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IPFS News Link • Police State

'For Your Own Protection'

• Norman Grigg

There is no situation that cannot be made instantly and immeasurably worse through police intervention. A splendid illustration of this principle is found in a recent ruling from the the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

According to the court, police were entitled to arrest, taze, and beat a teenager who had done nothing more sinister than speak to his mother on the street in front of their home. A police officer accosted the young man – who, as a juvenile, is identified only by the initials "R.R." – after he saw him approaching a woman who was walking a dog.

The officer, who belongs to a social cohort of people who are distinguished primarily by their timidity, claimed that he was "concerned for the woman’s safety." His fears should have been allayed when it was established that the woman was the teenager’s mother.

If the cop had been an actual peace officer, he would have tipped his hat and left. But he was a law enforcer – that is, someone through whose dark ministrations innocent people are transformed into "criminals" – and so he insisted on detaining and interrogating the entirely harmless youngster. To that end he sent for "backup," and a thugscrum soon coalesced around the puzzled and terrified teen.

As the Court of Appeals summarizes, R.R. was "tasered several times, removed from the backseat [of a police vehicle], thrown to the ground, tasered again, kicked, handcuffed, and arrested." All of this was done because the young man "moved around and wrestled around while the officers held him on the ground, making it difficult for the officers to put the cuffs on him."

Because he didn’t permit himself to be shackled like a slave in front of his own home because he had been seen speaking to his mother, the teenager committed the supposed crime of "refusing to submit to arrest."

The trial court in the case also acknowledged that the victim was "a fine young man, an excellent student, and active in sports, clubs and church activities." The judge reportedly expressed dismay that "an innocent situation … just completely got out of hand" – which is, once again, the familiar and entirely predictable outcome when members of the State’s enforcement caste materialize. Despite these superficial expressions of regret, the Judge sentenced the victim to serve one day in detention – thereby leaving him with a criminal record because he had been on the receiving end of a state-aggravated assault.