A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothes and wounded him....
Now by chance three men -- a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan -- came down that same road, and, seeing the man being beaten, joined in on the side of the assailants, for they were emissaries of the divine State.
~ The Parable of the Statist Samaritan (offered with the sincerest apologies to the Author of the genuine article).
Three times each week, 36-year-old Keith Briscoe of Winslow Township, New Jersey would begin his day by going to a nearby Wawa convenience store for soda and cigarettes. Briscoe, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and lived with his parents, went to the local Steininger Behavior Services clinic for treatment, and he would have a smoke outside the store while waiting for the office to open.
As far as anyone in the neighborhood could recall, Briscoe had never bothered anybody. He wasn't causing trouble on the morning of May 3, 2010, when he had the lethal misfortune of attracting the attention of Winslow Township Police Officer Sean Richards. When Richards demanded to know who he was and what he was doing, Briscoe was cooperative, telling the officer -- who had no business bothering one of his betters anyway -- that he was waiting to go to the clinic.
"Patients often go up to the Wawa before their sessions to buy coffee [or] cigarettes," a medical professional who worked at the clinic informs Pro Libertate. "The local businesses and police are aware that there are psychiatric patients in the area and know to call Steininger in the event that one of them gets lost or is getting into trouble. This cop took it upon himself to do what he did without asking anyone in Wawa if there was any problem. Wawa hadn't called the police to intervene because Mr. Briscoe would frequently go there.
Richards should have left well enough alone, but since he had a gun, a piece of government-provided jewelry, and an unearned sense of superiority, he didn't. He demanded that Briscoe get into his police cruiser, supposedly to be given a ride to the clinic. Briscoe wisely turned down the offer.
Richards later admitted that he hadn't received any complaints about Briscoe's behavior, and that he did nothing that warranted an arrest. According to the former clinic staffer, Briscoe was known to be "very kind and gentle [and] would never be aggressive." Yet when the harmless and intimidated man refused to get into the police car, Richards committed an act of criminal assault by seizing and attempting to handcuff him.
As Briscoe tried to escape, Richards called for "backup." He also attacked Briscoe with his Oleoresin Casicum spray, a "non-lethal" chemical weapon that left the victim choking and struggling for breath.
At this point, three bystanders saw Briscoe struggling with a uniformed assailant, a situation that presented them with the "Tom Joad Test," which I've previously described thus:
"When you see a cop -- or, more likely, several of them -- beating up on a prone individual, do you instinctively sympathize with the assailant(s) or the victim? Do you assume that the state is entitled to the benefit of the doubt whenever its agents inflict violence on somebody, or do you believe that the individual -- any individual -- is innocent of wrongdoing until his guilt has been proven?"The bystanders failed the test. Rather than intervening on behalf of the victim, or simply butting out, these statist Samaritans reflexively gave the uniformed assailant the benefit of the doubt, and joined in the beating. Five more armed tax-feeders, summoned by Richards's frantic call for "backup," then arrived to pile on. A few minutes later, Briscoe was dead as a result of "traumatic asphyxia" -- that is, he suffocated at the bottom of a thugscrum. The Camden County Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide. But the chief assailant was not charged with a homicide-related offense.
to the Camden County prosecutor's office, although Richards had
committed an illegal arrest, he couldn't be prosecuted for homicide
because New Jersey "law" doesn't recognize the
unalienable right of innocent people to resist unlawful arrest.
This supposedly means that once Briscoe "resisted being taken into
custody, police had the right to take actions necessary to restrain
him" -- up to and including the use of lethal force.
What this means is that in New Jersey -- a state afflicted with some of the most corrupt and abusive police officers this side of Tahrir Square -- someone who survives a murder attempt by a uniformed thug can be prosecuted for "resisting arrest" even if it is proven that the police assault was a criminal act.
In fact, according to one recent ruling from the state Superior Court (State of New Jersey v. Craig Byron Joseph Martin), it is a crime to resist even when a police offer specifically and repeatedly states that the subject is not under arrest. The police officer in that case testified: "I said, 'Sir, you're not under arrest. I'm just patting you down for my safety."
The subject was instructed to place his hands on his car. When he removed his hands from the vehicle, the officer told him, "I'm going to handcuff you. You're not under arrest." Eventually the incident degenerated into a "scuffle," in which the officer -- once again, by his own account -- exclaimed: "You're not under arrest; stop resisting arrest!"