Thursday, June 17, 2010

When Should You Stop Resisting Arrest And Just Shut Up And Take The Cuffs?!?

I, for many, many reasons don't run stories on police brutality/beatdowns here at, but chief among them is the sentiment that I can seldom add anything more to the story than what's there. I mean, there's a video, there's someone catching a fair one from 5-0, and usually a bunch of gray matter. Trying to make some grand analysis on how well/badly police treat black folks based on a grainy 30 second cellphone video with little context is an exercise in futility. Besides, I'm much more concerned about all of the cases that don't just so happen to be conveniently caught on tape.

That said, I'm making an exception to the rule today to ponder a bigger question: When you're being arrested and you did nothing wrong, just how much (if at all) should you resist?

Ya'll know how much I hate excessive cut and pasting of news articles[1], and I would like each of you to hit the link below to read all the details, but here's the gist of a case study in When Keepin' It Resistant Goes Wrong.
Seattle police are investigating what they call an assault of an officer in South Seattle. However, a police officer is seen punching a 17-year-old girl in the face during the incident captured by a video camera on Monday.

The incident began when an officer spotted a man jaywalking, the man was some 15 feet away from a pedestrian overpass, police said. The officer was talking to the man when he saw four young women jaywalk across the same street at the same spot. The officer asked the women to step over to his patrol car, but the women were being "verbally antagonistic toward the officer," according to officials.

One of the women, later identified as a 19 year old, began to walk away from the scene despite the officer's instructions, prompting the officer to walk over to her and escort her back to his patrol car. The girl then "began to tense up her arm, and pull away from the officer while yelling at him," investigators said. The officer told the girl to place her hands on his patrol car, but she refused. When the officer tried to grab hold of her, "she pulled away and twisted, breaking free of the officer's grip several times," the blotter report said.

When the officer tried to handcuff the girl, another girl, this one 17 years old, intervened and placed her hands on the officer's arm, "causing the officer to believe she was attempting to physically affect the first subject's escape," police said. The officer pushed back the second girl, but the girl came back at him. The officer then punched her, police said. The officer then handcuffed the 19-year-old woman. Other officers arrived and helped handcuff the second girl.

Both teens were cited for jaywalking. The older suspect was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of obstructing an officer. The 17-year-old girl was booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault of an officer. Nobody was injured during the incident, police said.
Okay, here's the video. The actual punch is around the :30 mark. Beware, this will probably be a little difficult to watch, but according to the police, nobody was seriously injured. I wonder what homegirl's jaw has to say about that.

There's a lot wrong here. Arresting someone for something as trivial as jaywalking strikes me as a particularly silly abuse of police power. This kinda nonsense does little to combat the public perception that many cops are too trigger happy, and don't care about the people they're paid to protect and serve.

On the flipside, come on sistas, f'real? If a cop asks you to stop and walk over to the car, you comply. You don't pop sh*t back to the policeman, no matter how much he might be in the wrong. And you sure as hell don't fight arrest while poppin' sh*t and telling the cop "f*ck you" repeatedly. These girls are lucky they only caught a one-piece and a case. They could very well be in a pine box, had the crossed the wrong cop on the wrong day.

He who has the gun (and badge) has the upper hand. Let them read you your rights and lawyer up.

For a good example of how to handle this, checkout the young brother in the background wearing the Mariners fitted and teal shirt. He tries his best to stop the girl in pink from intervening, but she breaks free and gets popped. Dude was like "f*ck it, I tried to tell her". Now that's a young man with some common freakin' sense.

I'm sure some of you are going to slam me just like you did during the whole Gates-gate situation last year. Many will say I'm being a coward for allowing cops to infringe upon my personal liberties, and teaching my kids a bad lesson by not standing up for myself. Fine.

But ask yourselves this: Had these two girls gotten a bullet to the temple as a result of this nonsense, what exactly would that have proven? Is losing your life, being permanently paralyzed, or in a best case scenario, getting a criminal record, to protect your right to cross the street in any manner you damn well please really worth it?

I think not.

What say ye'?

Question: What would you do? When you're being arrested and you did nothing wrong, just how much (if at all) should you resist? Got any real-life examples to share? Where's the fine line between standing up for your rights and dealing with cops in a manner that doesn't get you arrested or dead? Could these young ladies have handled this situation better? What should happen to the cop as a result of this incident?

Seattle officer punches girl in face during jaywalking stop [KOMO]

[1] Newspapers are now suing bloggers for quoting anything more than 3 paragraphs, BTW. Beware.

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