Police Abuse

Atlanta Police Tase, Kill Man Although They Had No Reason To Know He'd Committed Any Crime

If you don't want to talk to the police, they think that's sufficient reason to cause your death.

|

We write a lot here about the petty laws that give police reason to begin interactions with you or detain you, interactions that all too often end tragically.

In practice, though, police don't need even a petty law they believe you might have violated to begin an interaction that will end in your death.

All they need to know to want to chase you down at any cost is a sign that you don't want to talk to them, minus the slightest articulable suspicion of any actual specific crime being committed.

This terrible story out of Atlanta, from NBC 11Alive:

A spokesperson for the DeKalb County Police said that units were involved in a robbery suppression detail on Flat Shoals Road. When they stopped a vehicle, the driver claimed to have a weapon and was told to exit the vehicle.

The weapon was secured but when it was handed off to a backup officer, a passenger in the vehicle jumped out.

That's when a chase began, ending at an 8-foot wall. The young man had attempted to jump the wall and was Tased by police, then fell to the other side.

What happened next has some neighbors in the community upset.

According to a police spokesperson, when police went to the other side, they found the man unconscious but called medical personnel and handcuffed him per protocol.

Police said an ambulance arrived within about five to six minutes and transported the man to the hospital, where he later died.

But neighbors said that the man was clearly in crisis after the incident and that law enforcement took too long to render aid.

Other residents said they attempted to help the man and perform CPR but were prevented from doing so by police.

Video of the end of the incident at the 11Alive link. The police have not yet identified the dead man.

Hat tip: CharlesWT

NEXT: Rethinking jury nullification

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. And there it is…the Friday nutpunch to offset the earlier video.

  2. The big question is what race was he? I don’t know how to react to this story until I know the race of everyone involved!

    1. This is an excellent point that I missed.

      I just assumed the dead dude is black. But I’m racist like that, so…

    2. This started near the Family Dollar near the intersection of Flat Shoals and Fayetteville roads… It’s near Rehobeth Family Christian Church and north of Panthersville, where you don’t want to be after dark if you’re not black…

      1. Why would you assume a white person would be in danger in that area? Don’t you know that Blacks have far more to fear from whites than vice versa? MSNBC said it, so you know it must be true!

        1. I’d like to see the MSNBC hosts spend some time in south DeKalb. 😀

  3. If you have nothing to hide….

    It’s like the dude was suicidal. He jumped over that wall of his own volition.

    At least the cops got home safely to their families….

    *looks around for UnCiv*

    1. “UnCiv is NOT amused!”

      1. That’s NOT Okay.

  4. Other residents said they attempted to help the man and perform CPR but were prevented from doing so by police.

    Those other residents are fortunate they didn’t end up needing CPR themselves.

  5. Is I were Alt Text, I’d want to say

    “Don’t taze me, bro!”

  6. OW MY BALLS

    But seriously, my parents taught me at a very young age not to run from a vicious animal, because that is an invitation for it to chase and hurt you. Guess not everybody’s parents did the same.

    1. Cops do have an unusually high prey drive.

    2. Depends on the animal. If it’s a policeman, I think you are supposed to move real slow and not make any movements that may trigger a killer instinct. If it’s a sheriff’s deputy, you are supposed to make lots of noise and make yourself look bigger to scare it away. If it’s a fedpig, you should go fetal and play dead.

  7. It will be interesting what police come back with, internal policy-wise. Until they have a blunder like this, many police agencies have a policy of using tasers as compliance tools, not for officer safety (that’s what bullets are for).

  8. Did anything else happen?

  9. HEY REASON, FUCK YOUR GODDAMN AUTO-PLAY, BITCHES. IT KEEPS PULLING MY BROWSER BACK TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE.

    TURN. IT. THE. FUCK. OFF.

    1. So you’re still deciding whether or not you like the autoplay.

      OK – take your time to decide….

      1. If you like your autoplay, you can keep your autoplay.

    2. If you’re not using Ghostery and Ad-block, you’re doing it wrong.

      1. *is forced to examine entire world view*

        1. If you like your world view, you can keep your world view.

      2. If you’re not using Ghostery and Ad-block

        At work. Not an option.

        All good at home though.

  10. In practice, though, police don’t need even a petty law they believe you might have violated to begin an interaction that will end in your death.

    In theory, as well, thanks to the Supreme Court. Ignorace of the law is a defense for those tasked with enforcing it.

    1. Not the case here. Its the SC upholding wht should be illegal fishing expeditions as legitimate police work that started the entire interaction. A strict adherence to the Fourth Amendment would make these stops a thing of the past.

      1. The Fourth Amendment? What are you, one of those crazy Constitutionalists? What have you got to hide?

    2. It is for the Courts as well. If the trial court fucks it up, there is the appeals court. And if the Appeals court fucks it up, there is a Supreme court. Nope only you fucking peons are expected to know all the law and apply it perfectly. Now if you don’t start bending a knee…. furtive movement, exigent circumstances mother fucker.

  11. I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here today:

    So the police stopped the vehicle and we should be able to assume had either identified everyone in the vehicle or told them that they were being detained.* One of the people being detained bolted from the scene. Were police supposed to do nothing? Using less-than-lethal force seems to be the smartest course of action, aside from standing there and letting the person flee.

    *The big issue I have is the “robbery suppression” detail, which sounds a lot like a fishing expedition, which would make the stop illegal. So as I see it, the stop was illegal, but were it a legal and justifiable stop, the cop’s actions seem to be a reasonable use of force when compared to more lethal ones at their disposal.

    1. Here in Maine the police need reasonable suspicion to believe that a person has committed a crime or has warrants for their arrest before they can legally demand identification.

      Lately police agencies have teamed up to do this thing they call “Operation Hot Spots,” where they go to places where they suspect there to be drug activity, and then randomly accost people. They demand ID and search them without reasonable suspicion, and only after the person has proved their innocence are they free to go. It’s completely illegal, and of course the governor and media can’t shower them with enough praise.

      I’m hoping someone challenges it, but I haven’t heard anything so far. Probably because the cops are smart enough to choose victims who don’t have the coin to hire an attorney.

      1. See, that’s the bigger problem here. People need to be educated on the illegality of the beginning of police interactions. Because until that happens, the overwhelming majority of people will assume the cops started the interaction with justification and the actions to subdue a fleeing suspect in a case like this would be justifiable.* Until the policies that are in place that allow for this kind of stop are eliminated, the fight against the outcomes will never succeed.

        *In this case, were they involved in an active robbery investigation and had stopped this vehicle with reasonable suspicion that the occupants had committed a crime, the ensuing use of a taser would be reasonable.

        1. Until the policies that are in place that allow for this kind of stop are eliminated, the fight against the outcomes will never succeed.

          I don’t see how that would matter since it’s not like the cops face any consequences for ignoring policies or the law. They do whatever they want* and nothing else happens. THAT is the problem.

          *My stepson who foolishly idolized his cop-father once bragged to me “My dad’s a cop. He can do whatever he wants.” My response was “Well he still has to follow the law, doesn’t he?” to which the kid meekly replied “Yeah.” I said “I hope so” knowing that it’s a vain hope.

          1. With more and more recording of police happening, they’re facing more consequences than ever before. This will continue to occur and changing policies will hasten it.

      2. Chicago PD had those. My copy buddy was assigned to that straight out the academy. They stopped it several years ago from what he tells me and now his standard patrol is the worst neighborhood in the city. Which sounds an awful lot like “Let’s test which recruits cause us the least amount of grief and put the put best ones in the worst neighborhoods.” Which means the so-so cops get assigned to the so-so neighborhoods (which are still bad neighborhoods) which means you get the Black Ops secret torture rooms. The connected cops get assigned the good neighborhoods so they have the least amount of chance to screw up and expose the patronage.

        He always had good stories while in the academy about the fuck-up recruits. And plenty of fuck-ups make it through. I don’t get many stories from him anymore, whenever the subject of jobs comes up he gets noticeably glum. I have a feeling if he had answered just one more question right on the examination they would have rejected him.

      3. This is a lot like the Baltimore case where the guy died – the legality of the stop depends on whether or not the cops had some sort of “reasonable suspicion”, (not “probable cause”, that’s a higher standard like a pissant’s knee is higher than a snake’s belly) and there are many various factors playing into that. One of the factors is it being a “high-crime” area and I don’t know of any urban area whatsoever that wouldn’t qualify. Other factors of course include furtive movements, refusal to make eye contact, making eye contact, talking loudly, talking softly, refusing to talk, refusing to shut up, IOW, the stop is legal if the cop can even conceivably make up some sort of bullshit excuse, and a cop who can’t make up a dozen bullshit excuses right off the top of his head ain’t no kinda cop.

  12. so, what’s the difference between being stopped by the “robbery suppression detail” and being stopped for Driving While Black?

  13. I can see why they would chase someone who was being legally detained but why tase him when he’s 8 feet off the ground? That’s crazy.

    1. why tase him when he’s 8 feet off the ground?

      To watch him fall 8 feet while his nervous system is locked up by the taser.

      Duh.

      1. Yeah, for the lulz.

  14. Here’s my problem:

    The police initiated force (albeit “less-than-lethal”) against somebody who they had absolutely zero probable cause to suspect of any crime.

    That makes this an illegal assault, that ended in death. The only questions should be (a) which cops do we charge and (b) what do we charge them with?

    1. Until its an illegal stop it will never be an illegal assault in the eyes of the public.

      Take suspicionless stops out of the cop arsenal and these interactions don’t happen in the first place.

      1. Take suspicionless stops out of the cop arsenal

        Technically, they already are. Traffic stops are “detentions”, and cops can’t “detain” you for no reason.

        But, naturally, the fact that SCOTUS has said so makes absolutely zero difference.

        1. Didn’t SCOTUS also say that it’s OK for cops to make mistakes about the law they say they are enforcing?

          1. Heien v. North Carolina.

          2. well yeah, just like every other job. as long as i say i was trying my best my boss doesnt care what actually happens. is your job not like that?

        2. The cops can’t detain you for no reason and they don’t detain you for no reason. There’s always a reason. You were driving suspiciously fast, you were driving suspiciously slow, or – most suspiciously of all – you were careful to drive at the exact right speed to not be considered either suspiciously fast or suspiciously slow. You weren’t driving? Well, you can walk suspiciously fast or suspiciously slow or suspiciously not too fast or not too slow. Or talk, or blink, or breathe. There’s always a reason. Always.

    2. “Less-than-lethal” is a marketing term that is now in disuse by most of the manufacturers of equipment that once were so called. “Less lethal” is the new term of art since so many people have been killed by “less-than-lethal” weapons that the lawyers have discouraged use of the old term.

  15. Pay your taxes so we can get paid, shut up, and do as your told by your superior human beings, Slave.

    /copthink

  16. The more we fear the cops, the more we run from them,
    the more excuses they have to shoot us, the more we fear them,
    the more we want to run from them, the more they shoot us…
    CAN ANYONE SEE WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?!?
    IS ANYONE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!??!?!
    Fucking GOP and Dems are all cop-suckers, all are also adding more laws
    to be enforced by piggly-wigglies, I am not very optimistic here…

    1. I always like to bring up the “Law of diminishing returns” whenever someone I’m talking to says something stupid like “There oughta be a law.” I tell them, “We already have billions of laws. We’re at the point where additional laws make things worse.” They usually shut up after that.

    2. IS ANYONE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!??!?!

      In this pussified nation? Are you kidding me? Most people shove each other out of the way for the privilege of sucking some pig’s cock.

  17. from NBC 11Alive:

    Sounds like the police’s goal, right there.

  18. Police said an ambulance arrived within about five to six minutes and transported the man to the hospital, where he later died.

    He was taken to Grady Hospital, a Level I trauma center.

    And supposedly to best hospital in the South for treating GSWs.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.