The vast majority of those killed by police in the U.S. (over 99% actually) are killed attacking police officers.
There is NO state in the U.S. that allows a citizen, ANY citizen to even question an arrest or any police action without verifiable permission.
A LOT of people are somehow surprised to hear this. “You mean, I can’t, as a citizen, question a police officer on the street over an action like cops closing down a block, or what seems like an unnecessary arrest?”
Yes, that is correct.
There is no mechanism for such on-scene encounters. Police generally (and correctly) respond by arresting the questioner for “obstructing justice.”
The ONLY venue that government makes available to question its authority and the use/abuse of that authority by its law enforcement is the court system.
It’s the same with the confusion over what constitutes “Resisting Arrest.” LEGALLY, merely backing away and claiming, “I didn’t do anything,” amounts to a charge of “Resisting Arrest.”
Struggling with a cop as he/she tries to handcuff you and effect that arrest is generally charged as “Assaulting a police officer.”
Yes, the two are closely related in that the former (“Resisting Arrest”) is often followed by the latter - “Assaulting a police officer,” as the arrestee struggles against what he/she perceives to be a false arrest.
It’s easy to see how a naïve and ignorant citizen might become frustrated and feel that the police are (A) unregulated and (B) overstepping their authority and abusing the citizenry.
It’s also easy to see that given these erroneous assumptions, some of these naïve citizens might feel justified in “attacking the police,” or “fighting back against this abuse.”
The law is clear...very clear, either comply with existing laws, or risk injury or death.
ANYONE who assails a police officer with or without weapons SHOULD be shot, given that police are generally NOT equipped with non-lethal weapons (like Tasers or fast-acting tranquilizers)...but don’t worry, they’re coming.
When the 6’5” nearly 300 pound Michael Brown first resisted arrest by Officer Darren Wilson, he (deliberately, or not) escalated that incident. When he reached inside that patrol car to struggle over that Officer’s weapon, he ratchetted up the charge from mere “resisting arrest,” to “attempted murder of a police officer.”
Once that act was initiated, Michael Brown had to be shot.
Officer Wilson, allegedly (according to all court evidence) did the right thing in firing three times until Michael Brown went down. The last three shots were allegedly fired after Michael Brown rose and again charged that Officer.
A far more sympathetic character was Eric Garner of Staten Island, who actively resisted arrest while selling loose cigarettes in front of a store.
Mr. Garner’s was a non-violent crime. The police crackdown on the sale of “loosies” (loose cigarettes) was initiated from the Mayor’s office because of a perceived massive loss in tax revenues due to that practice.
Mr. Garner’s arrest was supervised by a black, female NYPD Sergeant (Sgt. Kizzy Adonis), who’d sought every option NOT to endanger Mr. Garner’s health. The local precinct was very familiar with Eric Garner and knew of his numerous health issues. (http://nypost.com/2016/01/08/nypd-sergeants-discipline-over-garner-death-draws-backlash-from-union/)
ALL NYPD Sergeants carry Tasers. In this case, Sgt. Adonis eschewed the use of the Taser (due to Mr. Garner’s history of heart problems) and the use of Pepper Spray (due to his documented asthma), BUT Mr. Garner HAD to be arrested. Selling “loosies” is against the law, so is effectively blocking entrance to a place of business (the store he was in front of) and even if those weren’t enough to warrant an arrest (they were), once he began “resisting arrest,” Mr. Garner had to be brought in and “processed.”
While Mr. Garner was NOT acting in an aggressively violent manner, he DID engage in “assaulting a police officer” when he pushed arresting officers away.
THAT’S why Sgt. Adonis decided that a “quick take down” needed to be initiated and Officer Daniel Pantaleo jumped on the back of Mr. Garner and “horse collar” tackled him.
Mr. Garner DID NOT die on-scene, as he would have had he been choked to death by Officer Pantaleo, as many still believe. According to reports, Mr. Garner had a heart attack while being transported to Richmond University Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital one hour later. The preliminary autopsy showed no damage to Garner’s windpipe or the bones of his neck/throat. (http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/12/03/actual-facts-eric-garner/)
It has been documented that no CPR was done at the scene. Was that a failure of the EMS crews to properly assess Mr. Garner’s condition, OR did police refuse access to EMS personnel? In any case, Mr. Garner seems in obvious distress while on the ground and there was no indication that any medical aid was given.
Either of those would be grounds for a Civil case.
That might seem to be a quandary, but it’s not. Had Sgt. Adonis ordered the use of a Taser and Mr. Garner subsequently died of a heart attack, he would’ve died while actively resisting arrest, the same if he’d succumbed to an asthma attack if pepper spray was used, BUT in this case, Mr. Garner was already subdued and medical attention was not given. Mr. Garner had a right to a basic “standard of care.”
The courts have remedied that “Wrongful Death” suit AND had Mr. Garner felt his initial arrest was unlawful, but had complied with Officers and then filed a “false arrest” claim, that claim would’ve been heard in the courts, although probably NOT to Mr. Garner’s liking, as what he did that day was illegal.
There are, without question, cases of improper and poor police procedure, like that of John Crawford, killed in an Ohio Walmart while carrying an air rifle in that store.
An apparently malicious 911 call was made that resulted in an “Active Shooter” response in which John Crawford was subsequently shot and killed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqZ-teZsZmo)
The caller has admitted he lied and almost certainly SHOULD’VE been charged with making a false report to police. The outrage in that case was that the malicious caller, Ronald Ritchie, hasn’t (so far) been charged (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3546376/911-caller-wont-charged-Ohio-Wal-Mart-police-shooting.html).
But WHY have we heard so much less about the John Crawford killing then the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths? Mr. Crawford’s death was more preventable AND the circumstances far more egregious. In fact, you COULD argue that despite Ronald Ritchie’s false information, police SHOULD’VE done a much better (more professional) job of threat assessment relative to John Crawford, who had his back turned to approaching police and was on his cell phone at the time.
The Crawford family has a number of “Wrongful Death” lawsuits filed (http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/crime-law/beavercreek-responds-to-john-crawford-family-lawsu/nkC3c/). It is more likely than not that they will be successful, given the circumstances.
Even the Walter Scott shooting in South Carolina got less attention then the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths. In that case, Officer Slager was immediately terminated and charged with murder (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym4tE0SQCZY), as was South Carolina State Trooper Sean Groubert, now facing 20 years in prison after pleading guilty this past March in the shooting of Levar Jones (in the hip) during a September, 2014 traffic stop in Columbia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yEQDBSt58w).
There are others as well, but who’s ever heard of James Boyd?
James Boyd was a homeless man, shot and killed by Albuquerque, New Mexico police while “illegally camping.” Here’s the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tpAZObNZfI)
Yes, unfortunately for Boyd, he was white, so his shooting by police doesn’t fit the scripted media meme, but thankfully, like in the case of Walter Scott, two Albuquerque police Officers were charged with murder in this case (http://www.koat.com/news/closing-arguments-begin-in-james-boyd-case/34777938).
The courts are the ONLY venue for claims of governmental abuse (false arrest, police brutality, etc.). Officers can and often are charged with crimes and Civil suits (even easier to prove) are almost always heard.
In an environment where, according to author Larry Silverglate, we each (even the most “law-abiding” among us) commit at least Three Felonies a Day (https://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent-ebook/dp/B00505UZ4G?ie=UTF8&btkr=1&ref_=dp-kindle-redirect) it is impossible for us, as civilians, to know all the laws.
There is absolutely NO mechanism for negotiating in the street. Police are NOT there to adjudicate disputes, but to bring potential lawbreakers (“suspects”) before the courts.
The government DEMANDS that they carry out that sworn duty. Body cams are becoming a mandatory, standard part of police equipment, but the vast majority of police encounters caught on such body cameras and dash board cameras condemn the suspects and exonerate police. Notice how few dash board camera videos are used to prosecute police?
The reason: such videos almost always show “suspects behaving badly.”
Non-lethal, but highly effective weaponry IS also on the way. In the near future, suspects who confront police in any way will be almost immediately rendered unconscious and “packaged” and transported to holding in order for them to be assessed as either criminal or psychiatric cases (or both), but challenging police WILL and SHOULD become a thing of the past.
And that’s a good thing, especially for urban communities. To date, homicide remains the leading cause of death for black males between the ages of 16 and 36 and over 92% of those deaths are at the hands of other black males.
In Baltimore, post-Freddy Gray, the homicide rate in that city has jumped to unprecedented levels, nearly all of it consigned to poorer, urban environments (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bloody-end-of-2015-sees-baltimores-murder-rate-reach-all-time-high/).
When the police do their jobs and take down violent felons, those communities are far, FAR safer!