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Monday, March 29, 2010

Taser a pregnant woman three times over a speeding ticket? No problem.

Just when you were ready to give up on Obama, a reminder of why we need him: to make sure that we don't get more federal judges who are so slow or callous as to let the local police get away with complete garbage like this.

Some days, I am really ashamed of my country.

Comments (37)

Nice to know. We'll be learning a lot more about the Stafford Frey Cooper crew as they will represent the City of Portland in Chasse v Humphreys.

Today's yet unasked question by the media is - who makes the decisions about our city's legal strategy and representation in Chasse v Humphreys. My bet? Its the insurance company who covers our risk in civil litigation.

Seriously, and just a few months after a differnt 9th circ panel seemed to substantially limit lawful taser use. I hope they hear this en banc and the issue gets some politcal attention.

Please note that one of the dim-wits is Oregon's own Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, a Reagan appointee and former Congressional candidate.

Uh, can someone please explain to me what cruel and unusual punishment is, if this is not it? Hell you could argue refusing to sign the ticket is in keeping with freedom of speech and the right against self incrimination if you were being creative.

I don't know. This seems pretty reasonable.


[18] In conclusion,

In this situation, we find, assuming all the facts in Brooks’s favor, that the
Officers’ behavior did not amount to a constitutional violation.

finding no excessive force when officer used Taser gun to effect the arrest of an
uncooperative suspect for a traffic violation).

we find the Officers’ use of force reasonable and not excessive
under the Fourth Amendment,

However, were we to conclude that the force used was excessive, Brooks has not shown that the use of a Taser in drivestun
mode in overcoming her resistance to arrest violated a clearly established
constitutional right.

For the reasons discussed above, we REVERSE the district court and REMAND for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Henceforth, Red Light cameras shall be equipped with grappling hooks and taser devices to extract the signature of a driver. Snail mail of a picture and a date to appear is no longer satisfactory, as an instrument of state sponsored terror -- where compliance means everything. It is "not objectively unreasonable." And, we don't even need a statute to authorize it. We have a design already -- it is the multi-armed thing portrayed in the movie The Incredibles.

(Obama/Romney would repurpose the device to act upon the failure to disclose the identity of the pre-approved company from whom the subject has purchased health insurance.)

Is there a law requiring a citizen to sign a ticket? Seems like you can't FORCE someone to sign anything....

Why didn't the superior officer just sign it as a witness that she was there and understood it?

Anyone who would knowingly tazer a pregnant woman who isn't posing an immediate danger to another person needs to get some mental help.

I'm no lawyer but the officers' motion for summary judgement does seem like a stretch to me; however, I wouldn't make Ms. Brooks a poster child for police brutality. If she got her day in court and I was a juror, I don't think I'd find her story too compelling.

If Ms. Brooks had not been a woman of color, would these events have occured?
I wonder?
Racism is still alive and well, unfortunately.

Any signature obtained by physical torture is probably invalid anyway.

This just violates the laws of common sense. Remember that?

Forget her race. If two doctors can sign a form to do a procedure without consent, then surely two cops can sign a form saying the stopped person would not sign. I understand her reaction; I've been stopped for no good reason (I'm white); the highway patrolman was bullying me for no good reason and it made me angry. (Although I did sign and then drove directly to his barracks and complained because he had followed me for five miles and then refused to show his ID -- a couple of women had been killed/assaulted in the previous month by fake highway patrolmen following them for long distances, which is the only reason I wanted to see an official ID as suggested by the Highway Patrol brass in news stories at the time. He got in trouble, not me. The ticket was dropped. This was in PA.)

But tasing somebody for a simple traffic stop (not someone suspected of a violent crime or someone who is armed) is just plain ridiculous.

And that's before we get to the pregancy issue.

Somebody mentioned in comments on another item that police are increasingly following military protocol, which seems to mean no arguing or even questions. If you read your constitution, our forefathers were trying to prevent that.

Okay all you armchair quarterbacks, how would you have handled the situation.

1. She refused to sign the NOI, an arrestable offense.

2. She refused to exit the car. She refused to comply with lawful commands. She resisted arrest.

3. She was given ample warning and opportunity to comply.

Um, yeah, the Prince of Peace will get right on that for you, given the breathtaking pace of his judicial appointments thus far, NOT!

While I love to side with the cops most times, I am on the other side for this one. When a darling like Ms Brooks gets all upset, spews her venom, and pulls the race card, it can easily draw an unwitting cop into a "no win" situation.

Just because the law may give them authority to take a violator on, there is nothing wrong with a cop doing the right thing and simply walking away. Just like the other cops did with her in 1996 when she pulled the same crap.

Legal or not, tasering her in this situation was bad bad bad. Pregnant women are known to get testy at times, and certainly vulnerable to injury. No win! Time to show some common sense and character, give her the cite, and walk away. She still must appear.

There is always the opportunity to utter all the unkind words needed after she speeds away from the school zone.

So, MP97303, is there any behavior or seeming brutality by cops that you *won't* defend? I'm genuinely curious. What would a police officer have to do to be out of line in your eyes? She resisted, would it be okay by you if the cop had shot her? After all, she resisted.

What are they supposed to do? get in a wrestling match with the dumba$$, shoot her, let her go. Have you guys ever had to make a decision in your life. If I were a cop I would just go and park behind Walmart to avoid being second guessed and prosecuted by a lot of ungrateful bastards. No arrests = No problems.

mp97303, there is only one reason to taser a pregnant woman and put the baby at risk: if she is posing an imminent physical danger to a third person.

Other than that, there is NO acceptable reason to taser a pregnant woman.

Police need to check their egos and realize that making a point about "who's in charge" is not an acceptable reason to use force in most situations. There may be other compelling reasons, but "she's not acknowledging what a Big Deal I am" is not one of them.

As Gibby says, you walk away and file the ticket with a note that says "she refused to sign."

Joe if the infraction in question is a speeding ticket and the choices are "tase a pregnant woman multiple times" or "let her go", yeah, you let her go.

Is it really too much for the public to ask that cops have a modicum of f**king brains between their ears?


Chasse went too far. Campbell went too far, although based on what I read, I understand why the officer shot.

Most of the other cases cited here, not at all. The day we allow people to forgo justice by failing to comply with law enforcement is the day anarchy reins.

Now that I have answered your question, answer mine.

"if the infraction in question is a speeding ticket"

Nope. She was tased for resisting arrest.

When will we see some moral outrage over people who refuse to comply with lawful commands given by law enforcement. If you would take the time to notice, you would see that is the precipitating factor in almost all of these cases.

As Snards and Gibby said, file the ticket with a note saying she refused to sign. I'd rather be an ex-cop than taser a pregnant woman. And I'm pretty sure cops brutalizing people with no consequences can be viewed as a form of anarchy too.

mp97303 Don't let the facts get in your way!

Page 23: Refusing to sign
a speeding ticket was at the time a nonarrestable misdemeanor;
now, in Washington, it is not even that. Brooks had no weapons and had not harmed or threatened to harm a soul."
(Several years earlier, Brooks had been cited for disregarding a stop
sign displayed by a school bus. Believing she was not guilty, Brooks
refused to sign the notice of infraction. She was then issued a criminal
citation for refusing to sign the notice; she also refused to sign the criminal
citation. The arresting officer called her supervisor, who instructed the
officer simply to give Brooks both tickets and allow her to leave.)

Page 30: "In short, there was just no cause to arrest Brooks for
obstructing an officer. None. That is probably why the Officers
have never suggested that there was."

Then read on. I think you need a new arm chair!

They were not lawful demands and the precipitating factor is it is given by an officer with a physiological problem. No that doesn't make the the demands the problem. It is the officer with a well recognized problem. Stop spouting and do some reading.

Snards, that's unless you live in Utah, where the state legislature has made a miscarriage a prosecutable crime.


You should scroll down and read the dissent portion of this decision. The officers admit there were no grounds to arrest her under their department's policy. Officers do not have unlimited power although they may assert otherwise from time to time. Minimally resisting an unlawful arrest is not a crime. Not following unlawful orders is not a crime either.

And this decision isn't whether she was wronged or not, but if the officers involved have immunity for their actions. Immunity to the point where a summary judgement should be issued.

Another quible-- why do certain states still a signature for traffic violations? It's always leading to needless confrontations, usually because signing is seen as agreeing with the officer's assertion that a violations occurred. Look at the Utah YouTube video. Just write the ticket & give it to the driver.

I see dman beat me to it. And that quible's a quibble.

mp97303, no it was a speeding ticket, that a cop with a small penis willfully escalated into a resisting arrest situation.

"Refusing to sign a speeding ticket was at the time a nonarrestable misdemeanor"

If you think there is nothing wrong with giving electric shocks to a pregnant woman there is something wrong with you. I mean literally. Something wrong with your brain.

No arrests = No problems.

Seems to work well with Portland's gang situation.

From section [4] of Probable Cause of the majority opinion (page 8 of the pdf file):

The arrested person, in order to
secure release, and when permitted by the arresting officer,
must give his or her written promise to appear in court as
required by the citation and notice by singing in the appropriate
. .

There you have it. Ms. Brooks refused to sing, even though she'd only been asked to sign, in the appropriate place and was tazzed because of it.

Who knew that refusing involuntary karaoke is punishable by summary tazzing in Seattle...

I don't claim to know WA law but the last time I checked in OR (and I don't feel like seeing if the ORS has been updated), the cops cannot arrest a person over a traffic stop. This I know because back in the early 90s some moron with a badge from Benton County threatened to arrest me after he refused to give me the serial number on his radar unit. This was after he verbally gave me 3 different speeds and wrote down a fourth. I started walking over to his car to get the info myself. The moron then threatened to arrest me. So mp97303 all I have to say to you is that some a$$holes and some criminals wear badges.

If departmental policy allows them to terminate a high speed pursuit when they decide it becomes too risky, then ticketing an irrational citizen without compelling their signature seems like a reasonable judgement call.

Just because the officers followed the law doesn't imply they showed good judgement. If they worked for me, they would have been patrolling the file room, or issuing parking tickets.

I will admit that it is quite sad to see a panel of judges who viewed the same evidence and came to such disparate conclusions.

That being said, the minority opinion is just that, the minority opinion. That and $20 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

I used to think 9 out 10 times, give the cop a break.

Not so much any more.

I might add in the last 3 months I've been stopped twice, ticketed once, and I found both officers to be not only professional, but decent.

That out there, I know not to run my mouth, and I know the officer's name and badge number are on the citation.

I also know that there are some people who need to find a different job besides law enforcement. People get burned out, jaded, sick of having to deal with people who may not want to just get along.

Maybe law enforcement certifications or credentials should be a provisional license, applied for and renewed every 4-6 years, or whenever involved in a case like a shooting. Maybe even grant the mayor the ability have an officer vetted.

Just a thought. I know it sounds severe, but so does shooting someone to death, justified or not.

Re: Mr. Renaud's question about who decides the legal strategy: Both the City of Sandy and Clackamas County have stated that they settled their cases with the Kaady family because their insurance carriers decided it was for the best.

Comments have been made that the taxpayers aren't going to have to pay. But there must be some financial impact isn't there? Either in increased insurance premiums or some such. Can anyone comment?

I agree with Gibby but the court ruling was about what happended, not what could have or should have happened.

Does Gibby think the court ruling was in error?

"Does Gibby think the court ruling was in error?"

There is the letter of the law interpreted by the court, and there is the wide discretionary power of the police. Poor decision making, and lack of common sense within that wide discretionary range can lead to case law with specific language that is more restrictive for all cops. It can close that discretionary gap, making their job tougher.

Seems to me it really comes down to following the law, and doing the right thing. When a question of law comes into play we have the courts, but at least it would be nice to know authorities were trying tho do the right thing no matter the ruling.

The best part of this opinion is the probable cause finding. This lady refused to sign a Notice of Infraction because she believed that the cops were probably racist liars. In other words, in the larger context of the history of this nation, including slavery and the massive expansion of the African American prisoner population in this country following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which made it necessary for racist legislatures and police agencies to "git the niggers" more through the execution of criminal law than through civil discrimination)this woman was an entirely rational individual.

And so, as if on cue, the baboons tased her, which is "all good" in the federal court. I stand with the Albina Ministerial Alliance in shouting "Get with the program, y'all. Stop calling the cops!"

I join you, Bojack, in your shame.

Crazy Eddie


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