Apparently it is now appropriate for officers of the law to detain, arrest, handcuff and repeatedly taser minors, even AFTER they determine there is no evidence of wrong doing.
This is what a court of appeals has determined when they decided that an officer who did just that was right. I have almost ceased to be amazed by the absolute terror that some misguided law enforcement officers inflict upon peaceful citizens in the name of the law. if you were approached by an officer and it was determined that you did not do anything wrong, would you then want to be detained, arrested, handcuffed and tasered repeatedly? This sounds more like felony assault than appropriate police behavior to me.
An unidentified minor male in Arkansas, simply referred to as “RR”, endured this scenario recently. The Arkansas Court of Appeals says a police officer was right to handcuff a minor and use his taser gun on him repeatedly, even though, at the time the tasering and handcuffing occurred, the underage suspect had already been determined NOT to have committed any crime.
RR was apparently out walking with his mother after dark, when an officer saw them. Obviously, walking is not against the law. However, what drew the officers attention is that RR’s mother was much smaller than RR. The officer later said that he was concerned about her safety. No other reason was given for his concern than that an officer saw R.R, who he describes as a “tall young man”, “approaching a much smaller woman”.
The arresting officer eventually determined that night that R.R. was not up to any suspicious activity and the woman wasn’t endangered, but an attempt to apprehend him that evening for questioning went awry. When the matter first went to court, the presiding judges said “an innocent situation” amazingly “just got completely out of hand.”
Apparently, the problem occurred when the juvenile resisted arrest, after the officer had already determined that he had not done anything wrong. Part of the appeals report reads as follows:
“’By all accounts’ R.R. was a fine young man, an excellent student and active in sports, clubs and church activities,” the court found. Because R.R. refused to submit to arrest, however, the police, ruled the appeals panel, were justified in apprehending him.
“Before the evening was over, several other officers were summoned to the scene. R.R. and his mother ended up in the backseat of a patrol car, and R.R. was tasered several times, removed from the backseat, thrown to the ground, tasered again, kicked, handcuffed and arrested,” the report reads.
The problem is that currently in the United States due process seems to be the very last thing on SOME officers mind. An officer is not supposed to detain, question or ID someone unless he believes there is probable cause to believe a crime has been or is being committed. If there is probable cause, then they can proceed as they determine appropriate, within the confines of the law.
Why, then, can a court of appeals determine that a police officer acted appropriately when he treats any citizen in this manner, let alone a minor, AFTER determining that there is no reason to suspect he has committed a crime?
The truly terrifying aspect of this and similar incidents that now happen on a regular basis all across America is that officers are seldom disciplined as harshly as any other citizen would be. Sometimes they are relieved from their position as a law officer, but they are not prosecuted like, for instance, I would be if I asked someone what they were doing walking so late at night and then proceeded to handcuff and taser them repeatedly even though I could tell that they weren’t doing anything wrong.If I were to stop someone in the middle of a criminal act, I might be a hero, but If I were randomly brutal to innocent people, I would be jailed, and rightly so.
It is an unacceptable message, I believe, to send to society that law officers can be brutal even with citizens who they determine are not doing anything wrong, and that they are above the law. Does this not breed distrust and contention? Why would anyone want to live in a society where officers are right, or at least not completely wrong, for behaving as thugs?
In a world where grade school children get suspended for making Pop Tarts look like guns, middle school kids get suspended for saying no to drugs and high school students get suspended for disarming student gunmen threatening to shoot, I guess we can expect that the next level of insanity would be that when police feel that someone is not breaking the law they can arrest and repeatedly taser them.