Wednesday, May 16, 2012

If Cops Can't Taze a Pregnant Woman, The Terrorists Will Win


Two survivors of police abuse: Malaika Brooks and her daughter.

Thanks to a misbegotten ruling from a divided Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, police in nine states have been left at an insurmountable disadvantage when dealing with criminal suspects. At least, that’s what we’re told in a legal brief submitted to the Supreme Court by a coalition of police unions. 

“It won’t be long before the word spreads through society’s criminal underworld that the Ninth Circuit hasn’t simply given them a `get out of jail free’ card, but a `never have to go to jail in the first place’ card,” warns the amicus brief. Rather than subduing criminals, “police officers will now be forced to walk away from people they have arrested.”

The ruling that is fraught with such awful implications, Brooks v. City of Seattle, involved a patently unnecessary Taser attack upon a woman who was seven months pregnant. The unarmed woman, who was not suspected of a violent crime, posed no threat to the three – yes, three – valiant officers who assaulted her. She was uncooperative, but did not offer any violent resistance. 

Her sole “offense” was to refuse a demand that she sign a traffic ticket that was eventually dismissed. 

In March 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court found that Seattle Police Officers Steven Daman, Juan Ornelas, and Donald Jones used excessive force when they committed their attack on Brooks and her unborn child – but that they were entitled to “qualified immunity” because the legal precedents dealing with the use of electro-shock torture on a pregnant woman were ambiguous in 2004.  

The assailants were thus left in the clear -- but unsatisfied with their victory. With the support of organizations representing tens of thousands of police officers (including some 30,000 SWAT operators), the officers are appealing that ruling to the Supreme Court, claiming that any limitation on the discretionary use of tasers against non-violent “suspects” constitutes an unacceptable restraint on police discretion and a dire threat to that holiest of social considerations, “officer safety.”

An unarmed fourteen-year-old girl is tasered in Philadelphia.
  In its brief on behalf of the officers, the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association (LACPCA) and the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) insist that refusing to allow police to use electro-shock torture against a pregnant woman would fatally undermine the principle of “pain compliance” on which social order – as they pretend to understand it – depends.

On November 23, 2004, Malaika Brooks was taking her son to school when she was stopped by Officer Ornelas, who claimed – wrongly, as it turned out – that she had been speeding. When he presented Brooks with a traffic ticket, she refused to sign it out of the concern that doing so would constitute an admission of guilt. She had done the same during a 1996 traffic stop in which the officer, who possessed some residual decency, simply handed her the little extortion note and walked away. 

Ornelas, unfortunately, chose to escalate the encounter by calling for “backup.” A few minutes later, Officer Jones and Sgt. Daman arrived on the scene and began to threaten and berate Brooks. None of this was necessary: The officers were engaging in a tribal display of primate dominance, rather than carrying out a function related in any way to protection of person and property. When they threatened to kidnap – or, as they called it, “arrest” – Brooks, the woman informed them that she was “less than 60 days from having my baby.”

After huddling briefly, the three officers attacked Brooks. Ornelas seized her right arm and -- in the course of less than a minute – inflicted three “drive stun” charges to Brooks’s neck, shoulder, and thigh, an assault that left her with permanent scars. The three officers then dragged Brooks – who had been desperately clinging to the steering wheel, honking the horn, and screaming for help – from the car, threw her face-down and pinned her to the ground. She was handcuffed and then booked on charges of “Refusing to sign” a traffic citation – a misdemeanor – and resisting arrest. 

A jury eventually found Brooks guilty of the first “offense,” and acquitted her of the second. The speeding citation was thrown out before Brooks went to court. Brooks filed suit against the officers for assault and violating her civil rights. The officers responded by invoking the well-established – and utterly specious – doctrine of “qualified immunity,” seeking a summary dismissal. The District Court dismissed the assault charge but found that the officers had committed a civil rights violation that nullified their claim to qualified immunity. 

 The Ninth Circuit reversed that holding as it applied to the defendants, ruling that the officers were protected by qualified immunity and could not be sued by Brooks. However, the Court offered notice that in the future similar taser attacks on non-cooperative but non-violent subjects would constitute excessive force.

In his dissent, Judge Alex Kozinski maintained that Brooks “had shown herself deaf to reason, and moderate physical force had only led to further entrenchment…. Brooks was tying up two line officers, a sergeant and three police vehicles – resources diverted from other community functions – to deal with one lousy traffic ticket.”

Who was responsible for this “diversion” – Mrs. Brooks, who was merely being uncooperative, or Officer Ornelas and his comrades, who needlessly escalated a disagreement over “one lousy traffic ticket” to the point where potentially deadly force was used against someone accused of a trivial traffic offense, rather than an actual crime?

“The officers couldn’t just walk away,” complains Kozinski. “Brooks was under arrest.” 

There was no substantive reason why the police couldn’t walk away – if they had been acting as peace officers, that is, rather than as armed enforcers of the revenue-consuming class. 

If a police officer has the option of deploying a reliably deadly weapon in a situation of this kind, he also has the option of backing down and letting the court deal with the merits of the citation. But the position claimed by the officers – and accepted, in a qualified sense, by the Ninth Circuit Court – is that anything other than immediate and unqualified submission by a Mundane justifies the infliction of summary punishment by a police officer.

The amicus brief by the LACPCA and NTOA lament that the Ninth Circuit Court, while upholding the unqualified “authority” of police to arrest people at their discretion, “has deprived officers of any lawful way of enforcing that authority, at least when the suspect is not engaged in violence directed towards the officers” and has “unnecessarily limited the amount of force that can be used against a suspect who refrains from using violence against the police” (emphasis added). 

For more on this fatal Taser attack, go here.
What the police unions who filed that brief are demanding is an open-ended grant of unlimited “authority” to use “pain compliance” against people who passively resist abduction by police. The question of using violent means to subdue a violent criminal suspect is not implicated in any way by this case.

In their petition for certiorari, the officers – whose actions, remember, were upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court – complain that the ruling could “prohibit the use of any low-level physical force against an actually resisting suspect who does not present an imminent threat of harm to the officers, a result that could strip law enforcement of any reasonable and practical means of enforcing the law.” 

To which a person whose mind is not hostage to totalitarian assumptions would reply: “And the problem with this is…?”

In a reasonably free society, police (actually, peace officers) would not presume to "enforce" the law; they would track down and arrest people plausibly suspected of committing crimes against person and property. They would not be permitted to violate the unconditional law of non-aggression by initiating force, or issue what they assume to be “lawful orders” to people who are not suspected of actual crimes. They certainly would not be permitted to employ “pain compliance” in any situation that didn’t involve legitimate defense against an actual aggressor.

Remarkably, in their amicus brief the officers who committed what should be prosecuted as a felonious assault on Brooks asserted that “it is well established that police officers need not use the least amount of force in effecting an arrest.” 

Once again, we’re invited to believe that there would be apocalyptic consequences if police were inhibited in the use of disproportionate force to compel non-violent “suspects” to submit to their supposed authority.

Under the standard prescribed in the amicus briefs filed on behalf of the officers who assaulted Brooks, it’s difficult to find fault with the actions of Beaumont, California Police Officer Enoch Clark.

 On February 21, Clark stopped a woman named Monique Hernandez on suspicion of DUI. When Clark tried to handcuff her, Hernandez resisted. Clark’s preferred method of “pain compliance” was a JPX device — a weapon that employs a gunpowder charge to fire a stream of pepper spray at roughly 400 miles an hour.

The JPX weapon is designed for use against armed assailants at a distance of 6 to 15 feet. Its payload of weaponized OC spray is propelled over that distance at less than three one-hundredths of a second, making it (in the words of the company’s promotional literature) “too fast to avoid…. The effect is immediate; there is no chance to resist.”

Clark – a veteran officer and chairman of the local police officers union -- fired his JPX gun into Hernandez’s right temple at a distance of roughly ten inches. The impact shattered the woman’s right eye and inflicted irreparable damage to her left eye as well. 

The officer has been indicted on four felony charges. His attorney insists that the officer’s attack was justified in order “to gain compliance and in defense of his person.” If the claims made by and on behalf of the officers who assaulted Mailaka Brooks are sound – if police officers are not legally required to use minimal force when dealing with non-violent “suspects” – it’s difficult to see how Clark’s actions were improper, even though they resulted in Monique Rodriguez being permanently blinded.

“It was Brooks’s recalcitrance and resistance that prompted her treatment,” sniffs the officers’ petition for certiorari. “Under both state and federal law she did not have a right to resist her arrest,” which purportedly means that the officers were permitted – nay, required – to employ “pain compliance” techniques against her until she submitted.

Wouldn’t the same principle apply to the actions of Enoch Clark in dealing with the equally recalcitrant Monique Hernandez? His police union attorney certainly thinks so. And let us not forget that any effort to inhibit the police in their sacred mission to impose order would constitute an existential threat to our society. 

Deny an intrepid hero in body armor the option of tasing a pregnant woman – or kicking her in the stomach hard enough to cause the near-term infant to defecate in the womb – a reign of terror will ensue, with the “criminal underworld” arising to devour us all.  









Dum spiro, pugno!

26 comments:

GunRights4US said...

The soap box has failed.
The ballot box has failed.
The jury box has failed.
Only the cartridge box remains as a viable option.

Tyranny NEVER relinquishes its chokehold without being forced to do so.

Chris Mallory said...

Just pondering that JPX pepper spray gun.
Looking at some online sources, 9mm handgun rounds have a velocity of 1200-2000 fps, on average. .40 caliber rounds are roughly the same. If my math is correct, this JPX gun fires it's round at 1800 fps, that is using the low end of 6 feet in 3/100ths of a second.

See Jon Erik Hexum and Brandon Lee if someone tells you blanks are "safe".

Doc Ellis said...

no need to post

Greetings Will

Shared

Thank you for writing this essay

Doc Ellis 124

no need to post

non de guerre said...

Can't say I blame you for arriving at that conclusion, GunRights4US.

Anonymous said...

The worst kind of behavior and thinking is on display and it's called, 'good and true' by those called "authority" and by the majority.

I'm surrounded by sick twisted schizophrenic warmongers, what will they surprise us with next?

I don't want to know, but I'm sure they will come up with something even worse soon enough, that's how they roll.

- clark

ebd10 said...

When you find yourself surrounded by Armored Crewcuts looking to make a kill, the best defense is compliance. Always negotiate from a position of power.

Boris Badonov said...

Comrade I thought Seattle was a glorious Starbucks 6$ cup of coffee swilling people's collective utopia? You mean some pigs are more equal than others? I am shocked, someone should tell Comrade Dear Leader© so he can wave his magic scepter and correct this.

Anonymous said...

If these COP'S can not arrest a woman thats seven months pregnant without using a taser, then they need to be kicked off the force or receive strength training.

geoih said...

Why aren't you publishing the names and addresses of the thugs that assaulted this woman? None of this will change until you make it personal. Plaster the names of these thugs across the internet. Let the world know they are crinimals.

J. Croft said...

These people need opposed, the traitors who hired them need to be fired as well and the elected officials need driven out in recall elections. Getting them out of power is the only answer and if you don't use the ballot box they'll make you use the cartridge box-likely a lot sooner than you'd figure.

LanceThruster said...

It's as if PDs nationwide are screening for Barney Fife/Travis Bickle type hybrids in their recruiting.

At least Sheriff Andy only let ol' Barn' have one bullet and even though he was a Southern lawman in the good old days of the new old South, he tended to leave the ammo in his pocket when dealing traffic scofflaws and serial alcohol abusers, preffering the machine gun staccato of his stammer to control the situation and establish respect for his authoritay.

I used to think Douglas Adams used exaggeration in his writing but now I'm not so sure...


[begin excerpt]
A voice on a bullhorn said, "Okay, Beeblebrox, hold it right there. We've got you covered."

"Cops!" hissed Zaphod, and spun around in a crouch. "You want to try a guess at all, Ford?"

"Okay, this way," said Ford, and the four of them ran down a gangway between two computer banks.

At the end of the gangway appeared a heavily armored and space-suited figure waving a vicious Kill-O-Zap gun.

"We don't want to shoot you, Beeblebrox!" shouted the figure.

"Suits me fine!" shouted Zaphod back, and dived down a wide gap between two data process units.

The others swerved in behind him.

"There are two of them," said Trillian. "We're cornered."

They squeezed themselves down in an angle between a large computer data bank and the wall.

They held their breath and waited.

Suddenly the air exploded with energy bolts as both the cops opened fire on them simultaneously.

"Hey, they're shooting at us," said Arthur, crouching in a tight ball. "I thought they said they didn't want to do that."

"Yeah, I thought they said that," agreed Ford.

Zaphod stuck a head up for a dangerous moment.

"Hey," he said, "I thought you said you didn't want to shoot us!" and ducked again.

They waited.

After a moment a voice replied, "It isn't easy being a cop!"

"What did he say?" whispered Ford in astonishment.

"He said it isn't easy being a cop."

"Well, surely that's his problem, isn't it?"

"I'd have thought so."

Ford shouted out, "Hey, listen! I think we've got enough problems of our own having you shooting at us, so if you could avoid laying your problems on us as well, I think we'd all find it easier to cope!"

Another pause, and then the bullhorn again.

"Now see here, guy," said the voice, "you're not dealing with any dumb two-bit trigger-pumping morons with low hairlines, little piggy eyes and no conversation, we're a couple of intelligent caring guys that you'd probably quite like if you met us socially! I don't go around gratuitously shooting people and then bragging about it afterward in seedy space-rangers bars, like some cops I could mention! I go around shooting people gratuitously and then I agonize about it afterward for hours to my girlfriend!"
[end text]

from: http://www.american-buddha.com/hitchhikerbook8.htm

David K. M. Klaus said...

Horrifying. Simply horrifying.

Bob said...

Perhaps we should not be surprised by what was described here, Will.

liberranter said...

I've always wondered why the family and friends of people like Malaika Brooks, Monique Hernandez, little Levii Dozier and his mother Raven, and others haven't dealt their own brand of justice to the blue-clad swine that assaulted their loved ones. I know that if anything like what these people suffered ever were to happen to my wife, daughter, or grandson, the swine who committed the act would be living on borrowed time!

howardtlewisiiiffy said...

Beware of police officers into S&M and group sex. Check first before making your feelings known.

BadTux said...

Liberranter, the violent thugs hide in gated communities far from their victims, and neither their ID nor their location is divulged to the families of their victims. The thugs have managed to get laws passed in most states making it a crime to divulge their name or address in any way. Even the courts will not force police departments to divulge any information at all, if you wish to serve a police officer with a subpoena upon filing a lawsuit, you must serve the police department, not the officer.

When I was younger we knew all the deputies in our county -- they lived in our county and went to our churches and shopped in our grocery stores and interacted with us like normal people rather than like armed goons in the midst of occupied Iraq -- and somehow we survived without the county turning into a lawless jungle. But that was before police state USA... back then, it was presumed that police officers who had to hide from the community were police officers who didn't deserve to serve the community, because they were either cowards or had PO'ed so many members of the community that it was clear they needed to be dismissed. Today police officers don't serve the community... they rule the community, using all force necessary to do so, with the full force of the law, courts, and the biggest gulag in human history to back them up. (Yes, the USA has more people in jail -- both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of population -- than any other nation in human history, ever). And courage? Cops when I was young had big brass ones. They *clanged* when they walked. They took on crooks with nothing but a .38 revolver and a billy club and a blue shirt. Nowadays... not so much. It seems that even for an ordinary arrest of a traffic offender who failed to show up in court that they send a SWAT team armed like a military assault squad with enough body armor to make our soldiers overseas jealous. Marshmallows. Just sayin'.

Site said...

The worst kind of behavior and thinking is on display and it's called, 'good and true' by those called "authority" and by the majority which is sad but fact.

Anonymous said...

"...National Tactical Officers Association" ? Whoa! Sounds like some militaristic acronym for yet another jack-booted clique of goons. Almost like the NSAP no less.

spec/ops ret. said...

I'am sorry that US is a failed country,your pol's,courts,ect.
have been bought & paid for.
Multi/corps (corpratism)if any one
thinks you can stop this machine
by the cartridge box,you just don't
understand the weapons @ thier disposal & thier willingness to use them on thier American brothers
most Americans will not have the heart for a prolonged in-counter

liberranter said...

BadTux:

All one needs are names and badge numbers, which are easy enough to obtain (in fact, these are usually prominently displayed on the swine's state-issued costumes). After that, it's just a matter of time and persistence before you find them. To paraphrase one of their own trite maxims: they can try to run, but they can't hide forever!

Anonymous said...

>a reign of terror will ensue, with the “criminal underworld” arising to devour us all.

And they will rule and prosper. Where do you think Putin comes from? one of the thugs who tortured people at will. In fact he was so good, he was given the chance to stay in England to learn English and get involved in international politics.

If you can't beat them, join them.

Anonymous said...

"All one needs are names and badge numbers..."- liberanter

Actually I'm certain that the reports with all pertinent names etc. are on file. Just do a little digging and you'll have all you need to know.

willb said...

No doubt the Darwinists will tell us
that tazing pregnant women will
eventually strengthen the human
species by making us non-electrically
conductive.

Anonymous said...

If minorities continue to to claim "racism" instead of Police Brutality against ALL American citizens, then we are all weakened. Whites are being treated like the "enemy" too and if we all stand together they don't stand a chance. Obama won't do anything - neither will Romney - you allowed your own ignorance to stop you from voting for Ron Paul.

BadTux said...

Anon, if you believe that Ron "State's Rights" Paul would have done anything about the police state we're building, I got a bridge to sell ya. He would have stopped the federal goons from doing their thing, but most of this police state brutality is being done by local and state goons, not by federal goons, and he was *totally* state's rights there -- even to the point of dismantling federal civil rights laws that (inadequately, but still to a certain extent) reign in local brutality.

Bull Connor didn't need federal authority or assistance to brutalize the people under his jurisdiction. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

I STUMBLED ONTO THIS ARTICLE/BLOG WHEN LOOKING UP THE DANGERS OF TASERS!I AM APPALLED THAT THE POLICE HAVE THIS KIND OF POWER TO MAME AND POTENTIALY KILL CIVILIANS. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG IN THIS SOCIETY WHEN ORDINARY PEOPLE ARE BEATEN INTO SUBMISSION. A DEFENSELESS PREGNANT WOMAN NOT A STREET THUG TOTTING A GUN. A MOTHER!HOW DO THEY SLEEP AT NIGHT? ITS A WELL KNOWN FACT THAT COPS HAVE POWER ISSUES THEY BELIEVE THEMSELVES ABOVE THE LAW AND HOLD THEMSELVES AT A HIGHER STANDARD THAN ANYONE NOT IN UNIFORM!THE SAYING PROTECT AND SERVE IS CLEARLY WRITTEN ON EVERY POLICE CAR YET ALL THEY DO IS BULLY AND INTIMIDATE AND IN SEVERE CASES LIKE THIS USE EXCESSIVE FORCE.THEY WONDER WHY THEY CALLED PIGS AND WHY THERE IS SUCH A LACK OF RESPECT GIVEN. HOW COULD YOU RESPECT ANYONE WHO WOULD TREAT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THIS WAY UNDER THE GUISE OF ENFORCING THE LAW.HOW IS TASERING THAT POOR PREGNANT WOMAN FIGHTING CRIME? IN MY STATE IF YOU RECEIVE A CITATION YOUR NOT FORCED TO SIGN IT USUALLY IT JUST ARRIVES IN YOUR MAILBOX WITHIN 7 DAYS OF THE INCIDENT. I UNDERSTAND HER REFUSAL AND NOT WANTING TO ADMIT GUILT BEFORE SHE HAD A CHANCE TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE IN FRONT OF A JUDGE. IN THIS COUNTRY YOUR ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DEEMED NOT GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN SO BY THE COURT/PROSECUTORS! HOW DOES A PETTY ACT SUCH AS SPEEDING, WARRANT EXTREME FORCE.THIS GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO BE TOSSED OUT AND A NEW SYSTEM PUT INTO PLACE.