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Posts tagged Jared Massey

Law and Orders #4: Wichita cops take control by shocking a deaf man for not following orders he couldn’t hear

Cops in America are heavily armed and trained to be bullies. In order to get control of situations that they forced their way into, they routinely hurt people, use force first and ask questions later, and pass off even the most egregious violence against harmless or helpless people as self-defense or as the necessary means to accomplish an unnecessary goal. In order to coerce compliance with their arbitrary orders, they have no trouble electrifying small children, alleged salad-bar thieves, pregnant women, or an already prone and helpless student who may have been guilty of using the computer lab without proper papers on hand. They are willing to pepper spray lawyers for asking inconvenient questions and to beat up teenaged girls for not cleaning up enough birthday cake or being out too late at night. They are willing to shock you and leave you lying on the side of the highway in order to make sure they can serve you with a dubious traffic ticket. It hardly matters if you are an 82 year old woman supposedly benefiting from a care check, or if you are sound asleep in your own home, or if you are unable to move due to a medical condition. It hardly even matters if you die. What a cop can always count on is that, no matter how senselessly he escalates the use of violence and no matter how obviously innocent or helpless his victims are, he can count on his bosses to repeat any lie and make any excuse in order to find that Official Procedures were followed. As long as Official Procedures were followed, of course, any form of brutality or violence is therefore passed off as OK.

One increasingly popular means for out-of-control cops to force you to follow their bellowed orders is by using high-voltage electric shocks in order to inflict pain.Tasers were originally introduced for police use as an alternative to using lethal force; the hope was that, in many situations where cops might otherwise feel forced to go for their guns, they might be able to use the taser instead, to immobilize a person who posed a threat to them or to others, without killing anybody in the process. But in practice, police culture being what it is, any notion of limiting tasers to those situations very quickly went out the window. Cops armed with tasers now freely use them to end arguments by intimidation or actual violence, to coerce people who pose no real threat to anyone into complying with their instructions, and to hurt uppity civilians who dare to give them lip. Among civilized people, deliberately inflicting severe pain in order to extort compliance from your victim is called torture; among cops it is called pain compliance and is considered business as usual. So shock-happy Peace Officers can now go around using their tasers as high-voltage human prods in just about any situation, with more or less complete impunity. In comments at The Agitator, Robert, referring back to John Gardner’s taser assault on Jared Massey, gets the situation exactly right:

Seriously though, I’m much more worried about being tased by some overzealous cop that has had a bad morning than I am about being assaulted by a real criminal. Maybe I just read this blog too much.

MikeT makes a good point. Take the video of the guy stopped in the construction zone. Granted, arguing with a cop is stupid (you’ve got a pretty good shot at getting tased), but how would people have reacted if the guy had turned around and the cop took out his nightstick and gave the guy a couple of kidney shots with it?

Cops’ contemptuous indifference to anything other than their own domineering control of the situation, and their hair-trigger readiness to start shocking in order to coerce compliance, has led to predictable results over and over again. In California, a gang of three cops pepper-sprayed, and tasered, and beat the hell out of a 17-year-old non-verbal autistic teenager for failing to obey commands that he didn’t have the linguistic capacity to understand. In Alabama, a gang of cops tasered a man who was unable to respond to their commands because he was half-conscious from a diabetic episode. And this week, in Wichita, Kansas, a gang of cops forced their way into a deaf man’s house, found him coming out of the bath wearing nothing but a towel around his waist, and promptly immobilized him with painful electric shocks for failing to follow bellowed commands that he could not hear. At the time he was shocked, Donnell Williams was holding his hands to his ear and yelling I can’t hear!

As always, The Incident Is Being Investigated. But the people doing the investigating are more cops, i.e., people who have a personal and professional interest in making sure that they and their buddies aren’t subject to any particular kind of standards whatsoever in the use of force. Here’s how that’s going:

Officers were worried about their own safety because at the time it appeared Williams was refusing to obey their commands to show his hands. That’s when they shot him with a Taser.

Deputy Chief Robert Lee of the Wichita Police Department says, This one occurred on the worst of calls, that being a shooting. The first few minutes getting control of the scene are very, very important.

Once the facts were all sorted out, officers repeatedly apologized to Williams. Police wish it never happened, but with the information they had at the time, their choices were limited.

Do I wish there would have been some way they were notified in advance this gentleman was hearing impaired? I certainly do. No one is happy with the way it worked out, says Lee.

— Michael Schwanke, KWCH (2007-12-03): Hearing Impaired Man Tased by Police

In other words, nothing is going to happen as long as the cops can manufacture the flimsiest possible excuse that a half-naked man with no pockets or anywhere else to conceal a gun might be posing a threat to the safety of several cops with their weapons already drawn, or that they just had no way of knowing that a man is deaf when he’s pointing to his ears and yelling I can’t hear! Gosh but the boys in blue feel mighty sorry, but of course they’re not going to do anything about the fact that they tortured an innocent man over a complete mistake.

In real life, outside of government power trip la-la land, if you or I did something like that we would be expected to take some minimal responsibility and pay to make it right for the victim of our fuck-up, even if our options seemed mighty limited at the time. But since these guys are on the State’s official goon squad, some crocodile tears and an Oops, my bad will have to do.

(Story via Radley Balko 2007-12-04.)

Further reading:

What a shock.

Let’s review.

The nearly 10-minute video clip, which has drawn nothing but negative comments toward the trooper on YouTube, shows Gardner approaching Massey’s SUV and asking for his driver’s license and registration. Massey asks how fast he was going, which prompts Gardner to repeat his request.

I need your driver’s license and registration — right now, the trooper says.

Massey continues to question Gardner about the posted speed limit and how fast he was going but hands over his papers. The trooper walks back to his car.

Gardner returns to the SUV and tells Massey he’s being cited for speeding. On the video, Massey can be heard refusing to sign the ticket and demanding that the trooper take him back and show him the 40 mph speed limit sign.

What you’re going to do — if you’re giving me a ticket — in the first place, you’re going to tell me why … Massey says.

For speeding, the trooper interjects.

… and second of all we’re going to go look for that 40 mph sign, Massey says.

Well you’re going to sign this first, Gardner says.

No I am not. I’m not signing anything. Massey says.

Gardner tells Massey to hop out of the car, then walks back to the hood of his patrol car, setting down his ticket book. Massey is close behind the trooper pointing toward the 40 mph speed limit sign he’d passed just before being pulled over.

Turn around. Put your hands behind your back, Gardner says. He repeats the command a second time as he draws his Taser and takes a step back.

The trooper points the Taser at Massey who stares incredulously at him.

What the hell is wrong with you? Massey asks.

Gardner repeats the command to turn around two more times as Massey, with part of his right hand in his pants pocket, starts to walk back toward his SUV.

What the heck’s wrong with you? Massey can be heard asking as Gardner fires his Taser into Massey’s back. Immobilized by the weapon’s 50,000 volts, Massey falls backward, striking his head on the highway. The impact caused a cut on Massey’s scalp.

Massey’s wife Lauren, who was seven months pregnant at the time, gets out of the SUV screaming and is ordered to get back in the vehicle or risk being arrested. Gardner handcuffs Massey and leaves him on the side of the highway while he goes to talk to Massey’s wife.

He’s fine. I Tasered him because he did not follow my instructions, Gardner explains to the audibly upset woman.

You had no right to do that! she responds. You had no right to do that!

While Gardner is still talking to Lauren Massey, her husband gets to his feet and approaches the trooper from behind. Gardner takes the handcuffed man back toward his patrol car and again orders Lauren Massey to stay in her vehicle or risk being arrested.

Officer you’re a little bit excited. You need to calm yourself down, Jared Massey tells Gardner before being put into the trooper’s patrol car where he continues to demand an explanation for his arrest.

— Geoff Liesik, Deseret Morning News (2007-11-21): Trooper’s Taser use pops up on YouTube

Cops in America are heavily armed and trained to be bullies. They routinely force their way into situations they have no business being in, use violence first and ask questions later, and pass off even the most egregious forms of violence against harmless or helpless people as self-defense or as the necessary means to accomplish a completely unnecessary goal. In order to stay in control of the situation, they have no trouble electrifying small children, alleged salad-bar thieves, pregnant women possibly guilty of a minor traffic violation, or an already prone and helpless student who may have been guilty of using the computer lab without proper papers on hand. They are willing to pepper spray lawyers for asking inconvenient questions and to beat up teenaged girls for not cleaning up enough birthday cake or being out too late at night. It hardly matters if you are an 82 year old woman supposedly benefiting from a care check, or if you are sound asleep in your own home, or if you are unable to move due to a medical condition, or if the cops attack you within 25 seconds of entering the room, while you are standing quietly against the wall with your arms at your sides. It hardly even matters if you die. What a cop can always count on is that, no matter how senselessly he escalates the use of violence and no matter how obviously innocent or helpless his victims are, he can count on his buddies to clap him on the back and he can count on his bosses to repeat any lie and make any excuse in order to find that Official Procedures were followed. As long as Official Procedures were followed, of course, any form of brutality or violence is therefore passed off as OK ….

Note that Gardner never, at any point in the video, claimed that anything that Massey did in the encounter was threatening or that he felt he had to defend himself. He explicitly stated, over and over again, to Jared Massey, to his wife, and to a fellow cop, not that the reason for his actions was self-defense, but that it was to coerce compliance. Gardner also never told Massey that he was under arrest until after knocking Massey to the ground with his taser. However, cop enablers are not about to let the mere evidence of their senses get in the way of fabricating excuses for police violence …

— GT 2007-11-27: Law and Orders #3: John Gardner of the Utah Highway Patrol tasers Jared Massey in front of his family for questioning why he was pulled over

Some days, I really hate being right.

Utah taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — 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.

Trooper Jon Gardner remains on leave, primarily for his safety, after numerous anonymous threats were made against him, said Supt. Lance Davenport of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Gardner twice zapped [sic] Jared Massey with a Taser when the driver walked away and refused to sign a speeding ticket on Sept. 14. The incident was recorded on Gardner’s dashboard camera. Massey filed a public-records request and posted the video on YouTube, which said it has been viewed more than 1 million times.

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.

The investigation was conducted by officials in the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the highway patrol. The officials have asked the Utah attorney general’s office to also review the case to determine if laws were broken.

Massey was not at the news conference and could not immediately be reached for comment.

The video showed Massey arguing about whether he was exceeding the speed limit on U.S. 40 in eastern Utah. Massey got out and walked to the rear of his vehicle. The trooper pulled out his Taser when the driver tried to return to his seat.

Massey shrieked, fell and said: Officer, I really don’t know what you’re doing.

Face down! Face down! Put your hands behind your back, Gardner said.

— USA Today (2007-11-30): Utah taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

This seems to be more or less how most cops seem to think that all their conversations with the public that they serve and protect should go.

When Massey’s wife emerged from the passenger side, the trooper ordered her to get back in — or you’re going to jail, too. Moments later, when another officer arrived, one of them said, Oh, he took a ride with the Taser.

Davenport said that comment was inappropriate.

— USA Today (2007-11-30): Utah taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

Well, that’s mighty white of him.

Officials said Gardner could have issued the ticket without Massey’s signature.

The investigation found use of the Taser was justified because Massey had turned his back and put a hand near his pocket, Davenport said.

For a law-enforcement officer, that is a very, very scary situation, he said.

Nonetheless, the trooper now realizes that other options were available, Davenport said.

— USA Today (2007-11-30): Utah taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

Remember that at no point in the encounter did Gardner ever claim that he used the taser because he felt threatened or because he believed that Massey was reaching for a piece. In fact, he explained several times why he used the taser, to Massey, to Massey’s wife, and to another cop, and every time he said the reason was that Massey didn’t follow instructions. I’m sure he just forgot to mention that he feared for his life, too. It’s wonderful how a gang of cops investigating possible after-the-fact excuses for another cop’s use of violence can jog the memory.

However, once we strip out the self-serving lies, note that we are left with the following:

Officials said Gardner could have issued the ticket without Massey’s signature.

… Nonetheless, the trooper now realizes that other options were available, Davenport said.

Let’s review.

Officials said Gardner could have issued the ticket without Massey’s signature.

… Nonetheless, the trooper now realizes that other options were available, Davenport said.

And there you have it. In the view of the Utah Highway Patrol, it is lawful and reasonable to torture you with 50,000-volts of electricity in order to force you to comply with their orders, even when those orders are completely unnecessary and even when other options are available.

What a shock.

(Story via Strike the Root and no authority 2007-12-01.)

Further reading:

Law and Orders #3: John Gardner of the Utah Highway Patrol tasers Jared Massey in front of his family for questioning why he was pulled over

Update 2007-11-29: Some of the quotes from commenters were re-ordered to correct for a misplaced copy-and-paste.

Cops in America are heavily armed and trained to be bullies. They routinely force their way into situations they have no business being in, use violence first and ask questions later, and pass off even the most egregious forms of violence against harmless or helpless people as self-defense or as the necessary means to accomplish a completely unnecessary goal. In order to stay in control of the situation, they have no trouble electrifying small children, alleged salad-bar thieves, pregnant women possibly guilty of a minor traffic violation, or an already prone and helpless student who may have been guilty of using the computer lab without proper papers on hand. They are willing to pepper spray lawyers for asking inconvenient questions and to beat up teenaged girls for not cleaning up enough birthday cake or being out too late at night. It hardly matters if you are an 82 year old woman supposedly benefiting from a care check, or if you are sound asleep in your own home, or if you are unable to move due to a medical condition, or if the cops attack you within 25 seconds of entering the room, while you are standing quietly against the wall with your arms at your sides. It hardly even matters if you die. What a cop can always count on is that, no matter how senselessly he escalates the use of violence and no matter how obviously innocent or helpless his victims are, he can count on his buddies to clap him on the back and he can count on his bosses to repeat any lie and make any excuse in order to find that Official Procedures were followed. As long as Official Procedures were followed, of course, any form of brutality or violence is therefore passed off as OK by the mainstream media, while a chorus of sado-fascist bully boys in the newspapers, talk shows, and the Internet will smear the victim and howl for the obliteration of any notion of restraints on the use of force in securing compliance with police demands. Then they will sanctimoniously explain how cops need to be able to shove you around and then beat and torture you with impunity so that they can protect you. Whether or we ever wanted or asked for their protection in the first place.

One increasingly popular means for out-of-control cops to force you to follow their bellowed orders is by using high-voltage electric shocks in order to inflict pain. Now, in fact, tasers were originally introduced for police use as an alternative to using lethal force; the hope was that, in many situations where cops might otherwise feel forced to go for their guns, they might be able to use the taser instead, to immobilize a person who posed a threat to them or to others, without killing anybody in the process. But in practice, police culture being what it is, any notion of limiting tasers to those situations very quickly went out the window. Cops armed with tasers now freely use them to end arguments by intimidation or actual violence, to coerce people who pose no real threat to anyone into complying with their instructions, and to hurt uppity civilians who dare to give them lip. They often do so even when the supposed offense that they’re responding to is completely trivial; they often start tasering, or keep on tasering, after their victims have already been rendered helpless by the circumstances or by an earlier use of force. Among civilized people, deliberately inflicting severe pain in order to extort compliance from your victim is called torture; among cops it is called pain compliance and is considered business as usual. So shock-happy Peace Officers can now go around using their tasers as 50,000-volt human prods in just about any situation, with more or less complete impunity. In those rare cases where media criticism, mass riots, or a lawsuit does force some minimal accountability on the police force, the handful of low-level officers who face punishment are portrayed as bad apples and the whole thing is written off as yet another isolated incident.

Last week, the latest isolated incident came to light thanks to a pending lawsuit and a dash camera video posted on YouTube. John Gardner, who works for the Utah Highway Patrol, pulled over Jared Massey on U.S. highway 40. Here is what happened:

The nearly 10-minute video clip, which has drawn nothing but negative comments toward the trooper on YouTube, shows Gardner approaching Massey’s SUV and asking for his driver’s license and registration. Massey asks how fast he was going, which prompts Gardner to repeat his request.

I need your driver’s license and registration — right now, the trooper says.

Massey continues to question Gardner about the posted speed limit and how fast he was going but hands over his papers. The trooper walks back to his car.

Gardner returns to the SUV and tells Massey he’s being cited for speeding. On the video, Massey can be heard refusing to sign the ticket and demanding that the trooper take him back and show him the 40 mph speed limit sign.

What you’re going to do — if you’re giving me a ticket — in the first place, you’re going to tell me why … Massey says.

For speeding, the trooper interjects.

… and second of all we’re going to go look for that 40 mph sign, Massey says.

Well you’re going to sign this first, Gardner says.

No I am not. I’m not signing anything. Massey says.

Gardner tells Massey to hop out of the car, then walks back to the hood of his patrol car, setting down his ticket book. Massey is close behind the trooper pointing toward the 40 mph speed limit sign he’d passed just before being pulled over.

Turn around. Put your hands behind your back, Gardner says. He repeats the command a second time as he draws his Taser and takes a step back.

The trooper points the Taser at Massey who stares incredulously at him.

What the hell is wrong with you? Massey asks.

Gardner repeats the command to turn around two more times as Massey, with part of his right hand in his pants pocket, starts to walk back toward his SUV.

What the heck’s wrong with you? Massey can be heard asking as Gardner fires his Taser into Massey’s back. Immobilized by the weapon’s 50,000 volts, Massey falls backward, striking his head on the highway. The impact caused a cut on Massey’s scalp.

— Geoff Liesik, Deseret Morning News (2007-11-21): Trooper’s Taser use pops up on YouTube

The newspaper account omits that at this point Massey is screaming in pain. While the cop kneels and handcuffs him, he gives Massey a lecture about how he should’ve followed my instructions.

Massey’s wife Lauren, who was seven months pregnant at the time, gets out of the SUV screaming and is ordered to get back in the vehicle or risk being arrested. Gardner handcuffs Massey and leaves him on the side of the highway while he goes to talk to Massey’s wife.

He’s fine. I Tasered him because he did not follow my instructions, Gardner explains to the audibly upset woman.

You had no right to do that! she responds. You had no right to do that!

While Gardner is still talking to Lauren Massey, her husband gets to his feet and approaches the trooper from behind. Gardner takes the handcuffed man back toward his patrol car and again orders Lauren Massey to stay in her vehicle or risk being arrested.

Officer you’re a little bit excited. You need to calm yourself down, Jared Massey tells Gardner before being put into the trooper’s patrol car where he continues to demand an explanation for his arrest.

— Geoff Liesik, Deseret Morning News (2007-11-21): Trooper’s Taser use pops up on YouTube

Gardner’s response was to sanctimoniously tell Massey, who never made any threatening motion, and who hardly even raised his voice until a weapon was pointed at him, that No, you’re a little excited, because you weren’t following my instructions. As he marches Massey to the police car, and informs him that he’s going to jail, Massey demands to be read his rights. The officer’s response is to threaten Massey with another shock from the taser. Please note that, at this point, Massey is already handcuffed and has done nothing other than talk back.

The video concludes with a demonstration of the cavalier buddy-buddy culture of policing:

When a backup officer arrives on the scene and asks Gardner what happened he tells them Massey took a ride with the Taser.

Oh, how was it? the unidentified officer asks.

Painful, isn’t it? Gardner responds.

— Geoff Liesik, Deseret Morning News (2007-11-21): Trooper’s Taser use pops up on YouTube

After they’ve finished jeering at their handcuffed victim, the other cop asks what happened, Gardner tells some plain lies about the sequence of events, and gets a clap on the back for his efforts. Meanwhile, the bellowing blowhard brigade chimes in in the reader comments:

This reminds me of what is wrong with America, and what, if not rectified will be the recipe for our demise. Respect. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, I was taught to respect authority. That meant my elders, law-enforcement, teachers, whatever. Kids now have this sense of entitlement that is unmatched anywhere else on this Earth. They think that if they make a mistake they can just hit the ‘reset’ button like on their video game and start over. Well, life is not like that. There was once what is called the Greatest Generation. This is not it. What we have is the Worst Generation. No wonder other countries hate us. We are gluttons in every thing we do. This sniveling little brat needs the full measure of the law brought against him and that trooper needs a pat on the back for doing his job. I’m still dumbstruck by this. To have it called into question like the officer was in the wrong. WAKE UP MORONS! It’s not the teacher, the officer, the bus driver, or etc. IT’S YOUR KID.

Erick, 12:44 a.m., 21 November 2007

Accept to sign the paper … Than between a trooper and a driver could be argue, misunderstand, etc. Next step to see a judge to have speeding charge or dismiss the ticket, which the judge, the driver and the trooper have neutral and work together. The trooper has a reason is protect himselif when the driver was too close to him. (the school or the trooper training trained him the rules).

–Anonymous, 6:17 a.m., 21 November 2007

Those officers out in the desert put their lives on the line every day. They don’t know when stopping someone if they are a housewife or a murderer. If an officer places you under arrest you don’t turn around and walk away. The guy was way out of line. Sign the ticket and fight it in court.

not right, 8:28 a.m., 21 November 2007

I think releasing the video is Massey’s way of testing the waters for his lawsuit. But as he should see, he’s not getting everyone on his side. He started the who incident by his disobedience to an officer. He left the officer no choice, and a jury will see that.

Testing the waters, 9:04 a.m., 21 November 2007

As for some requirement to show him the sign I have never heard of anything of the sort. The kid kept ranting about his rights. Funny. Too much tv for him

Relax, 9:44 a.m., 21 November 2007

Please also note that attempting to ask a police officer a question constitutes resisting police, and that a 50,000-volt electric shock is just a natural consequence of the resistance. Cops certainly haven’t any discretion in whether or not to escalate the use of force:

It amazes me that people think that they can resist police and expect to not suffer the consequences. The man was willfully disobeying a lawful command from an officer, and got tasered for it. Why should anyone be surprised? If it were otherwise, everyone would be non-compliant towards officers. If the guy felt that he was being ticketed erroneously, he should have fought his battle in the courtroom, not on the street.

Jim, 7:42 a.m., 21 November 2007

Note that Gardner never, at any point in the video, claimed that anything that Massey did in the encounter was threatening or that he felt he had to defend himself. He explicitly stated, over and over again, to Jared Massey, to his wife, and to a fellow cop, not that the reason for his actions was self-defense, but that it was to coerce compliance. Gardner also never told Massey that he was under arrest until after knocking Massey to the ground with his taser. However, cop enablers are not about to let the mere evidence of their senses get in the way of fabricating excuses for police violence:

Everyone knows you can’t approach a cop from behind, especailly after you have refused to sign the ticket (which you have to do). Then you walk away when he tells you 4 times to put his hands behind his head. The taser wasn’t called for, and then the reason why he was getting pulled over was shady for sure. And the cop started to lie to the other officer in the video about what happended. Both in the wrong, but the kid posed a clear threat by walking behing the officer (twice in fact). STUPID!!!

Both are in wrong!!, 7:32 a.m., 21 November 2007

From the video I saw, the guy deserved it. He was ignoring orders, started to walk back to his car and started to put his right hand in his pocket. I can see why the officer wanted to end his refusal to obey right then. It’s easy to see that the officer might have been concerned that the guy was going to reach for a gun, or go get one from his car, or just get in his car and take off. Had the driver obeyed, there would have been no need for the Taser. But, looks to me like he asked for it. No sympathy from me.

Deserved it, 8:41 a.m., 21 November 2007

It is pretty apparent from the you tube video that the gentleman that was tasered was not cooperative with the officer. While he had a right to ask the questions he asked, he has a responsibility to follow the directions given him by police. I stand by the officer; when someone chooses to act the way this gentleman did, and place an officer in a situation where he may feel at risk, that person has to accept the consequences for his actions.

Derek, 9:19 a.m., 21 November 2007

Third, you start walking away from a cop that is telling you that you’re under arrest, expect something bad to happen.

l, 10:11 a.m., 21 November 2007

I think the officer was well within his rights to protect himself. When a command is given, you obey it? If you don’t then it is considered not compliance, then you fry them.

Funny, 12:58 p.m., 21 November 2007

Meanwhile, an anonymous contemptuous thug asks:

OK all you couch-Cops, once the guy refused the cop’s orders and was walking back to his car, clearly to drive away, what do you think the cop should have done? Some how, some way, he had to keep the driver from doing that. Had he not, how do we know there wouldn’t have been a much more dangerous high-speed chase. It’s clear the guy wasn’t going to sign the ticket, and when you don’t do that, cops are instructed to arrest. The solution wasn’t to let the guy go free just because he disagreed. The driver caused this confrontation.

Better suggestion, 9:00 a.m., 21 November 2007

Even if it were clear, which it certainly is not, that Massey intended to drive away, the notion that the cop Some how, some way … had to keep the driver from doing that is completely preposterous. If he just drove off, then the cop can bloody well look up his license plate number and mail him the ticket. But the notion of letting a Bad Guy temporarily get away with a minor speeding infraction is so repugnant to the nature of both cops and their sycophants that no solution other than a 50,000-volt shock on the side of the road even comes to mind.

Meanwhile, while many commenters show a healthy outrage at Gardner’s obviously abusive behavior, most of them seem to feel compelled to pepper their statements with cavils about how Massey could have acted better, or about how I support police officers, I have sympathy for the difficult situations policemen face, both people behaved badly, The public should be respectful of law enforcement as a matter of principle, etc. etc. etc. Most of those who suggest a concrete penalty for Gardner suggest that he should be reprimanded, or re-trained, or reassigned to a desk job, or temporarily suspended, or perhaps even fired. To hell with that. The behavior of both Gardner and his fellow cops, based on the contents of the video and the laggard pace of the investigation, is despicable. Gardner should be indicted and prosecuted for assault and battery, and he should be forced to personally pay compensation for Massey’s pain and suffering.

If you’re baffled that cops could feel free to indulge in this kind of outrage, and that numerous fellow cops, prosecutors, and freelance bullies would rush to defend it, while even the opponents make only timid and isolated efforts at mild criticism, it may help to remember that in most of America, there is no such thing as a civil police force anymore. What we have instead would be better described as elite paramilitary cadres, often referred to as Troopers and organized into a chain of command with military ranks, who are occupying what they regard as hostile territory. Here as elsewhere, the occupation forces are going to serve and protect us, whether we want them to or not, and if we don’t like it then they’ve got more than enough firepower to make sure they can protect the hell out of us all anyway.

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