The Sandra Bland Case

Legal Insurrection has a detailed description of the Sandra Bland arrest (not her subsequent death-by-presumed-suicide in jail later). I think he's mostly rigth on the legal analysis, and I'm not going to quibble with it, though I will also refer readers to Orin Kerr's more sympathetic analysis.

I do think it is important to say this, though: if the current state of the law allows a police officer to conduct a traffic stop, order someone to put out their cigarette, and use the refusal of that order to justify an arrest for noncompliance, and use the noncompliance with the arrest to justify the use of force, and so on... then the current state of the law is bullshit.

Police officers should not have the legal authority to issue orders on anything they please with the authority to enforce compliance by force. A simple traffic stop should not escalate into an arrest-by-force because the driver is not interested in putting out her cigarette. Drivers should not have to fear that every polite request from a police officer is backed by immediate threat of violence if they do not comply, whether or not the request was justified. And instinctively resisting being forcibly removed from your vehicle and handcuffed should not create new offenses (resisting arrest) that can then justify further imprisonment and the creation of a criminal record.

These things, and especially the sense of fear and apprehension that every driver feels when they see a police car and wonder whether they are going to get pulled over, are indicators of a police state.

This entry was published Wed Jul 29 10:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-07-29 10:03:45.0. [Tweet]

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