following incidents and many more like them serve as chilling reminders that in
the American police state, "we the people" are at the mercy of law enforcement
officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what
constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they
were appointed to "serve
example, police arrested Chaumtoli Huq because she failed to promptly comply
when ordered to "move along" while waiting outside a Ruby Tuesday's restaurant
for her children, who were inside with their father, using the bathroom. NYPD
officers grabbed Huq, a lawyer with the New York City Public Advocate's office,
flipped her around, pressed her against a wall, handcuffed her, searched her
purse, arrested her, and told her to "shut up" when she cried out for help,
her for nine hours. Huq was charged with obstructing governmental
administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
resident Fred Marlow was jailed
and charged with interfering and resisting arrest after
he filmed a SWAT team raid that took place across the street from his apartment
and uploaded the footage to the internet. The
footage shows police officers threatening Marlow, who was awoken
by the sounds of "multiple bombs blasting and glass breaking" and ran outside
to investigate only to be threatened with arrest if he didn't follow orders and
Brandon Raub was questioned at his home by a swarm of DHS, FBI, Secret Service
agents and local police, tackled to the ground, handcuffed, and forcibly transported
to a police station. Raub was then detained against his will in a psychiatric
ward, without being provided any explanation, having any charges levied against
him or being read his rights--all allegedly because of controversial song lyrics
and political views posted on his Facebook page.
police insisted that Raub was not in fact under arrest. Of course, Raub was under arrest. When your hands are
handcuffed behind you, when armed policemen are tackling you to the ground and
transporting you across town in the back of a police car, and then forcibly
detaining you against your will, you're not free to walk away.
you do attempt to walk away, be warned that the consequences will likely be
police slammed 14-year-old Tremaine
McMillian to the ground, putting him in a chokehold and
handcuffing him after he allegedly gave them "dehumanizing stares" and walked
away from them, which the officers found unacceptable. According to Miami-Dade
Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, "His body language was that he was stiffening
up and pulling away" When you have somebody resistant to them and pulling away
and somebody clenching their fists and flailing their arms, that's a threat. Of
course we have to neutralize the threat."
point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging
American Police State, this mindset that any challenge to
police authority is a threat that needs to be "neutralized" is a dangerous one
that is part of a greater nationwide trend that sets the police beyond the
reach of the Fourth Amendment. Moreover, when police officers are allowed to
operate under the assumption that their word is law and that there is no room
for any form of disagreement or even question, that serves to chill the First
Amendment's assurances of free speech, free assembly and the right to petition
the government for a redress of grievances.
it doesn't matter whether it's a casual "show your ID" request on a boardwalk,
a stop-and-frisk search on a city street, or a traffic stop for speeding or
just to check your insurance: if you feel like you can't walk away from a
police encounter of your own volition--and more often than not you can't,
especially when you're being confronted by someone armed to the hilt with all
manner of militarized weaponry and gear--then for all intents and purposes,
you're under arrest from the moment a cop stops you.
raises the question, what exactly constitutes resisting an arrest? Do Americans
really have any recourse at all when it comes to obeying an order from a police
officer, even if it's just to ask a question or assert one's rights, or should
we just "surrender quietly"?
short answer is that anything short of compliance will get you arrested and jailed.
The key word, of course, is comply
meaning to obey, submit or conform.
when police officers cease to look and act like civil servants or peace
officers but instead look and act like soldiers occupying a hostile territory,
it alters their perception of "we the people."
daring to question, challenge or even hesitate when a cop issues an order can
get you charged with resisting arrest or disorderly conduct, you're not the
master in a master-servant relationship. In fact, you're not even the
servant--you're the slave.
is not freedom. This is not even a life.