Social Question

ninjacolin's avatar

At what point would you defend yourself from an illegal attack by police officers?

Asked by ninjacolin (14243points) May 12th, 2013
32 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

Seems like a catch 22 that when an officer resorts to illegal behavior against a citizen, that citizen is considered a criminal for defending herself physically from those officers to save her own life or to protect her own rights. As well, it applies to witnesses who might feel the inclination to help someone in need of protection against officers behaving illegally.

Example 1, video: Alaska State Trooper arrests young woman for nothing
Example 2, article: California dad ‘begged for his life’ as police beat him to death – witnesses

It’s great if there is video evidence. That would surely help your court case (as long as the evidence isn’t tampered with) but if you’re dead as a result of laying your life down and not defending yourself from an officer, it doesn’t do you much good either.

If you do physically defend yourself (or someone else) against an illegal attack from an officer you will have to stand trial for “assuault on a police officer” or whatever it’s called, but isn’t that a better outcome than just laying there getting beaten until you’re dead? Isn’t it better that officers know that neither will the people, nor the law be on their side when they are misbehaving?

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Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

My experiences tell me to never resist, say as little as possible, and get your day in court. A cop is not going to argue constitutional law with you. That just pisses them off. And a mad cop is a bad cop, trust me. There is not a fucking thing you can do in this country if a cop gets it into his/her fucking head to arrest you or worse. Think about it. Do you really think they chose that profession to protect and serve? Fuck that. If that were true, why didn’t they become firemen or paramedics?

zenvelo's avatar

It is best to fight it in court, and stop any behavior that might be used as an excuse to beat you down.

As I was taught in school, governments have authority by having a monopoly on violence. And the police will use that violence against any threat real or perceived. The only counter to that is non-violence and fight injustice in court.

dabbler's avatar

In the grand scheme of things the answer is to promote de-militarization of our police.
The “drug war” started this awful “them” and “us” devolution, and the “war on terror” has put it on steroids.
We need them to get back to ‘protect and serve’.

bolwerk's avatar

Cops self-select as violent, stupid, authoritarian, and hierarchical – and for some reason, their word still weighs more in court, when it should if anything weigh less. While they have onerous procedures to follow, they aren’t subject to much scrutiny for what they say. Well, at least they weren’t until assloads of videos started coming out on social media showing how brutal and dishonest they really are. There is certainly no moral problem with defending yourself against pig thuggery. If it’s your life or his, it seems logical to kill him.

I’m not sure the best way to defend against beatings, other than to avoid them and avoid talking to cops ever. If you’re in a legal bind, you let a lawyer talk to the cops for you. One thing to remember about cops, like their swine cousins, is they’re herd animals. One on his own probably isn’t a very big physical threat to a physically fit adult male, but a bunch of them are obviously going to overwhelm you. In a beating situation, they’re all going to collude to tell a completely different story – how you were violent and resisting, and how the poor dears all feared their tusks might get chipped.

If you confront the police, make sure you have backup you trust. Most cops are smart enough to keep back from a crowd willing to defend itself.

ucme's avatar

Proximity of truncheon to rectal canal…back off copper!

Ron_C's avatar

Police forces are rapidly militarizing and this country (U.S.) is now a police state. The only rights a poor and middle class person has are those granted by the multitude of police forces that cover an area.

I’ve seen people argue with police in China. If they did that in the U.S., they would (at a minimum) be locked up over night. Typically, people that argue with a police men get to see how much a billy club or mag-light feel when they strike sensitive parts of their body.

I just read a newspaper article about SWAT training our small town (18000 citizens) are scheduled to receive.

I should have taken the offer from Australia of emigration incentives.

bolwerk's avatar

Hmm, I wonder what country has the least fascist police force.

jerv's avatar

The real problem here is that a few bad cops give all cops a bad rep. We’ve had our fair share of police problems in the Seattle area, especially after four policemen were gunned down by a recently released felon, but I kept that in mind as I was cuffed at gunpoint while they searched my apartment after a shooting in my neighborhood.

While I am normally rather anti-authoritarian, I understand what it’s like to work long hours at a thankless job, and how it is dealing with people who lie to you a lot, or become violent without warning. My own dealings with the police have been overall decent simply because I don’t make their job worse than it already is. That attitude has led to me avoiding many tickets, and I got an apology after that “cuffed at gunpoint” incident.

Still, there are bad cops out there, and sadly there isn’t much that can be done when you run into those. We need better accountability.

Judi's avatar

This just happened in my town.
Pretty scary stuff.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’d never resist. Total submission is safest. It’s crazy how much they can change your life.

Judi's avatar

An update on the horrific case in Bakersfield.

This really needs to get some national attention.

Berserker's avatar

I would not resist, although like that girl did, I would keep asking why I’m being arrested. They need to give you a reason. In fact I’ve been arrested before, and good cops will actually tell you two or three times why you’re being arrested, and will often follow up by asking you if you understand why you’re being arrested. Those cops were fucking assholes.
I would not resist, and if they’re being shovey or a little hard I wouldn’t do dick either. I would defend myself as best I could however, if they started getting unnecessarily violent. Like hitting you, slamming you down on something or wtv, most especially if I had not caused that violence to happen. I mean, when you get scared and panic, who knows what you can do. I understand that the more you flail around the more they’ll be forced to detain you, but if I feel that serious injury would come to me, I would have to act. There’s no reason for a cop to shove me on the ground if I’m not doing anything except just standing there, following them or what have you.

Another video someone posted here months ago showed some cops detaining a homeless man and eventually killing him, and again, the homeless guy did fuck all, and the cop started bullying HIM. Dude was just sitting there.
If that happened to me, I’d rather NOT do anything, but if they were going too far, I’d like to heighten my chances of surviving, even if it means facing charges for harming an officer.

The video here fucking infuriates me, but I’m with @jerv here. As a teen I did a lot of dumb stuff, like trespassing, drinking in public and shit and disrupting the peace. So I dealt with some cops, and all the ones I dealt with were fine, patient people who treated me right. I even became friends with one of them, and sometimes when he saw me outside, he came up to me just to see how I was doing. He was awesome. So I don’t see all cops as bad because of the shitty actions of some of them, however I really do fucking wish the system was fairer and better built, so that such assholes as we have seen today wouldn’t even be able to get a job at a fucking shit scraping factory.
For the most part they’re people doing their jobs, not all of them are out to fuck you up, and some are better at keeping their cool than others are. although I would hope that would come with police training…
But yes, I would defend myself if the cops arresting me were being violent for no justifiable reason, and if covering myself didn’t work, I would kick or strike them in some way. Of course, that’s easy to say when it’s never happened to me, and really I’d rather never find out. Fucking sucks that some people do find out.

augustlan's avatar

I would never resist, because I know that would likely end badly. But if I saw 9 cops beating an unarmed man to death, I hope I would be brave enough to try to stop them. With my words, mind you, not my lack of physical strength.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Judi It has. I’m in Dominica 6,000 miles away and I knew about it yesterday morning. (Internet vs. TV. Its not about instantaneous news, but the ability for agencies to do quality in-depth reporting without the burden of airtime costs or the cost of paper publishing.) Bastard cops confiscated every cell phone on the scene for “evidence.” That puts you between a rock and a hard place—you can get arrested for felony withholding evidence in that situation. Now they are harrassing witnesses who speak out. Man, everybody in America needs at least one lawyer in their family just to survive, it seems. But I see in the comments in one of the articles that they’ve received nothing on the SF Bay Area newsfeeds only 400-odd miles away. Hmm. I ran across it while reading about how the nearby Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department top echelons have been taken over by white supremists. SoCal cities are becoming very scary places. More So than Cal.

Judi's avatar

Yesterday Bakersfield is known as a “shoot first, ask questions later” town. The sad thing is that this happened in a poor part of town. If it had been 2 miles west it nevr would have happened.

Judi's avatar

(Why did I write “yesterday?” I’m losing it.)

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

all my troubles seemed so far away

Dutchess_III's avatar

…But now there seems to be hell to pay…

beancrisp's avatar

The two Alaska State Troopers who committed the evil acts against the innocent woman became law enforcement officers for the sole purpose of doing harm to society.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think it was “evil.” Just shitty. Her mouth didn’t help her situation any. It was awful that it happened in front of children too.

beancrisp's avatar

Brian Mitchell and Boyd Branch are the names of the rogue Alaska State Troopers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks @beancrisp. That lead me to a more balance article about the situation.

On the face of it, it sure looks suspicious but we’ll get the whole story soon, I’m sure. In the article I posted, the fact that they saw some marijuana made them suspicious…but pot is kinda sorta legal in Alaska.

All I can say for sure is that the 1st cop definitely over reacted to her moving behind him.

bolwerk's avatar

@Judi: national attention? News is the stuff rare enough not to have much of an impact on you.

Police brutality is fairly normal.

Seek's avatar

My husband recently was forced, at threat of police violence, to watch a man die on the ground in front of him. The man – who had just bought one of my husband’s CDs – stepped off the curb, stumbled over a loose cobblestone, and hit his head on the curb.

The police stepped in, riffled through his pockets for whatever they could find, and then refused to allow my husband to hold his head up (he was facing downhill with his head significantly lower than his heart).

The guy died in the hospital two days later. Maybe it wouldn’t have saved him, but now we’ll never know, will we? The cops? Stood around laughing and chatting while a law-abiding citizen who happened to be attending a local heavy metal show died on the street in front of them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr WHAT?! Did he file an anonymous complaint at least? If he had that on video it would have been on National news. That’s just horrible, I bet your hubs felt terrible, geesh.

Seek's avatar

He still feels terrible.

The guy came out to see his show, and then died. There’s no way to really file a complaint, as the cops wouldn’t come off of any information – names, badge numbers. He asked for them, and was threatened with an arrest for creating a public disturbance or some shit like that. The owner of the club tried to keep everyone inside and away, because the last thing he wants is the cops against him. Small business in a high-crime area and all.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Did you guys move to Russia or something? WTH?

Seek's avatar

It would be nice to think that something like that can’t happen to you, here in ‘Murka. But it can. And does. And doesn’t even get a spot on the local rag or on YouTube.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Yeah, as a person who has been treated very well and respectfully by law enforcement several times, it’s hard for me to comprehend, but I saw Rodney King and a few other beat down’s. Watching someone die and not even holding his head is a crazy though, isn’t their motto to ‘serve and protect’? Sad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My son says their motto is “To spy and harass.”

Judi's avatar

In the case I linked above, surprise surprise, the video from one if the seized cell phones is now missing.

ninjacolin's avatar

Just saw this today, police brutality backfires. Thought it was interesting:

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