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Sandra Bland's Arrest and the Expectation of Meek Subservience

Trooper Brian Encinia's actions may have been legal, but that does not make them right.

Texas DPSTexas DPSSome of the reaction to my post about Sandra Bland's arrest leads me to believe I was not sufficiently explicit in criticizing Texas Trooper Brian Encinia's actions. It seems to me he had no legitimate reason to order Bland out of her car after stopping her for a minor traffic violation (changing lanes without signaling), let alone to arrest her for failing to obey that unjustified command. Judging from the dashcam video of the traffic stop, his actions were motivated by anger at Bland's insufficiently submissive attitude—in particular, her insistence that she had a right to smoke a cigarette in her own car, even if he preferred that she put it out. The escalation that ensued—which was driven, as I said, by Encinia's need "to assert his authority for its own sake"—was completely unnecessary and unprofessional.

But that does not necessarily mean it was illegal. The Supreme Court has said police do not need any special reason to order drivers out of their cars during routine traffic stops. The rationale for that rule, which reflects the Court's overly solicitious attitude toward police, is officer safety, but it does not require a case-specific inquiry as to whether a particular officer during a particular stop actually faced a potential threat that justified his order. So even if Encinia had no reasonable safety concerns regarding Bland, it looks like his order was constitutional, according to the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Fourth Amendment.

As for whether a Texas cop can legally order any driver he stops out of his car, then arrest him for failing to obey a lawful command, I'm not sure. In a 2007 discussion thread, members of the Texas District & County Attorneys Association disagreed on the right answer to that question. But the provision requiring obedience to lawful police orders is part of the transportation code, and in Texas you can be arrested even for minor traffic offenses (with the notable exception of speeding), a practice the Supreme Court has approved. If it's legal to arrest someone for failing to buckle her seat belt, why wouldn't it be legal to arrest someone for failing to comply with a cop's stupid (but apparently lawful) order? Notably, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Encinia "violated the department's procedures regarding traffic stops and the department's courtesy policy," but so far has not said he violated the law.

None of this means Encinia acted appropriately. There is a troubling gap between what's lawful and what's appropriate when it comes to police actions that would be instantly recognized as assault and kidnapping without the law's blessing. Thanks to the Supreme Court, anyone who drives a car is alarmingly vulnerable to police harassment, given the myriad offenses (both real and invented) that can lead to a traffic stop. Assuming the stop itself is legitimate, police have license to examine the vehicle with a drug-sniffing dog and, by claiming the animal alerted, search the car. They can arrest and strip-search people for trivial offenses. They can take people's money by claiming it is tied to crime, without presenting any evidence to that effect. It seems they can even order a driver out of her car for no good reason and arrest her for failing to obey.

Given the practical power that police have to mess with us and the wide discretion they have in exercising it, an attitude of meek subservience may seem advisable. That expectation is not fair, reasonable, or compatible with the principles of a free society. But it is demonstrably safer than the approach that Bland took, which was based on the assumption that she was a citizen whose constitutional rights should not be blithely violated by an authoritarian bully with a badge and a gun. I do not by any means fault Bland for questioning Encinia's authority to order her around for reasons unrelated to her traffic offense, any more than I fault Jessica Cooke for questioning the Border Patrol's authority to detain her at an internal immigration checkpoint in upstate New York. To the contrary, both young women showed exceptional bravery in standing on their rights. But as the outcomes in those cases (an arrest and a Tasing, respectively) show, such resistance to arbitrary power is brave because it is dangerous.

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  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    This isn't technically relevant, but these Supreme Court cases generally arise in the context of the exclusionary rule - the cops found something incriminating with a search, and the defendant wants to suppress the evidence by claiming it was seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

    Now, strictly speaking this shouldn't make any difference in the outcome of a case - if the cops violated the Fourth Amendment they violated the Fourth Amendment. But I suspect, very strongly, that judges look at all these cases where the cops got the goods on some suspect, and they (judges) are tempted to find a rationale by which prosecutors can use the evidence.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Yeah, in the step-out-of-the-car case, back in 1977, when the suspectdefendant got out the cops found a loaded revolver on him. The defendant wanted to suppress this evidence, which would have turned him back on the street. So you're a Justice examining this case in the crime-riddled 70s, and you see cops handling a guy who might have tried to shoot them, and who then wants to get sprung from prison when he's obviously guilty.

    All legally irrelevant, of course, but when did the Supreme Court care about legal technicalities?

  • WTF||

    We don't need to apply any of the rules that should restrain cops because of the new police professionalism.
    -/Scalia

  • BambiB||

    The Supreme Court has handed down a whole basketful of insane decisions, the most egregious of which is probably Wickard v. Filburn - for it's proposition that everything is "interstate commerce".

    I sometimes wonder at what point there will be a sniper overwatch on one of these victims of police brutality where the cop crosses the line and meets his maker. In this case, the cop should be doing jail time.

  • William C.||

    Cop? Jail time? Those don't seem to go together in this reality, my friend.

  • Robert||

    The way jurisprudence has come out on search & seizure is exactly the opposite of the way sane people would want it: It helps only the guilty, while providing nothing for the innocent.

    Even for the guilty, it provides only limited relief: They can't use the illegal search as criminal evidence, but they still don't have to give back what they took.

  • jrombouts||

    Our Supreme Court has long held that the fourth amendment has outlived its usefulness. Police can come in your home at anytime without any reason or justification according to the high court. They are also allowed to kill anyone they want on a traffic stop for disobeying a lawful command, the Supreme Court has already upheld this practice in a earlier case that allowed police to break into a persons home without knocking and announcing their presence first. Judges are no longer even needed in this nation because they all see themselves as a rubber stamp for the executive branch of government. Judges are cowardly fools with no respect for anyone but the powerful.

  • Arthur45||

    Totally overstated. There is no other way to create warrants and judges are hardly cringing
    before the executive branch.

  • jrombouts||

    I wish you were right. However, I am convinced that judges are nothing but worthless rubber stamps for police, prosecutors, and personal injury lawyers. If you are sued or prosecuted for anything, it is game over. You have no chance in hell at a fair outcome. You may as well check yourself into max security prison on even a misdemeanor charge. And if someone falls in your driveway in a puddle of water, you may as well hand over your home and bank account. That's American jurisprudence for you. It is for the personal injury lawyer and prosecutor and by them. It has become a complete joke!

  • lovelydestruction||

    Robocop, we need you.

  • jester||

    Yes. But what about excessive force? He threatened her with physical violence. This to me is the problem. In this case, Sandra never went for a gun or any weapon or in any way intimated or acted as though she was a threat to the officer. I think he is guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.
    It would be a different case when a cop says 'stop or I'll shoot' and the perp is running away and has just committed or appears to have committed a capital crime. But this is NOT the case here. The cop should lose his job and do time. He is a violent offender.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You can't take away that powerful compliance tool. If only Kelly Thomas had heeded the clenched fist warning he received that fateful night, he wouldn't have gotten the life beat out of him quite as badly.

  • mfckr||

    It would be a different case when a cop says 'stop or I'll shoot' and the perp is running away and has just committed or appears to have committed a capital crime.

    Even then, LEOs should be generally dissuaded from using deadly force—their life isn't in imminent danger if the perp is fleeing, not to mention they could've IDed the wrong person, or there could be bystanders nearby, etc.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    If not ADW, at least Assault Under Color of Authority.

  • jrombouts||

    I agree, the cop is a violent thug in this case.

  • ||

    honestly...does anyone really believe she committed suicide? that is the biggest lie I have ever heard.

    the police dept is guilty of murder and then lying about the murder. That is a real crime , but I am not a lawyer so maybe I am wrong.

  • Citytrekker||

    Well, given her history I wouldn't say that with certainty. Do you know who else committed suicide when they realized the cards were stacked against them?

  • ||

    Jesus?

  • BearOdinson||

    The Jews at Masada?

  • DenverJ||

    Wild Bill Hitchcock?

  • Chocolate Starfish||

    Well, definitely not Hitler. He moved to Argentina and died of old age.

  • Suicidy||

    No. Hitler was killed at the end of the Occult Wars in '58.

  • Harold Falcon||

    Socrates?

  • Paloma||

    Jim Jones?

  • target||

    on the face of it the suicide determination seems highly suspect, but I have heard rumors about a hallway video showing no one entering or leaving her cell around the estimated time of death. They can barely turn off the cellphone cameras they confiscate, If there is no missing time on the camera footage(I don't know that there wasn't), can we believe that they covered it up that well, or did the coroner do the team a solid, and falsify the estimated TOD? The only other explanation I could think of is if they tied her up and put her on a stool for 3 days till she couldn't stand anymore and eventually gravity won the day. So when she died no one had been anywhere near the cell for hours.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    If there is such footage, then the decision NOT to sread it all over the internet days ago makes no sense whatsoever. Which is why I doubt that suck footage exists.

  • DenverJ||

    Oh, suck footage exists. Of many varieties. Or so I am told.

  • ||

    just having some rumor of some video in the hall around the time we think she died isn't very convincing.

    How do we really know when she died?

    Basically all we know about the case is in the pullover video. Everything else is just questionable bullshit the suspected murders have told us.

    the motive could have been they accidentally hurt or killed her and then had to try to think up some bs to explain it. Also the cop seemed to enjoy beating her....this is evidenced by him saying "good" after she whined about "epilepsy".

    face it guys you can't trust suspected murderers words on faith.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    My understand is they have video of the cells. I think it is a bit tin-foil-hat to think they killed her over a traffic violation.

  • DenverJ||

    She was a "black lives matter" activist on her way to a job at her alma mater.
    The tin foil idea is that she was killed for her outspoken anti-police views.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    That still seems pretty tin foil to me. I'm not blaming the cops for murder and encouraging the knee-jerk, itching-for-a-riot "Black Lives Matter" crowd without evidence. I would hold anyone else to the same standard.

    The tendency to jump to conclusions when the police and a black American are involved in an incident is frankly ridiculous. I expect better from the usually rational commenters here at Reason.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "For what? Failure to grovel?!?!"

    Now you're catching on.

    "since "failure to grovel" is not a crime"

    Nope, you lost it again.

    You will bend over to the authorities on demand. You will take it and like it. Or else. It's grotesque, but that's the way it is.

    Just remind yourself that people in North Korea manage to get up every morning. We don't have it as bad.

    You just have to get over the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" jazz. That's been over for a long time. You have rulers, and that's the way it is. We actually have it pretty good, historically speaking.

  • Jane C||

    "You have rulers, and that's the way it is. We actually have it pretty good, historically speaking."

    Damn, Pam, he only beats me on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I had my nose broken once, but mostly I can stand the pain and bruising. He does his best not to hit me where it will show. On the other hand, look at Betty! He's been beating her daily since they married. And then, he broke nearly every bone in her face, when he beat her with his bat. "We actually have it pretty good, historically speaking."

    "You have rulers, and that's the way it is."

    Just be quiet, follow orders, get that stamped number on your arm, and we'll give you a shower. See that building with the smoke coming out the top? Its the group shower....

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Which reminds me of a question asked by a woman who was a target of the WI John Doe investigation who was not at home when the SWAT team showed up to encounter her teen-age son:
    He could have been shot, for exercising Free Speech!

    This woman ultimately lost her life (seemingly at her own hand) because she couldn't deal with being in jail over a Failure to Grovel to someone suffering from Little Man Syndrome.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    This woman was apparently murdered for failure to grovel. Until the police produce DAMN convincing evidence to the contrary, that is the position I have to take. The cop who arrested her and any cops who helped kill her should be publicly crucified. But no nails; I want the sonsofbitches to LINGER.

    And what disgusts me most of all is the way the professional race pimps like Sharpton USE incidents like this to persuade the. Inority voters to support the party that has ALWAYS been behind racism, jim crow, slavery, and keeping the dark-skinned down.

    Sharpton, if you are buried looking lime you just bit into a Lemon, I'll kniw it's because the God you claimed to serve decided he wanted a word with you.

  • Arthur45||

    She left comments on a phone answering machine that indicated she was suicidal.
    So all of you junior detectives can stop theorizing. There was also a camera on her cell all the time and no one came or went to her cell.

  • jester||

    Another way of looking at it was that she was peacefully resisting. Authoritarian types can't deal with that and that is why it is an effective agent for change. I think of cops pepper-spraying students at Cal, for example.
    It has been commented ad infinitum in the comments of HnR, so why not one more time: a cop is part of the community he patrols and he doesn't feel that's true, he has lost his authority. He is to protect and serve, NOT threaten and extort.

  • Charles Easterly||

    "... peacefully resisting. Authoritarian types can't deal with that...."

    Perhaps, jester, your theory explains why police officers in Virginia attacked a man who they thought was defying their authority when in actuality he was having a stroke

  • B. Woodrow Chippenhaus||

    Look, one of the king's men resigned! WHAT MORE DO YOU ANTI-COP PEOPLE WANT??!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If it's legal to arrest someone for failing to buckle her seat belt, why wouldn't it be legal to arrest someone for failing to comply with a cop's stupid (but apparently lawful) order?

    Yeah, let's try to apply logic to legal interpretations and internal police policies.

    The courts aren't going to apply the constitution or statist-independent thought to rein in police misconduct. They're generally not the brightest jurists on the planets, just the ones that could get past confirmation hearings.

    What might make a change are videos like this. Sustained pressure on police departments from outraged people AROUND THE GLOBE I believe will eventually start a cascade of accountability. No longer do we have to rely on lazy local journalism that simply parrots police blotter reports. Recorded evidence of misconduct is much more difficult to dismiss.

  • mfckr||

    What might make a change are videos like this. Sustained pressure on police departments from outraged people AROUND THE GLOBE I believe will eventually start a cascade of accountability.

    Honestly, if it hasn't changed anything already (which it hasn't) then I doubt it ever will. Plus people are getting desensitized to this shit anyway and starting to treat it as par for the course in dealing with cops.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Possibly, but I'm so sure. You think this case happening a few years ago would amount to anything? Police say she hanged herself. That would have been the end of it. Now we're scrutinizing video evidence of the arrest, which isn't even when the death happened. People are actually analyzing whether she should have been arrested in the first place. Not libertarians, actual people are debating it. Journalists are taking their cue not from police but from social media outcries. It seems like we're heading in a different direction.

  • mfckr||

    Positive developments, for sure. Just skeptical whether any of it will amount to substantive reform, when you have a system with so many institutional checks & balances working against reform. Whether its the police depts protecting their own, or duplicitous city prosecutors fending off indictments in the off-chance a shitty cop does end up in a courtroom, etc. I doubt public outrage has the endurance to hold on for as long and hard as it'd take.

  • mfckr||

    Oh, and let's not forget that the only key factor that seems to whip the public into a furor against police brutality, is when it involves a racial component (i.e., a brown person being brutalized). Which isn't going to be a meaningful foundation for real police reform.

  • jester||

    Right. Hire more minorities. Meanwhile, hiring more women has made police forces everywhere more maternal.

  • mfckr||

    I was amused when I read David Simon comment that the black cops in Baltimore were typically far more abusive to their fellows than white cops.

  • sarcasmic||

    Meanwhile, hiring more women has made police forces everywhere more maternal.

    Really? Ever dealt with a female cop? They are anything but maternal. They're the worst authoritarians you will ever meet. They're always angry with something to prove. They make Napoleon look like Gandhi.

  • mfckr||

    I think jester was being sarcastic, sarcasmic.

  • sarcasmic||

    I hope so. My sarcometer is on the fritz. Too much homebrew last night.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Too much homebrew last night.

    I didn't know this was possible.

  • Hicks||

    At least we know the cops weren't involved in the suicide decause there's a video of the area, and the police have shown they would never stoop to editing the video.

    BTW: Is it odd that once the PIG saw the victim driving in opposite direction, he made a U-turn and chased her done at two or three times the 20 mph speed limit?

  • thrakkorzog||

    Once people are busting out their smartphones at police interactions, "Film it in case they kill someone." Then it's a sadly positive interaction.

    At least some legislators are trying to start reforming police force action reviews.

  • DenverJ||

    Not libertarians, actual people...


    Um, well, uh... Maybe that Swiss Servitor guy is around to narrow his gaze?

  • Arthur45||

    She did hang herself - video of her cell and her call to an answering machine leaves no doubt. The idea that the cops would murder this woman - get real.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Do you believe this is because people are fed up with abuses of police power, or is it because they have a pet narrative they insist must be right in such situations?

    I am not asking rhetorically, and I don't know the answer. This new (if it is so) unwillingness to accept the official police line is not happening in a vacuum. American politics are becoming more mindlessly, viciously partisan. Race relations have gotten infinitely worse under Obama's presidency. "Social justice warriors" are gaining ground in various social arenas, including (most frighteningly) college campuses. The "outrage Olympics" grow more and more commonplace. More people seem to be convinced their feelings are sacred and that they have a right not to be offended or even disagreed with on sociopolitical matters.

    The "police don't care about black people" meme feeds into the "black Americans are perpetual, helpless victims" narrative, which I reject completely. So I'm suspicious of jumps to the conclusion that the police are always guilty and lying in these incidents. There are real incentives, personal and political, to stoking the flames of public indignation.

  • Ewald Von Kleist||

    bingo

  • PM||

  • Slammer||

    It's amazing how smoking is perceived in this country now, to the point of actually smoking one in the presence of this cop looks like it contributed to setting him off.
    I listen to a ton of old time radio, like Dragnet and stuff, and the cops and criminals were constantly smoking everywhere. I mean, the first thing they gave guys in the interrogation room was unlimited free smokes.
    Now it's like smoking is seen as a criminal act just by itself. These young cops were raised to see it as evil. It's so weird to me.

  • PM||

    Your body is a temple unto the Lord state, you shan't defile it by smoking.

  • Arthur45||

    People are drinking moire than ever and in the old days nobody did drugs

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    The amazing thing is we've only replaced cigarettes with prescription chill pills. Which often have side effects worse than the side effects of smoking; in some cases the pills actually make people less relaxed rather than relax them.

    I refuse to vote for a candidate that doesn't disclose their current prescription drug regimen.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Check out the TV series Aquarius - even more smoking than on Mad Men.

  • TJ_Friedman||

    Slammer:

    I can only talk about my experience and training as a MP. We were told to tell all drivers to put out any cigarette, cigar, etc. , as these could be used as a weapon against us.

    This was just one of the rules that we were supposed to follow. Others included such things as making sure that their hands were visible at all times, making sure that they turned off the vehicle, and instructing them not to exit their vehicle until we gave them our OK.

    The one rule that we were taught that was definitely not followed in this situation was to keep calm and not raise our voice or change our tone.

    Now this was more than 40 years ago, so some of these instructions could have changed.

  • jester||

    I have a right to a smoke free workplace!
    ...meanwhile, the government profits more from the sale of a pack of cigs than the tobacco companies.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Same with the sale of gasoline:
    More goes to the government in taxes per gallon than to Big Oil in profits per gallon.

  • Suicidy||

    But......but........government is good and honorable. Big corporations make ......PROFITS! Nothing is more evil than profit.

  • Arthur45||

    The cost to produce and sell a carton of cigarettes is less than $4
    The carton can retail for $55.

  • Reverend Draco||

    Actually. . . you don't have that right.

    What you do have a right to, is quit your job and apply elsewhere.

  • sarcasmic||

    In practice there is no difference between a lawful order and an unlawful order. If a cop orders someone to do something, be it to get out of their car or to drop their pants and do jumping jacks, if the person doesn't comply then violence will be done upon them. And nothing else will happen. That's not rule of law. That's rule of man. And the cops, judges, prosecutors, and politicians who rule over us will never do a damn thing about it because they like it this way.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "will never do a damn thing about it because they like it this way"

    True but if we twit black lives matter and say their names over and over we can feel sanctimonious about it and isn't that so much more important than solving the problem? At least until it happens to you.

  • ||

    Kinda like saying hail mary's and our father's at confession; now you can go out and womanize and drink 'cause you got dispensation! Cool!

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Yes, and according to Tony is perfectly acceptable.

  • ||

    You know I have to stop reading articles like this. Is there a 12 step Nut Punch Anonymous program?

    It has been assholes and elbows at work lately as I try to wrap shit up on my way out the door and I finally get a chance to check in and this is the shit I have to read?

    FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cliché Bandit||

    yesterday was a muthfuker for nut punches.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Too many laws, too many cops, wod, police sop of overreact and escalate, police unions, prosecutors in bed with cops, citizens viewed as the enemy, cops viewing themselves as special forces, required personality trait of cop being an authoritarian, cop worship, the list goes on and on

  • AlmightyJB||

    Nothing thats being addressed basically

  • mfckr||

    Hence why I don't think there'll be any serious reform. That, and the current popular outrage is ginned up over perceived racial brutality, not systemic police brutality in of itself. If Sandra Bland were a white woman, this incident would be roundly laughed about instead.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Exactly whatever "solutions" they come up with will not address any of the actual problems, they will just address the all cops are racists meme. Not saying racism isn't involved in any of these cases just that you're not going to solve anything without addressing those core issues.

  • ||

    Some further questions about Bland:
    Why was she held for three days over this?
    Surely, failing to signal and failing to get out of the car when ordered isn't worth more than a couple of hours in jail. But the reports say she was there for THREE DAYS before commiting suicide. What the fuck was taking so long to hget her released?

  • AlmightyJB||

    They accused her of assaulting the pig.

  • ||

    Also: The cops are saying she had marijuana in her system at the time of her death. Um, three days after being arrested. I mean, what the fuck? Yeah, maybe she smoked some weed in the past month but that means nothing. There's no correlation between smoking marijuana and committing suicide.

  • Hicks||

    Pot, and other drugs have become an easy way to smear the victim, and lay all the blame on their drug problem instead of the cop

    BTW: I for one could care less about the color of the victim, and feel just as outraged about the Ga cops shooting a white girl in the face as the arrest and death of this black girl.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "There's no correlation between smoking marijuana and committing suicide."

    Don't give me that. I saw Reefer Madness, and SPOILER ALERT that woman threw herself out of a courthouse window and fell to her death because of marijuana.

  • Arthur45||

    Apparently you aren't up to date - Sandra left a message on a telephone answeringsystem that indicated suicide and there was a vido cam trained on her cell all the time and no one came or went.

  • mfckr||

    She died within the 1st day in jail but it took them 3 days to confer over a cover story.

  • jester||

    and that's how conspiracy theories are born. For the record, this is one conspiracy to commit murder that I believe.

  • Robert||

    You sure it didn't take 3 days just to find her body?

  • buybuydandavis||

    And edit the video.

  • Curtisls701||

    While it may be lawful for an officer to require a citizen to exit their vehicle per previous SCOTUS precedent, there is another precedent that seems to come into play, here. The officer had already run a check on Bland, and was already in the process of delivering the ticket. At this point, the "stop" is over. Requiring her to get out of the car at this point is delaying the stop - or unlawful detainment. Not sure they would ever go after him for that - but I would.

  • PlaystoomuchHALO||

    I'm pretty sure that "I'll light you up" means the cop should be automatically fired and black listed from ever holding a badge again.

  • DenverJ||

    No, no, you got it all wrong. He wanted to show he was a gentleman, so he wanted to light her cigarette, that's all he meant. And for him to do that, she had to put it out first.

  • ||

    is it legal for cops to tailgate for no reason?

  • buybuydandavis||

    Laws apply to peasants, not their rulers.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Put your brakes on quickly and find out.

  • ||

    or can they drive however they want in efforts to cause people to make a mistake?

  • ||

    he accelerated, while speeding, towards the back end of her stopped car while she was lawfully idle at a traffic light. Out of concern for my safety I would have quickly moved my car to the side in the same manner that she did...my safety of getting out of the way is going to take precedence when I do my order of operations on changing lanes.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "to assert his authority for its own sake"

    You WILL Respect My AUTHORITAH!

    That's always why people die.

    The problem we're having is that some people haven't gotten the memo that *legally* they are peasants who must bend over to the will of their rulers on demand, and they'd better be quick about it, enthusiastic, and grateful.

  • Devil's Candy||

    TL;DR = Interacting with police is a Simon Says game where not playing gets you arrested and losing gets you shot.

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  • FloridaProf||

    Actually, the standard in law enforcement IS whether the action by the officer is legal. If you don't like it, change the law, rather than bitching about it and demonizing LEOs in the process.

  • ||

    let me guess...FloridaProf is a professor who teaches about the millions of silly rules politicians write down for us to follow?

    thus he takes the brainwashing and BS about it being their "right" to stomp her butthole seriously?

  • Curt2004||

    "demonizing LEOs"

    That's a good one! Like they need any help with that...

  • ULOST||

    FloridaProfanity
    "If you don't like it, change the law, rather than bitching about it and demonizing LEOs in the process."

    No, dumbass. It's the pigs that have violated the law and thereby violated her rights. Try educating yourself ala Eddie Craig on National Liberty Alliance.com and not fellating LEOs in the process.

    "But the provision requiring obedience to lawful police orders is part of the transportation code,..." You read that folks? It's the transportation code which does not apply to her in this case as she does not appear to have been engaged in transportation. She has a right to freedom of travel.

  • ||

    the lady was mistreated...professor man....do you disagree?

    are you now saying that we should not bitch about mistreatment...because it could hurt the feelings of cops? that is a great argument to end the 1st amendment. thank you for your serious scholarship . I bow to your authority on this topic in all future posts.

  • ||

    so mr professor man....is "play simon says with me" a lawful order for a police man to give?

  • Win Bear||

    Yeah, police conduct in this case is outrageous.

    But it's easy to vent frustration and self-righteous indignation at this. The questions are... What changes to the law should be made? Who should make them? These are locally controlled police forces. Do you want them regulated by the state or federal governments? Or what?

    Personally, I'd like local police to be treated more like private security forces; that is, they should be subject to regulations, scrutiny, lawsuits and liability like any business.

  • mfckr||

    The only way that'll happen is if police forces are privatized. Until then we're stuck at the mercy of unaccountable statist union goons with badges.

  • Jane C||

    "...in Texas you can be arrested even for minor traffic offenses..." Smoking in your vehicle, and in public, is legal and lawful in Texas and not a major, let alone minor, traffic offense. A lane change does not warrant being ordered from a vehicle. Smoking or not, and refusing not to stop smoking, plays no bearing in the decision to order a person from their vehicle as it is "legal", and he was not compliant with his own county and state law making his demand "legal."

    "...but that does not make them right." Use the word moral instead. Rights are what individual human beings have, which some Supreme Court "justices" have evidently decided don't exist unless they "say" so. However, rights are not given or taken away, they CANNOT be given or taken away; you have them because rights are inherently yours as a human being.

  • Reverend Draco||

    "Assuming the stop itself is legitimate, police have license to examine the vehicle with a drug-sniffing dog and, by claiming the animal alerted, search the car."

    This is even more ridiculous than anything a 5 year old could come up with. . . "I know that the 4th Amendment lays out specific steps which must be taken in order to conduct a search. . . but my dog told me I could search without following those steps."

    It's the old, "My dog ate my homework," but for stupid people.

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    That trooper made a black mark on public relations that will take years of good will to overcome.
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

  • johnny833||

    Another liberal dunderhead. As a former LEO, I have given talks to school kids from elementary to high school and even college campuses. I have always told kids that respect for the uniform, if not for the officer, will lead to less confrontation and less citations in most cases. Also the time to stand up for your rights is better left to court where calmer heads prevail, than trying to do so in the streets. As I have told my own sons, you may well be right, but that won't save you from a trip to jail or worse.

  • MacDaddy81||

    The cops murdered her? The tinfoils are out today. Far more likely, she had a depressive episode in jail, killed herself, and the cops are trying to cover their asses because she shouldn't have been locked up to begin with.

  • ||

    Suppose I kidnap a girl, that part is on video, I lock her up in my basement.

    Three days later I can say she committed suicide, does everyone just assume that is true?

  • D. M. Michell||

    "[R]esistance to arbitrary power is brave because it is dangerous." Yes in a police state, which is what the U.S. is increasingly becoming, if a citizen doesn't want to risk his or her liberty or life, he or she must bow down to the agent of the state, an armed enforcer of mostly arbitrary laws. (Otherwise known as thugs.)

    As to the Supreme Court Justices and the Constitutionality of laws: No one would get nominated nor approved to be a Justice if he or she had strongly held views that were contrary to the current political beliefs. For instance, if someone was up for nomination to the Supreme Court and said that in his or her opinion the whole war on drugs tyranny was a clear violation of the principle of inalienable rights of otherwise honest, peaceful adults, as well as the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, he or she would not become a Supreme Court Justice. Those nine old men and women are political hacks and I wouldn't trust them to know an inalienable right from an illegitimate use of power by the very government they work for.

    Finally, we must all remember that the law does not equate with justice. At one point in the nation a white man could own a black man. It wasn't right, it wasn't justice, but it was the law and the Supreme Court Justices of the time agree with and upheld that unjust law. They said it was constitutional.

  • Fmontyr||

    The manner in which policing is practiced in the US is absolutely shameful. Relative to Europe individuals here are often treated as animals - no, animals receive better treatment. Most police are respectful of persons, but the system is rotten at the core where police have an assumed "power" which is totally unjustified. It is time to abolish the current system and go with a fresh start. There is a fair possibility that a more just policing methodology will replace the current arrogance.

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  • NW Mary||

    Thinking about the reason she was pulled over, I realized that this is a nice way for these cops to get their quota for the day. Especially from drivers they choose to target whether errant-looking teenagers, blacks, and others. Just pull up behind an unsuspecting driver knowing they will probably pull over often failing to signal and then citing them. This incident stinks in every way possible.

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  • Abe Froman||

    Police officers are vocational sociopaths.

    A sociopath is someone who displays a “disposition to violate social norms of behavior” through “deceitfulness … impulsivity … irritability and aggressiveness … [a] reckless disregard for safety of self or others,” and a “lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.”

    Law enforcers have official permission to employ aggressive violence and escalate it to lethal levels if they meet resistance.
    Owing to the nature of the job, law enforcement selects for sociopathic personalities.

    Will Grigg, 4/11/2015

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