POLICE BRUTALITY IN THE UNITED STATES; IT ROOT AND CAUSES.
With all due respect to racial minorities, for the most part, today’s police officers do not care what color you are or where you came from. When you “fail the attitude test” with today’s police officers you probably will minimally be arrested for some “resistance offense“. If you continue to “mouth-off” to the officer (i.e. lawfully protest being falsely arrested or tell the cop they are acting unlawfully) you are begging for a police beating and there is a substantial probability that you will get one. This is no joke. No police or prosecutorial agency is going to fault a cop for beating you unless there is a clear video recording showing some black and white use of unreasonable force upon you by the officer. That is reality. Accordingly, as a real practical matter, the police soon learn that they usually can beat you with impunity.
Although one my lawfully non-forcefully resist an unlawful arrest or detention, and may with reasonable for resist the use of unreasonable force upon you by an officer (See, People v. Curtis, 70 Cal.2d 347 (1969) ) if you do resist or protest you are likely to be beaten and falsely prosecuted for some “resistance offense”.
Some of this is unlawful and outrageous police violence and downright police sadism a natural product of using force upon civilians every day for a living; even legitimately.The police walk around every day with a “Sam Brown Belt” with which they carry items such as: 1) a pistol, 2) a taser, 3) a baton (usually these days collapsible ones or “asps”), 4) peppery-spray, 5) bullets, 6) handcuffs, 7) police radio 8) recording device and 9) handcuffs. That is a lot of hardware. They also now usually carry AR-15 high powered rifles, rather than the traditional police shotguns. So, the average cop is armed to the teeth.
Some of this is the result of the United States being in a war in the Middle East since 2001. The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and invaded Iraq in 2003. Because many of the United States Military personnel serving in those wars were Reserves, and because many of those Reserves were and are police officers, many of today’s police officers act as if they were in a war zone. When they perceive a potential threat to them, real, imaginary or contrived, they often just “take out” that threat. Frankly, who can blame them. The use of police SWAT teams is prevalent in this country, even for de minimis threats to anyone. Half of the time that SWAT team is basically practicing (on you; again, for fun). Modern police equipment is often indistinguishable for military garb.
Surprising to most, some of this police sadism and run-away use of unreasonable force is the result of civil and criminal juries constantly siding with the police. Law Enforcement Agencies never admit fault. They never admit that there officer wrongfully shot someone or unlawfully beat someone, or even unlawfully arrested someone. When juries excuse police outrages, the police now may come to believe that such conduct is now permitted. If their agency isn;t going to fault them and the juries won’t either, that really can do just about anything they desire with you. As Lord Acton stated some time ago: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
OFFICER’S SAFETY HAS REPLACED YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES OF YOUR PERSONS AND PROPERTY.
Police officers usually don’t go “hands on” any more unless the person is handcuffed, or there are multiple officers to beat the person, “in concert”. These days they usually don’t even use their batons. They either tase you or just shoot you. There are no real world consequences for police officers to even murder an innocent; that is so long as no one is lurking in the shadows with a cell phone who video recorded the murder in sufficient detail to not allow the police to make up some phony justification as to why the officer properly shot another. It is not coincidental that the largest Sheriff’s Department in the United States, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, does not have video recorders in their patrol cars, or video or audio recorders on their persons. They don’t record because the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is a truly brutal agency. It is really that simple. Again, however, if you had not seen or experienced the police outrage and you were just told about it by another, you just would not have believed it.
Moreover, thirty years ago if police officer pointed gun at a person’s head and ordered him to prone-out on the ground, the person was considered “under arrest”, not a mere “detention”. However, because judges in the real world are loathe to exclude incriminating from evidence from a criminal trials, they pervert the contours of those protections that at least used to be afforded to us by the United States Constitution. So, now pointing guns at persons heads and ordering them to prone themselves on the ground, and then kneeing them in their backs or necks or head, handcuffing them and placing them in the back of the police car, all as a precautionary measure for “Officer’s Safety”, is lawful; all because the Judge or Justices didn’t want to exclude the incriminating evidence found on the person when they are searched.
Here is an example. Say that a police officer gets call for a suspicious man wearing a red jacket at a park who is vandalizing park signs. When the police arrive at the scene they don’t have “probable cause” to arrest the man. They only have “reasonable suspicion” of criminality by man; sufficient to “detain” him to either confirm or dispel the officer’s suspicion that the man had vandalized park sign (know as an “investigative detention“).
When the police accost the man at the park point guns at his head, and order him to prone himself on the ground, and drop their knees down onto his back, handcuff him and place the man in the back seat of their patrol car; all as a precautionary measure for “Officer’s Safety”. As they place the man against the car before placing him inside, they entry out the mans pockets and find knife; a knife that happens to turn out to be the weapon that was used to rape and murder a little girl at the park. The police don’t even know that the man raped and murdered a little girl yet or even that there was a little girl murdered at all. The police arrest the man for carrying a concealed weapon and take him to jail.
After the police take the man to jail they learn that there was a little girl who was stabbed to death at the park that day. The police crime lab tests the knife and find a DNA match showing that the knife had the little girl’s blood on it.
The man is then charged with rape and murder by the District Attorney’s Office, and his criminal lawyer makes a motion to suppress (exclude) the knife from evidence at trial on the ground that the arresting officer didn’t have sufficient “probable cause” to have arrested the man at the park when they handcuffed him at gun point, proned him on the ground, kneed him in his back and placed him inside of the police car. Therefore, the full scale search of the man was unlawful because they only had ground to detain but not arrest him, and that knife should be excluded from evidence at trial because it is “the fruit of the poisonous tree“; evidence obtained in violation of the man’s fourth amendment right to be free from an arrest of one in the absence of “probable cause” to have arrested the man. If the knife is excluded from evidence the man will walk free. If the police restrained the man in a manner that exceeded that level of force allowed pursuant to an investigative detention, then he was technically “arrested” when the police pointed their guns at him, proned him on the ground, knee dropped him, handcuffed him and placed him inside of the patrol car.
What will the judge do? If the judge grants the motion to suppress the man walks free even though it is very clear that he was the rapist / murderer. Will the courts then find that the manner of restraint of the man exceeded that allowed pursuant to an investigative detention? Probably not. If they do then they must exclude the knife from evidence at trial and the man walks free, and the politicians (i.e Judges in this instance) are not inclined to do that. So, they usually will now declare that pointing guns at persons not suspected of violent crimes, proning them on the ground, handcuffing them, placing them in police cars and doing full scale searches of the persons and their property, is a reasonable manner of restraint for a detention.
The moral of our story is that case by case, issue by issue, year by year, the courts have allowed the police to use increasingly greater levels of force. Often because they don’t want to exclude evidence at criminal trials, and otherwise because Conservative Judges and Justices are bent on simply allowing the police to ignore longstanding search and seizure rights of the public in the name of officer safety.
POLICE BRUTALITY IS TOLERATED AND ENCOURAGED BY PUBLIC PROSECUTORS BY PROSECUTING INNOCENTS FOR RESISTANCE OFFENSES.
Ask any cop what percentage of Section 148(a)(1) cases (resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer), Section 69 cases (prevent to deter public officer from performing duty of office via use or threat of violence) Section 243(b) and (c) cases (battery on peace officer) are legitimate, and off the record, they will tell you almost none; maybe one or two percent.
Section 69 is a “wobbler”; a charge that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. So, when the police beat you badly, or even shoot you, they will often charge you with felony violation of Section 69, for several reasons: 1) it (falsely) makes your conduct look more threatening to the police, the judge and the prosecutor, so as to justify their use of severe violence upon you; 2) since Section 69 can be charged as a felony, the police can require that you post bail before going to court; something that helps drain you financially, and something that often results in the person who was beaten-up by the police, pleading guilty to a crime against the officer, just to get out of jail; a guilty plea that precludes them from suing the officers later-on; 3) if the Section 69 charge is filed by the District Attorney’s Office as a felony, they often are able to get complete innocents to plead guilty to the misdemeanor offense of violation of Section 148(a)(1), which also will more often than not, legally preclude the victim of police violence from being able to successfully sue the police for the beating that they gave their victims.
The police procure your bogus malicious criminal prosecution for those resistance crimes as well as the other favorites; violations of Cal. Penal Code §§ 242 / 243(b) (battery on a peace officer [i.e the suspect struck my fist with his chin], and Cal. Penal Code §§ 240 / 241(c) (i.e. the suspect took an aggressive stance and clinched his fists, so I punched in the face three times and knocked him out), to beat you down; psychologically, emotionally, and especially, financially. After all, if you hire a private lawyer to represent you in court, and the lawyer actually knows how to defend such bogus criminal actions (i.e. “resistance offenses”), you are going to have to shell-out thousands of dollars; to defend your honor, and to prevent the police from using a bogus conviction for a resistance offense to preclude you from being able to successfully sue them in court. So, because you had the audacity to ask the police officer what’s going on, and why he wants you to prone yourself out on the ground, you not only get “gooned” by the police, but you get criminally prosecute for “resisting / delaying / obstructing a peace officer, battery on a peace officer, or some other “resistance offense.”
Now, that you’re charged with a crime against a police officer, when you were the victim of his bad day disposition, you get it; 99.9% of allegations of battery ON a peace officer, are, in reality, battery BY a peace officer. This is not joke, and no exaggeration. The police routinely procure, or a attempt to procure, the filing of at least a misdemeanor Count of violation of Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1); resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer engaged in the lawful performance of his/her duties. Section 148(a)(1) is otherwise known in police circles as “Contempt Of Cop“; (i.e. maybe not getting on the ground fast enough, or failing to walk-over to the officer fast enough; some type of failing the attitude test), is in itself, vague, ambiguous and unintelligible. It is used every day to oppress those who voice their dissatisfaction with the police; more often than not, because of abusive and disrespectful conduct by the police.
THE COPS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.
These bogus arrests of victims for “resistance crimes” or “obstruction crimes”, has become a national phenomenon. In a nutshell, the police procurement of bogus criminal charges against the victims, in most cases in the real world, with real people who don’t have unlimited monies to muster a real criminal defense, works. It works if the cops can lie well enough in their reports, to shift the blame to you; the victim of a bully with a badge. It works if the cops can get the District Attorney’s Officer (or City Attorney’s Office or, the Attorney General’s Office), to file a criminal “obstruction offense” against you. It beats you down financially. It causes truly innocent people to plead guilty to crimes against police officers, when they were the victims; often because they can’t make bail, and they would have to spend many months locked-up in jail before their trials.
If you’re convicted of any crime against a peace officer that requires that the officer be lawfully engaged in the performance of his duties; you are often legally precluded from suing to vindicate the violation of your constitutional rights, such as the right to be free from the use of excessive force on your person. These “obstruction crimes” usually almost always include a base allegation of violation of Cal. Penal Code §148(a)(1) (resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer), since almost any conduct or contact between a civilian and a peace officer can be creatively twisted into some sort of legally peverse claim for violation of that statute. Other “obstruction crime” favorites are battery on a peace officer, Cal. Penal Code §§ 242 / 243(b) (i.e the suspect struck my fist with his chin), Cal. Penal Code §§ 240 / 241 (i.e. the suspect took an aggressive stance and clinched his fists, so I punched in the face three times and knocked him out), Cal. Penal Code §§ 242 / 243(b), and the felony favorite if the cops really don’t like you and want you to have to spend thousands of dollars on bail; Cal. Penal Code § 69 (threat or use of force or violence to deter / prevent public officer from performing duty of office].) The legal theory of your preclusion is two-fold; 1) the doctrine of collateral estoppel, and 2) the policy decision of the Supreme Court to stick-it to you and me; the Heck v. Humphrey preclusion doctrine.