institutionalized attitudes, but there are some very excellent and professional departments (I’ve seen them).
There should be greater penalties for cops who abuse their power and assault people, most particularly with tasers which I don’t think they should have in the first place.
That would all be changes in, not the total abolishment of, law enforcement in the United States. Your arguments for change, I’ve pretty much ceded and indeed, augmented with practical things people can do to help effect change.
If you’re arguing for abolishment you’re either for privatization of the police, anarchists, or making some point that’s so subtle that I can’t see it. Some guy robs your store, who’s going to chase him down?
Or you don’t get that I’ve ceded those arguments and I’m making a common sense argument here (we can change policing in our respective areas). Or you think I don’t understand what you’re saying.
Or you just want to argue.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:20 PM on November 30, 2007


Group hug.

::nicks wallet::
posted by LordSludge at 12:49 PM on November 30, 2007


s’long as both feet remain on the ground.
...say didn't I have a $20?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:14 PM on November 30, 2007


but smedleyman, don't you understand, man? we live in a POLICE STATE!!

that's why there are neighborhoods one doesn't dare walk through at night, because we live in a POLICE STATE!

that's why people lock their doors and keep guns in their nightstands because we live in a POLICE STATE!

that's why there's only 12 million illegal immigrants in this country because we live in a POLICE STATE!

that's why kids shoot each other over the right to sell drugs in front of inner city schools because we live in a POLICE STATE!

don't you GET THAT?

next time i'm a victim of a crime, i'm not supporting the POLICE STATE by dialing 911 - i'm dialing 1-800-MEFIHELP and see what they can do for me
posted by pyramid termite at 5:24 PM on November 30, 2007


A Utah trooper who used a Taser to subdue a stubborn motorist who was walking away from him during a traffic stop felt threatened and acted reasonably, state officials said Friday.

"We found that Trooper Gardner's actions were lawful and reasonable under the circumstances," Davenport said at a news conference, joined by Scott Duncan, commissioner of the UHP's parent agency, the Utah Department of Public Safety.


Here.
posted by Eyebeams at 6:36 PM on November 30, 2007


"We found that Trooper Gardner's actions were lawful and reasonable under the circumstances,"

This is the fallacy that requires correction. Hard-on teeny wiener cops treat tasers as just one more tool to subdue subjects who talk back. It is a potentially deadly weapon leveled against the wrong person and it should be treated as such. Force a peanut down every subject's throat and one of them will die from a peanut allergy. Taser is no different. Use it when you could just as easily have physically restrained the 100 lb woman and then she dies - suffer the consequences of a devastating civil suit, especially if she just happens to be a high earner such as a neurosurgeon. Since such suits have failed to quell the limp dick taser happy tin horns we probably need some federal legislation, perhaps something that applies personal liability without job related indemnification to the taser happy putzes. The taser is still a wonderful tool to avoid using a regular gun, I just protest against the limp wangs who taser every bozo who challenges their limp authority. Elanor Bumpers should have been tasered instead of blasted with a shotgun. Ticket boy, well if it was a law to require his signature then he should have just been arrested for violating it. That cop tasered him not to subdue, but out of anger at his failure to submit to authority. limp dick, probably beats his wife too, but that beating won't make it harder. If it was not the law that tickets require signature, and it most likely was not, then taser man/girl needs to turn in her badge as she is not man enough to wear one.
posted by caddis at 8:46 PM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I wish you'd tell us how you really feel, caddis. Just, y'know, let it all out.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yet another unwarranted tase.

"After an investigation, the department’s Internal Affairs office saw no need for disciplinary action. But then-Acting Chief Cathy Ellison reviewed it and ordered a three-day suspension for O’Connor, who served it and then returned to duty."
posted by Manjusri at 8:28 PM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fatal High Speed Chase Didn't Violate Flawed Policy
posted by homunculus at 11:25 PM on December 2, 2007


God, these comments.

I have never seen so many iterations of the word "fuck" and penis references in my life, and to think, it's because of a cop and an alleged traffic violation.

Driving is frustrating, no?

Fucking penises.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:28 PM on December 3, 2007


Next time your house is getting robbed or you’re a battered wife who thinks her husband is going to kill her, dial 911 and ask them to send those Fascist Fucks to come help you out.

Yeah. Cops can do anything they want, so long as they also do some good things.

Why don't you hippies understand that?
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:37 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite: I hope you get improperly arrested and convicted from the testimony of Dr. Steven Hayne.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:39 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Taser the deaf guy when he fails to obey your verbal commands.
posted by caddis at 9:18 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I may "fix" this for ya:

Taser the deaf guy <insert>wearing only a towel whose only crime was taking a bath, whose door you wrongly kicked in after an anonymous, apparently untraceable call about a shooting</insert> when he fails to obey your verbal commands.

Thank goodness nobody got "hurt". They would have had to plant some weed on him.

::sigh::
posted by LordSludge at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hope you get improperly arrested and convicted from the testimony of Dr. Steven Hayne.

i hope the only tacos you see again are from taco bell - with wilted lettuce
posted by pyramid termite at 2:44 PM on December 4, 2007


contrary to their advertising, taco bell does not actually sell tacos

anyway, you guys are cute. I wish all the tiffs were like yours
posted by caddis at 3:21 PM on December 4, 2007


Middle class America is becoming scared of the police. Really, genuinely scared.

Really? I'm not scared. Nor do I feel anything to be scared of when it comes to police.
posted by Doohickie at 2:25 PM on December 5, 2007


i hope the only tacos you see again are from taco bell - with wilted lettuce

That's cold.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 10:58 AM on December 6, 2007


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