Another tazing...

Discussion in 'The Study' started by Cruentus, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    O.K.; I know these always lead to heated discussions, but I am really curious about this incident here, and whether or not you think that the cop was out of line...


     
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  2. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    I cant figure out enough of the situation. The playback on my comp is choppy for some reason. The cop pointed the taser at the guy and started giving orders to put his hands behind him and the guy smirked and started walking back to the car. Unless theres more to it I dont see the problem. I wouldnt let him get back to the car and drive off or get a gun.The cop obviously was arresting him for something. But like I said I cant seem to hear everything.

    I love the "read me my rights!" stuff though. People have no idea what miranda is about....
     
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  3. newGuy12

    newGuy12 Master of Arts

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    I don't see the problem either. The driver there refused to sign a ticket, I think, but then when the policeman told him to turn around, he started walking away. Then the policeman tased him. I don't see anything weird here.
     
  4. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    My understanding is that the signing of the ticket is not an admission to speeding, but your signature that the cop actually gave you the ticket, so you can't claim ignorance, or something.

    If he wanted to fight the ticket, he should fight it in court, where you're supposed to.
     
  5. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    Was he arresting him for refusal to sign? Like I said, I cant make out much of the audio....
     
  6. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    I'll try to clarify what I am wondering about here.

    What I saw was this...

    The dude was basically getting speeding ticket; and I guess in that state you have to sign the ticket? Anyway, the guy refused to sign, and said that he didn't agree, and that he wanted to go back and see those speed limit signs, and he had a right to know how fast he was clocked at.

    The cop told him to step out of the car.

    The guy complied but he had an attitude and was kind of waving his hands around and being argumentative.

    This is where it gets tricky.

    The cop told him to turn around and put his hands behind his back while at the same time unholstering and pointing a tazer at him.

    The guy turns around and takes a couple of steps towards his own car, but does not put his hands behind his back. He doesn't really continue towards his car expediantly, or indicate a motivation to do something violent or initiate an escape. His back his turned away from the cop as was asked, but his head is turned and he is saying to the cop, "what's wrong with you!?"

    Then the cop tazes him.

    Now clearly, the guy who got pulled over was a dick. But, I have a number of questions here regarding the entire incident.

    1. What is up with signing the ticket? Why does someone have to sign a ticket or be arrested? Does the signature mean he is waving his right to fight the ticket, or is that just to verify that he recieved the ticket? I don't see why someone would have to sign something or go to jail in this circumstance, but then again I am not familiar with this proceedure.

    2. From what I could tell on the video, the cop refused to tell the guy what he was clocked at. Doesn't the guy have a right to know what he is being clocked at?

    3. Shouldn't the guy have been told that he would be arrested if he didn't sign the ticket? Or perhaps it is best to cuff him 1st to prevent incident, then tell him?

    4. The cop seemed overly ready to taze this guy. I'm glad I am not in this cops shoes because I would have probably felt the same way. But he pulled the tazer out while he was instructing the guy to turn around. If I were the guy at the traffic stop, I would have felt threatened by this.

    5. The cop didn't warn the guy that he was going to taze him. I know it should have been obvious that this was going to happen, but I would think that he would have wanted to say it at least once.

    6. I will say that if I were in the cops shoes, I may have pulled the tazer trigger as well; but my reasoning is because from the video angle the dude looked like he was fishing in his pocket in the same way people fish for pocket clipped folding knives after the cop told him to turn around and put his hands behind his back. The cop did not mention anything about this, though, on the video, and instead only talked about how this guy thought he was "in charge." So I have to assume that this was not his line of thinking.

    Anyway, I know that these details are what makes being an LE difficult; I am sure that all these questions will come up for the officer in court, and he may very well be a good officer.

    My opinion as it stands right now is that there is no question that the driver was a complete jerk. But, I think that the cop could have used better communication skills prior to the tazing, and that maybe this could have been avoided. BUT, I do not know if this makes the act of tazing unjustified.

    That is my opinion and questions so far; and I really do not know the answer of whether or not this is completely justifiable or not. That is why I posted it; hopefully some other observations and opinions here can set me straight...
     
  7. CoryKS

    CoryKS Senior Master

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    Let me give it a shot...

    The problem is that he shouldn't have to sign the ticket! In fact, he shouldn't even have been given a ticket in the first place! He was exercising his right to protest against oppressive traffic laws! By going fast! And got tazed for it, bro! It's the coming police state! It's UnAmerican to do what the police or anyone else wants you to do!

    That should about cover it.
     
  8. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    All good points Cru. But on the "he never warned the guy he was going to be taserd" thing...I think having a cop point one at me and the little red dot on my torso would be a pretty good clue what was coming lol!

    ;)
     
  9. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    The whole "get out of the car and sign this..." thing seems kind of dangerous from an officer safety standpoint. Espically if you are alone. If you are going to give the guy a ticket, I would think it would be better to have a system where you just write one, give it to him and leave.
     
  10. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    lol... no kidding!
     
  11. newGuy12

    newGuy12 Master of Arts

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    Right.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray Master Black Belt

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    Well, I suppose we could nerf people into compliance. But it doesn't seem to work so well and next thing you know someone will choke to death on an errantly aimed nerf projectile.

    If people disagree with having to sign a speeding ticket, they can have their day in court with some high-powered civil rights attorneys...it's a better alternative than having high-powered wires stuck in your skin. Besides, the civil rights case would have more effect on more people depending on the outcome.
     
  13. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    But I think it is fair to wonder about what it means to sign a ticket in this case. I also think it is fair to wonder if an arrest is warrented over deciding to not sign something in this case.

    I definatily agree, though, that court is the place to object to these things.
     
  14. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    It's different in different states. In some, there's no signature required. The cop fills out the ticket, and hands it to you. In others, there's an optional signature line. (I don't get that one...) And, in still others like Virginia, there's a required signature. When you sign a Uniform Traffic Summons (otherwise known as a ticket) in Virginia on the side of the road, you're not admitting guilt; you are simply promising to appear in court on the indicated date and time. (Yes, that's a spiel I've given a time or 2000...) It's just a promise to appear, in lieu of being taken before a magistrate, and being released on some sort of bond (which would often be Personal Recognizance). If you don't sign a ticket in Virginia, you WILL be arrested. You WILL go before a magistrate. And, if I have to use force to achieve that goal, I will.

    With that out of the way, I've got some criticisms about how this was handled, but it was also clear that the driver wasn't going to comply and sign the ticket without some persuasion. The use of the Taser to effect the arrest did appear to be within the policy of several agencies that I'm familiar with; the Taser is placed at about the same level as empty hands. The officer was justified in grabbing the guy (it would have helped if he had advised that he was under arrest in plain words).

    In short -- I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again. Here in the US, go with the program. Settle the issue of whether the cop was right or wrong later, not on the side of the road.
     
  15. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    That makes things clearer. Thanks.
     
  16. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    Looks to me like the cop made a valid call. Not the best call...he was clearly in no danger, and some of his actions escalated the situation rather than calmed it.

    But he was definitely within his rights to use nonlethal force. Even if it might have been smarter to choose not to use it.
     
  17. kuntawguro

    kuntawguro Master Black Belt

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    There are certain things that I take for granted in this life
    1. if you pee on an electric fence- it is gonna hurt
    2. If you stick your finger into an electric fan you might lose a finger.
    3. Snarling dogs do not want to be petted.
    4. If an officer aims a weapon or tazer at you don't challenge him to use it
     
  18. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Some days I am so very glad that I don't live in America.

    I wasn't in the cops shoes, so I can't say that I know what was going through his mind. If it was "This jerks disrespecting my authority, I'll larn 'im!" then he did wrong. If it was "This jerks going for a gun!" then no argument.

    The proviso stands, as I raised in the 'other' tazer thread, let 'them' (aka the enforcement arm of the authorities) get away with it once and it'll happen again. They're notionally there for the protection of the citizenry, not the oppression of same.

    I mean no offence to the likes of Drac or Jks, who I have come to view as level-headed and good-hearted people, but the profession of 'Generic American Police Officer' does not, however unfairly, have a good reputation over here {like our opinion matters one whit :lol:}.

    I suppose that in part this comes from the movies ... and we know what a good guide to any subject they are :D. The upshot of it is that whenever we see reports of a trans-Atlantic LEO acting like the law does not apply to him, English eyebrows rise in the "What else did you expect?" fashion.

    Again, this arises from the very (supposedly) different 'stature' of a person here than in America. We're 'subjects', whatever free-thinking delusions we shroud ourselves in. As such, we do as we're told or it's the modern equivalent of the stocks for us until we learn our place.

    You chaps are supposed to be freer than that and I'm constantly amazed at the simple acceptance that a policeman can do what he likes to you. I'm even more amazed at the hostility I've seen, even here at MT, to the simple suggestion that perhaps allowing your police force to, say, Tazer you for being stroppy about a speeding offence, is hardly in keeping with the spirit of how things are supposed to be in your land. The fact that someone like me, so far away and uninvolved doesn't think it's (pun attack, yeah :D!) shocking is damning in and of itself.
     
  19. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    It's all a matter of proportional response, in the end.

    If the police responding to this crime had stuck the felons head on a pike then I wouldn't murmur a word (providing it wasn't another of our famous miscarriages of justice):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7105483.stm
     
  20. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm glad to here that I've at least overcome one stereotype in my life! NOw if I can only get through the other 1000 or so... ;)
    Very few TV shows or movies paint an even halfway realistic version of what a cop does, or the conditions he does it in. Not even (or perhaps especially not) COPS, "filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement." In reality, most cops are guys or gals out there doing their level best to do a very tough, very unpopular job in the best and most fair way they can.
    Police actions aren't all that accepted here; remember that you're dealing with a small subset of responses in this forum. There are plenty of folks who are very vocal about disliking what cops do. I think it's fair to say that most agencies are at least seriously threatened with at least one law suit a year, and I'm confident all recieve at least one complaint a month. Whether the complaint is unfounded or valid is a different question.

    I've got my criticisms of this incident, and I admit that I'm choosing not to air them. The officer could have done a better job communicating what was going on, and why the driver had to sign the ticket. At the end of the video, he's seen telling another officer about what happened. I suspect that the way he's telling it there (which has a few notable differences from the video's sequence) is really what he thinks happened; under pressure, the mind goes blank and does some funny things. I do think that his use of force was very justifiable. As I've said, I've got criticisms, but they don't rise to "he was ****ed up to do that!"

    But this incident does drive one issue home. When cops are taking enforcement action against you, whether it's a ticket or a physical arrest... go with the program. Pick you battlefield, and it shouldn't be on the side of the road. You'll never win there... All this driver had to do was sign the ticket. He then could have gone back and looked at all the signs; he could have complained on the officer; he could have fought the ticket in court. Instead, he argued and got bullheaded... and was arrested and Tased for it.123
     

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