Ninth Circuit Rules Police Officers Were Justified in Tasering Pregnant Woman Three Times Over Traffic Ticket

The United States Court of Appeals has ruled that three Seattle police officers were justified when they tasered a pregnant mother three times when she refused to sign a traffic ticket. Malaika Brooks was driving her son to Seattle’s African American Academy in 2004 when she was stopped for doing 32 mph in a school zone. When she refused to get out of her car to be arrested, one officer tasered her repeatedly despite (she claims) knowing that she was pregnant.

The officers – Sgt. Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas and Officer Donald Jones – hit her in the thigh, shoulder and neck and then hauled her out of the car and laid her face-down in the street.

While the baby was born two months later without injury, the mother has permanent scars from the taserings.

Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall and Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain ruled that the officers were justified in making an arrest because Brooks was obstructing them and resisting arrest. The judges insisted that, while surrounded by police and the car turned off, she still was a danger: “It seems clear that Brooks was not going to be able to harm anyone with her car at a moment’s notice. Nonetheless, some threat she might retrieve the keys and drive off erratically remained, particularly given her refusal to leave the car and her state of agitation.”

Note, she was arrested after going 32 mph.

Judge Berzon wrote a lengthy and well-reasoned dissent, noting:

The stacked-up, unsubstantiated speculations that Brooks might have been able to retrieve the keys and might have decided to drive off (although she did not when she had the keys) and might have driven erratically if she did drive off and might have endangered people had she done so simply won’t do as a basis for believing Brooks posed a danger to someone. Indeed, if Officer Ornelas really believed she was going to take off and endanger people, all he had to do was hold on to the keys rather than drop them in the car.

Here is the opinion: Taser

103 thoughts on “Ninth Circuit Rules Police Officers Were Justified in Tasering Pregnant Woman Three Times Over Traffic Ticket

  1. I’ll add this also:

    N.J. State Police troopers accused of sexual assault will return to work soon
    By Chris Megerian/Statehouse Bureau
    March 26, 2010, 10:02PM
    The Trenton TimesThe exterior of KatManDu nightclub in Trenton, where a woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by five New Jersey State Police troopers in 2007. The troopers are going to be allowed to return to work soon, according to their lawyers.TRENTON – Seven troopers accused of sexually assaulting a female college student more than two years ago will be heading back to work soon, lawyers for the troopers said tonight.

    The agreement, reached after extensive negotiations between the lawyers and the state, may close the book on one of the most tortured disciplinary cases in recent State Police history. In the past two years, the case has involved investigations by local police, two county prosecutors and State Police internal affairs, in addition to federal and state lawsuits.

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/03/troopers_accused_in_katmandu_s.html

  2. BTW:

    “Answers for readers: When do school speed zone limits apply?
    Q: Some of the schools now have speed enforcement cameras that state “25 mph when lights are flashing or when children are present.” When stating “present,” do they mean when they are out of the building playing, or is it during the entire school year? … When in doubt, I’ve gone 25 mph, but have had people honk at me.

    A: “There are many elements to it,” Seattle Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Sheridan said. “But basically, the school zone signs are in effect when children are near the roadway during times in which they are going to and from school.”

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/archives/143736.asp

  3. Damn

    Canada’s looking mighty good these days.

    Maybe a shred of America can still be experienced there cause it sure ain’t here anymore.

  4. eniobob,

    I was ready to post the same link. I first read of the case just yesterday.

    This college student was assaulted by seven troopers, and the case was never presented to a grand jury.

    Attorneys for the troopers have said that the sex was consensual and that the state police have no right to regulate troopers’ private sex lives.

    These troopers remain unnamed.

    David Jones, president of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association: “Because of an incredulous complaint, no person should have to forfeit their privacy rights to their employer.”

  5. Woosty the Cat Police have always harassed minorities in the US. It is not new. However it is more pleasant in British Columbia.

  6. Swarthmore Mom,
    BC and Alberta both tend to be the exceptions not the rule of law enforcers in Canada. The story that ran earlier this week regarding the BC police who beat a man in public is not the first to come out of that province. Fortunately it is very rare to hear stories even similar to that one throughout the rest of the country. I can attest that the Police in the city where I live ( South Eastern Ontario ) are generally a good lot. For all but 1 encounter that I’ve had with them ( I have far more professional contact than personal )they have been respectful and fair and often display a great sense of humour in difficult situations.
    With respect to the use of tasers, there are pretty cut & dry rules which are typically followed ( except for in BC in seems ).
    The idea of using a taser on someone who has broken the law by driving 7 miles over the posted limit, and then refused to step out of their vehicle is ridiculous. The fact that this woman was far enough into her prgnancy for it to be obvious and was pulled from her vehicle and thrown to the ground face first after 3 hits from a taser is barbaric. The reality that a judge reinforced this behaviour by Police is simply frightening!
    Yes, I do believe that I will remain a Canadian!

  7. We had been enjoying record high temperatures for this time of year ( so high that I was able to wear sandles a few times ) over the past 2 weeks. But as the saying goes ” if March comes in like a lamb it leaves like a lion ” stands true. The temperature went from +12 on Thursday to -18 ( with the windchill )Thursday night and Friday. My morning walk about outside with my dogs today was in a sun shiney -6. I believe that Mother Nature has a great sense of humour!

  8. Swarthmore Mom,
    I would absolutely agree with that assessment. Quebec has and will always be an entity of it’s own. I was actually born and raised in Montreal and when my family moved to Ontario during my early adolescents I felt as though I had moved to a new world. The culture in Quebec cannot be replicated anywhere else. I would highly reccomend that anyone visiting the North make a stop there for sure.

  9. Canadian Eh I drove up to Quebec City. It was very interesting and I want to go back. Others in my family prefer BC so we end up in Vancouver or Victoria Island.

  10. I don’t want to lump all police together as bad but some are just bullies with badges. I don’t understand why a pregnant woman seemd so threatening to these cops. This whole thing looks like a beating perpetrated for the fun of it.

    Two things I do when stopped (so-called “routine traffic stops”):

    1) roll down my windows only far enough to pass out my license, and
    2) never unlock the doors.

    I’m not a criminal nor do I violate traffic laws but I get stopped because of my hair length- look like a d**n hippie, you know. Free country indeed!

    And tasers are not harmless. There have been many documented cases of deaths caused by them.

  11. Swarthmore Mom,
    Make a point of visiting Montreal during your next visit to Quebec. Quebec city certainly gives one the true French Canadian experience, but Montreal provides that in addition to experiencing cultures from all over the world. A beautiful, multi-cultural city where tourist staff are as friendly to the english as well as the french. My favorite place to be!
    Hmmmm perhaps I should write that one into the Montreal Tourism office :)

  12. I am just amazed that two judges can state with a straight face, that tasering a pregnant woman for any non-violent misdemeanor is insane. Dredd might be right. We could be going over the edge, at least when it comes to protecting rogue policemen.

  13. My quandary is this considered a criminal infraction or a civil? If civil and not signing the ticket criminal? It seems to me that the officer could have just given her the ticket and just left. Do we have the SS at work?

  14. Ok, This is a 1983 action and the Defendants won.

    footnote 4 says this: 4 Brooks has had a previous encounter with Notices and Citations to Appear. During a 1996 traffic incident, she refused to sign both the Notice and the Citation to Appear because she did not think she was guilty of the traffic offense underlying the Notice. In that case, the ticketing officer’s
    supervisor instructed the officer to give Brooks both tickets and allow her to leave, even though the law would have permitted custodial arrest.

  15. Canadian Eh!

    “The temperature went from +12 on Thursday to -18 ”

    Never,ever will I complain again about the the weather here on the East Coast in winter.:-))

  16. eniobob,
    I can’t complain, we’ve had a wonderfully mild winter, and reports this morning indicate that the temp will be back up in the + teens by Easter weekend. I’m not pulling the winter gear back out or putting the flip flops back into storage yet :)

  17. I don’t know where to start. While it is obvious that the officer (Yes. One officer tasered her. Not three as the Professor’s version insinuates.), may have found an alternative method of getting Brooks out of her vehicle, we should be provided with the facts in the first place. Many of the comments above are not based upon the facts. In addition, by deciding to forget about the facts of the case, we end up missing some of the other associated problems.

    1. Officer Juan Ornelas, testified he clocked Brooks’ Dodge Intrepid doing 32 mph in a 20-mph school zone. (Not 25 mph)

    2. Officer Donald Jones joined Ornelas in trying to persuade Brooks to sign the ticket. They then called on their supervisor, Sgt. Steve Daman. (The first officer called for backup, and then they called the sergeant for a determination of what to do. So far pretty good procedure.)

    3. The sergeant authorized the arrest. Brooks continue to refuse.
    The officers testified they struggled to get Brooks out of her car but could not because she kept a grip on her steering wheel.
    And that’s when Jones brought out the Taser. Brooks testified she didn’t even know what it was when Jones showed it to her and pulled the trigger, allowing her to hear the crackle of 50,000 volts of electricity. The officers testified that was meant as a final warning, as a way to demonstrate the device was painful and that Brooks should comply with their orders.

    4. When she still did not exit her car, Jones applied the Taser.
    In his testimony, the Taser officer said he pressed the prongs of the muzzle against Brooks’ thigh to no effect. So he applied it twice to her exposed neck. (No mention of “shoulder” in this version) Afterward, he and the others testified, Ornelas pushed Brooks out of the car while Jones pulled.

    5. It is reported that Brooks weighed about 240 lbs. I don’t think any officer would be able to tell if a 240 lb woman sitting in a car was pregnant. Nothing in ANY OF THE REPORTS indicates that she informed the officers that she was pregnant.

    6. She told jurors the officer also used the device on her arm, and showed them a dark, brown burn to her thigh, a large, red welt on her arm and a lump on her neck, all marks she said came from the Taser application. (Still not a “shoulder”)

    7. This tazer application did not involve firing the taser. No barbed projectile was fire into her. The keloid (or wart-like) that can form from being shot by a taser is not applicable in this useage. IOW Brooks was likely playing to the jurors.

    So lets throw the whole pregnant thing out. I can’t fault the officer for tasering a pregnant woman if that condition was not obvious to the officer. The answer to this part is pretty easy. When the sergeant arrived and made the determination to arrest her, and she did not comply, she should have expected reasonable force to be used. Get out of your car. Get handcuffed. And go to jail. (For those who would suggest they wait her out. How long should they wait her out? If they used more force to push and pull her out of the car, and that would have resulted in he losing the baby, what then? Should officers not be able to touch women because they might be pregnant?)

    (continued in next post)

  18. Now here’s a bigger problem (as I see it).

    In their court filings, the officers argued they were concerned that Brooks might drive away and injure the officers or others.
    The judge pointed out, however, that one of the officers swore in a declaration that he had reached into the car and taken the keys from the ignition.
    “In the face of this admission, Defendants’ repeated insistence that Ms. Brooks might have hurt someone with her car is wholly unconvincing, at best, and a misrepresentation to the court at worst,” the judge wrote in an order issued late Thursday. “The facts before this court show that Ms. Brooks posed no threat to anyone.”
    This was reversed by the appellate court. I’ve got a big problem with that. The two circuit court judges who arrived at that conclusion are, without a doubt, incompetent. They should be removed from the bench.

    One more thing I gleaned from doing a little more research:
    I’m not sure if it was immediately following the arrest, or was testimony from trial, but Brooks said “They could have hurt my unborn fetus”. What 7 month pregnant woman considers her baby to be an “unborn fetus”? I have never in my life had a woman who was that far along call “it” an unborn fetus. When pro-choice women take a pregnancy test, and it turns out to be positive, do they no longer say “I’m going to have a baby?”. Even if you want to get pregnant, telling your friends and family that you’re “carrying an unborn fetus”, cannot be the same as telling them you’re going to have a baby.

  19. Buddha,

    You have set my day on the right track. Many thanks.

    Sniffing the salt and tossing the tequila over his left shoulder! These were better — well, at least funnier — days. Makes me want to watch Fletch again too. Chase was a master in his day.

    My other favorite exchange:

    “Do you take drugs, Danny?”

    “Everyday.”

    “Good.”

    And this line:

    “This isn’t Russia, is it?”

  20. “We have a pool and a pond. The pond would be good for you.”

    and

    “What are you doing in this nape of the way, neck of the woods?”

    Chevy had his day, true.

    Bill can still hit it out of the park though.

    I seriously blame the pain killers. They’ll eat your brain.

  21. Seems to me that there needs to be another process in place when a person refuses to sign a traffic ticket. There are too many senseless uses of the Taser over not signing tickets. The officer should be able to document the refusal and send the ticket via mail.

    It just doesn’t make sense to me, as a human being, that anybody should electro-shocked anyone else when they won’t sign a piece of paper. Even though signing a ticket is not admitting guilt, the parallelism to signing a confession under duress of torture are easy to make. Most folks don’t understand the process and think signing the ticket is admitting guilt. And instead of attempting to diffuse the situation, this genius decided to shock a pregnant woman — and keep shocking her again and again. It makes me wonder what he fantasized about that night before he went to sleep? Maybe when it happens to his daughter or his sister, or his mother or grandmother, when they are twitching around peeing on themseleves, crying in pain, he will take a different approach to a stranger.

  22. George said “And instead of attempting to diffuse the situation, this genius decided to shock a pregnant woman — and keep shocking her again and again.”

    George, Your bias is showing. :)

  23. When authorities were asked for help:Disturbing.

    For Years, Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse
    By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and DAVID CALLENDER
    Published: March 26, 2010

    They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/us/27wisconsin.html?pagewanted=2&sq=deaf%20boys%20abused&st=cse&scp=1

  24. OK George; I’ll play along. How would you suggest the officer “diffuse the sitiuation”? In addition, when the taser was applied to the thigh (a likely fatty area on a 240 lb woman; making it ineffective) should he have just given up so as to avoid a claim of “again and again”?

    You then said “It makes me wonder what he fantasized about that night before he went to sleep?”

    Wondering about what someone might have fantasized about is “common sense”?

    If this dingbat woman really cared about her “unborn fetus” she would have avoided ANY confrontation. Common sense dictates that refusing to comply with the lawful order of a police officer is going to result in such a confrontation. Doesn’t it?

    She was convicted for refusing to sign the ticket.

    Using the taser directly on her neck does not present the same dangers as firing the taser and letting the separated barbed probes do the work. That’s because no electricity crosses the heart muscle.

  25. I will say it again. Tasering anyone, let alone a pregnant woman, for having the audacity to refuse to sign a ticket is preposterous. There is absolutely no societal reason to require a driver to sign a ticket. And to require an arrest for not signing a speeding ticket is a waste of the police department’s and the court system’s time. The Taser is a deadly weapon and should not be used for enforcing misdemeanors or traffic tickets.

  26. “It seems clear that Brooks was not going to be able to harm anyone with her car at a moment’s notice. Nonetheless, some threat she might retrieve the keys and drive off erratically remained, particularly given her refusal to leave the car and her state of agitation.”

    Might is an interesting word, “Judges”.

    might \ˈmīt\. v.a.,
    past of may
    —used in auxiliary function to express permission, liberty, probability, possibility in the past (the president might do nothing without the board’s consent) or a present condition contrary to fact (if you were older you might understand) or less probability or possibility than may (might get there before it rains) or as a polite alternative to may (might I ask who is calling) or to ought or should (you might at least apologize)

    Monkeys might have flown out of her butt and attacked the officers too.

    And duh? Depending upon where she was struck in the neck, the current could have caused esophageal or tracheal spasms or even worse if it crossed her spine. Not that breathing and swallowing are important.

  27. Buddha,

    The trial judge correctly interpreted the threat when he dismissed it.
    “The judge pointed out, however, that one of the officers swore in a declaration that he had reached into the car and taken the keys from the ignition.

    “In the face of this admission, Defendants’ repeated insistence that Ms. Brooks might have hurt someone with her car is wholly unconvincing, at best, and a misrepresentation to the court at worst,” the judge wrote in an order issued late Thursday. “The facts before this court show that Ms. Brooks posed no threat to anyone.”

    It was the appellate court who got it wrong.

    As for the potential dangers of applying a taser to the neck; can you provide any document that would support your claim? Your’s is the first time I have heard of such potential danger.

  28. The implications of this entire situation should be extremely frightening to any woman and anyone who cares for a woman.

    A seven month pregnant woman is vulnerable in so many ways … especially if she belongs to the humanity herd in Seattle where a pregnant woman becomes part of the equipment in a pick up game of taser-ball.

  29. Duh,

    Those who believe the law and its enforcers are always right are not persuadable.

    Remember…

    1. The law is MADE by politicians. As history has shown, they are always perfect and beyond moral reproach. The never cheat on their taxes or their spouse, they never lie to get what they want, they never spin us with white lies, they never speed or ever make any mistakes of any kind. They are, of course, perfect.

    2. The laws are ENFORCED by men and women with guns and license to hurt you if you don’t do what they say. As anyone who reads this blog knows, their judgment is always correct, mistakes are never made and their directives should never be questioned.

    Now, I know and you know, because we are fairly educated people, if you disagree with an officer, the place to disagree is in a court room, not on the roadside. Unfortunately, those who aren’t wise in the ways of the world or who haven’t had a decent education, don’t understand those complexities. The officer should have done everything in his power to EXPLAIN what her signature meant and that it did not convey admittance of guilt. But he was trained that she did not need to understand, just that she needed to comply by any means necessary. When the police went from “peace officers” to “officers of the law,” common sense and discretion went out the window.

  30. Blouise,

    Other than the risk of falling down and injuring the “unborn fetus” (which was nonexistent because she was sitting in a car), how was she so vulnerable?

    Anyone who really cared for a woman would suggest that they comply with a lawful order and avoid the whole situation.

  31. Buddha,
    Thanks for the comic relief, but I can assure you that is not how tequila shots are done here…lol

    AY,
    Whatever is so unfamily oriented about the proper way to serve tequila?

    Duh,
    While your arguments might make a great deal of sense in a crime where there is the potential of danger to the officers and by-standers it just doesn’t sit right in this type of case. I regulary drive 20 km over the posted limits in many areas, and if I were stopped and ticketed it would be my choice whether to sign or not. It would not really matter if I signed, the ticket would still need to be paid, unless I chose to fight it in court and win the case.
    Most women are very obviously pregnant by 7 months, and the actions by the police very well could have caused a miscarriage of the fetus. I wonder if a miscarriage had been the result would pro-life groups be pushing for a murder charge against the officers?

  32. George,

    If you read my reaction to the Vitoria Police Department story from a few days ago, one could hardly walk away thinking that police officers are always right.
    http://jonathanturley.org/2010/03/24/video-police-officer-stomps-on-man-on-ground-during-arrest/

    Points 1 and 2 have nothing to do with lawful enforcement of the law, and a woman who by her own history (refusing to sign a ticket in 1986 and speeding thru a school zone) thinks that she can do whatever she damn-well pleases.

    The officer DID explain to her that signing the ticket was not an admission of guilt. He even called the sergeant in to help convince her.
    “When voice commands didn’t work, court documents show, they used a “pain compliance” hold on her arm.” When that didn’t work, they used the tazer. Unlike most use of a tazer, the officer pressed the trigger to show her what it would do. She still refused to cooperate.

  33. I view this event as a predictable outcome of the ‘militarization’ of the police forces around the country. A spate of 9/11 funding was available and needed to be spent – and police departments around the country have spent it on ordnance. Some departments have equipment that rivals first-world army battalions.

    When you are given a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Does anyone here think that if those policemen worked in a municipality that did NOT use tasers, that the situation could not have been handled at least as well?

    What is next? Lobbing stun grenades in through the window – after all, the taser was initially unsuccessful? Waterboarding?

    Tasers were initially rationalized as a defensive weapon of last resort to protect policemen. Here we have a situation where it was used aggressively as a convenience. Bad escalation and precedent.

  34. CE,

    What would you suggest the officers do with a woman who refuses to comply with the law? (A law that requires her to sign the ticket. Of which she was later found guilty of.) It may be “your choice” in Canada, but in Seattle, you would be required to sign the ticket.

    “Most women are very obviously pregnant by 7 months”

    Do you really think you could identify a 240 lb woman sitting in a car as being obviously pregnant?

    “and the actions by the police very well could have caused a miscarriage of the fetus”

    And the actions by the woman should be considered irrelevant? They didn’t just pull her over and taser her. She ENDANGERED children by speeding in a school zone. SHE refused to sign the ticket. SHE would not exit the vehicle. SHE brought this on herself.

    “I wonder if a miscarriage had been the result would pro-life groups be pushing for a murder charge against the officers?”

    No. But if the laws were such that unborn life was protected, a reckless endangerment charge could have been brought against the mother.

  35. “Does anyone here think that if those policemen worked in a municipality that did NOT use tasers, that the situation could not have been handled at least as well?”

    Without tasers, the level of physical force would have escalated. The increased level of force could have presented an even greater chance of injury to the woman and her “unborn fetus”.

    Comply with the lawful orders of a police officer, or you’re gonna end up hurtin’. That isn’t something new. My daddy taught me that a long time ago. If your daddy didn’t teach you the same thing, you’ll have to learn it on your own.

  36. Duh

    Blouise,

    Other than the risk of falling down and injuring the “unborn fetus” (which was nonexistent because she was sitting in a car), how was she so vulnerable?

    Anyone who really cared for a woman would suggest that they comply with a lawful order and avoid the whole situation.

    ===============================================================

    Oh brother! Care for a quick game?

  37. ” What would you suggest the officers do with a woman who refuses to comply with the law? (A law that requires her to sign the ticket. Of which she was later found guilty of.) It may be “your choice” in Canada, but in Seattle, you would be required to sign the ticket. “…DUH

    I would certainly not suggest brute force, and not just if the offender is a pregnant woman but any citizin. I can’t imagine that this is a scenerio that police have not encountered before, perhaps the sargeant needs some training in problem solving.

    *********

    ” Do you really think you could identify a 240 lb woman sitting in a car as being obviously pregnant? “….DUH

    Better to be safe than sorry. If officers noticed a protruding belly on a woman of child bearing age( I have known many overweight women during their pregnancies, and yes there is definately a difference between fat and pregnant belly )better to err on the side of caution and at minimum suspect pregnancy as a possibility.

    ********
    ” And the actions by the woman should be considered irrelevant? They didn’t just pull her over and taser her. She ENDANGERED children by speeding in a school zone. SHE refused to sign the ticket. SHE would not exit the vehicle. SHE brought this on herself. “….DUH

    Make no mistake Duh, I am not suggesting that this woman made the wisest choices in this scenerio, not at all. The wise choice would have been driving the spped limit in the first place, and if not accepting responsibility for her actions. What I am suggesting is that the actions that the police took were way way out of line. If they hadn’t had tasers available, would it have been ok to shoot the woman in front of her child who was sitting in the back seat?

    *******
    ” No. But if the laws were such that unborn life was protected, a reckless endangerment charge could have been brought against the mother “…..DUH

    My comment was very much tongue in cheek, I think you are well aware of my stance on this matter and I have no desire to engage in that issue on a thread of an entirely different topic.

  38. Duh,

    I appreciate your comments from the other story. I just can NEVER join you in your belief that it is okay to hurt another person because they won’t sign a piece of paper (even if that is the “law”), especially when NO ONE IS IN PHYSICAL JEOPARDY. If I were an officer, I would rather have faced a reprimand from my superior for not getting a signature on the ticket rather than Tasering a pregnant lady.

    As far as lawful commands go, I hope one of your female family members never questions (or misunderstands) a command given to her by law enforcement. I suppose you have all women in your house suffiencelty “educated” in this regard and they simply fall into a fetal position when in the presence of an “offical” and wait for their command.

    By the way, the officer’s accounts of incidents are always correct, right? I’m sure he and his sergeant didn’t discuss their stories or anything before filing the report, of which they both come of looking most reasonable, I’m sure.

  39. “If I were an officer, I would rather have faced a reprimand from my superior for not getting a signature on the ticket rather than Tasering a pregnant lady.”

    That’s why you complain about the law, and others accept the role of enforcing the law. You will complain about police officers doing their job long before you would tell the lady to follow the law. Bottom line; she brought this upon herself. It started when she chose to endanger the lives of children around the school. It escalated when she refused to comply with the order to sign the ticket (even after it was expalined that it was not an admission of guilt, but a promise to appear (in effect a personal recognizance bond) and continued to resist after other force was applied.) Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe you don’t understand that signing the ticket was a means of bond.

    George said “As far as lawful commands go, I hope one of your female family members never questions (or misunderstands) a command given to her by law enforcement. I suppose you have all women in your house suffiencelty “educated” in this regard and they simply fall into a fetal position when in the presence of an “offical” and wait for their command.”

    And you wonder why I find your arguments to be less than persuasive? We can take anything to the extreme to make it look ridiculous. You’ve proven that. :)

    “By the way, the officer’s accounts of incidents are always correct, right? I’m sure he and his sergeant didn’t discuss their stories or anything before filing the report, of which they both come of looking most reasonable, I’m sure.”

    That alone is a very obvious display of personal bias. You attempt to suggest that the officer’s account is a lie, when Brooks didn’t even disagree with the officer’s account. And here I thought the appellate court was the only one arriving at evidence based on their own conlcusion.

  40. Duh,

    I think you are foolish and your arguments weak. You likely think the same of me and my retort. With that, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    Have a nice Saturday.

  41. CE said “I would certainly not suggest brute force, and not just if the offender is a pregnant woman but any citizin. I can’t imagine that this is a scenerio that police have not encountered before, perhaps the sargeant needs some training in problem solving.”

    I run into this a lot. People don’t like what was done, but they can’t provide any alternative means that would be effective. If you, yourself cannot provide an alternative means of resolution, how do you expect the sergeant to gain from “training in problem solving”? Your argument is emotional but not rational.

    Could you imagine what it would be like if people were permitted to just ignore lawful orders? I can see it now. Pull over -NO. Pull over -NO. Don’t make me say it again! What are you going to do about it copper? Well. I guess nothing. Stupid cops.

    “If they hadn’t had tasers available, would it have been ok to shoot the woman in front of her child who was sitting in the back seat?”

    I see you have adopted George’s methods. :) What kind of an example do you think she set for her son?

    The reason she was stopped is not disputed. The reason for her arrest (she opted not to accept a signature bond) was reasonable. It was this ladd’t actions alone that caused her pain. I don’t care if the pain came from a taser, or from a police officer wrestling with her in order to make the arrest. I see no reason for a police officer to be forced into a physical confrontation with a beligerent woman.

    I do like how you sided with the woman. The officer is supposed to show more compassion for her “unborn fetus” than she will. Besides, it’s just an “unborn fetus”. No reason to worry about protecting it. Right? :)

  42. Duh,

    Taser-ball is a new sport invented by LEO’s. Ordinarily I’m a big supporter of LEOs … lots of friends in different departments. I’ve been to several events (gatherings) and heard many joking references to playing “taser-ball”. LEOs have a certain kind of humor that one always has to take with a grain of salt.

    This particular incident reminded me of several of those “taser-ball” jokes.

    Anyone who has dealt with a 7 month pregnant woman knows how dicey things can get. Most species protect the pregnant out of pure instinct for survival of the species. (Which is part of the problem when debating the issue of abortion … but that is for another thread.)

    In this instance, and considering the dissenting opinion, I, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, suggested that basic instinct was overcome by the desire to play a quick game of “taser-ball”.

    Thus I posted: “A seven month pregnant woman is vulnerable in so many ways … especially if she belongs to the humanity herd in Seattle where a pregnant woman becomes part of the equipment in a pick up game of taser-ball.”

    In taser-ball the biggest challenge is finding a “ball” to taser … a 7 month pregnant woman is easy pickin’s.

  43. “Without tasers, the level of physical force would have escalated.”

    Or not. Arguing by assertion is not a recipe for success.

    <blockquote> “She ENDANGERED children by speeding in a school zone. “

    That’s a bit of a stretch, and the crux of the problem with your argument. 32 mph in a school zone is not reckless endangerment. The police, acting as agents of the State, have an obligation to use discretion in order to match their response to the severity of an infraction. They blew it, and your argument therefore sucks.

    BTW, if she was, as you insist, actually endangering children, what should be the proper response of the police if she was instead a Roman Catholic priest who drove onto RCC property and claimed asylum? ;D

  44. Blouise,

    After reading the account, I don’t see this as anything the officers did for fun. A lone officer, an officer with his/her partner, or officers in the heat of pursuit are more likely to do that. In this case, the officer got backup, and then called for the patrol sergeant to make the call regarding arrest. They tried to convince her to just sign the ticket, but she refused. Then they tried to use physical force, including a painful arm lock, but she still refused. Then the officer pulled the trigger on the tazer in an attempt to demonstrate what would happen if she still refused. After all that, she still refused. Then she got tazered.

    I’ve seen plenty of instances where the use of a taser was premature, if warranted at all. This was not one of those cases. Ive also seen instance where the use of a tazer was abusive. Again, this is not one of those cases. The officers had full reason and authority to make an arrest. I can think of no other method of forced compliance that would have put the officers and this woman in a better situation. Further attempts to wrestle her out of the car would have likely resulted in injury to the woman, and the officers. She alone had the utlimate responsibility of protecting her “unborn fetus”. She alone had the duty to avoid unnecessary risk.

  45. Gingerbaker,

    What force was used before the tazer was employed?

    Why do we have ultra-slow speed limits in school zones? Is it to protect children against a known hazard, or is it just a chance to let “the man” restrict your liberty?

    What do you suggest should be done when a signature is a condition of bond, and the person refuses to provide that signature? When a police officer attempts to perform a legalized authorized arrest, and the subject refuses to comply, should they just say “oh, well” and walk away? I’m really interested in you response.

  46. LJM, What part of condition of bond don’t you understand? IF you don’t like the law, I urge you to get the law changed. But implying that officers should ignore the laws that you don;t like is ludicrous. Isn’t it?

    I’ll ask you the same thing I asked Gingerbaker. When a police officer attempts to perform a legalized authorized arrest, and the subject refuses to comply, should they just say “oh, well” and walk away?

  47. “What force was used before the tazer was employed?

    Why do we have ultra-slow speed limits in school zones? Is it to protect children against a known hazard, or is it just a chance to let “the man” restrict your liberty?

    What do you suggest should be done when a signature is a condition of bond, and the person refuses to provide that signature? When a police officer attempts to perform a legalized authorized arrest, and the subject refuses to comply, should they just say “oh, well” and walk away? I’m really interested in you response.”

    I don’t think any of these questions are relevant to the main issue, which as I see it, was a response out of proportion to the crime.

    Your line of reasoning, it seems to me, could justify any ultimate response to any infraction no matter how small. An uncooperative perp could ostensibly be shot dead for jaywalking, for example. We can’t have a society like that. The response must, it seems to me, be proportional to the crime.

    Was this woman in the wrong? Of course. Was the police response unproportional and unimaginative? In my opinion absolutely. Police handled worse situations like this for years without using tasers or riotsticks or guns. That is supposed to be a key part of their training. But they now have tasers, so they use them.

    In my opinion, in this case, they used the taser way too indiscriminately. (They never should have progressed to the point to where they needed to arrest this woman in the first place if they had any talent).

  48. Gingerbaker,

    You provided the same response that others did. In effect, take it to the ridiculous (i.e. shoot them) without providing an alternative. This is not an issue of providing a response commensurate with the crime. That would make police officers judge and jury. The issue here is using the least amount of force to complete the arrest. You seem to be implying that they should just skip the arrest if the subject refuses to comply. That is surely what Brooks would have liked them to do. And if they did it with her, they should do it for everyone else too. Shouldn’t they?

    Next thing you know, nobody gets arrested. If you don’t like the law that permits an officer to arrest someone for not signing their traffic ticket, change the law.

  49. “They never should have progressed to the point to where they needed to arrest this woman in the first place if they had any talent”

    Is that statement being made from the experience gained in all of your years in law enforcement? One year? A ride-along? :)

    I’m just so happy to know that everyone who disagrees with the actions taken by the police could have done a better job themselves.

  50. ” I run into this a lot. People don’t like what was done, but they can’t provide any alternative means that would be effective. If you, yourself cannot provide an alternative means of resolution, how do you expect the sergeant to gain from “training in problem solving”? Your argument is emotional but not rational. “…..DUH

    That is actually funny. My argument is the rational one, I suspect that the decsion that the officers made in this situation stemmed from emotion….anger to be exact. If, as a society, we start saying that it is ok for any law enforcer to act out of anger rather than rationality we are all on a lot of trouble. There need to be policies in place to manage difficult situations as they arise with the least amount of force. Pulling a taser on a person, when the potential of danger to the public is not evident, is not the least amount of force necessary to manage this situation.

  51. Duh,

    First, thank you for making the effort to read all that you could and posting links; such efforts make this blawg even more worthwhile.

    I have not read the full opinion yet, although I think that the officer’s use of the Taser was unequivocally unwarranted. As a Federal LEO, I have several instances where a subject refused to sign a notice of violation (NOV) and that did not concern me because I had all of the relevant legal evidence I needed if a subject did not pay the citation or appear before a magistrate within the allotted time. In one instance, I had to serve a court summons on an individual violator. In that case, I found the violators wife—who was with her husband at the time of the incident—and after listening to the circumstances and learning that she had divorced her husband, they had lost their home, and many other problems including young children, which I verified, I called the Federal magistrate and requested that he drop the charges. I did not pursue the male subject further—although I really *wanted* this guy for his avoidance—and after sending a detailed written report to the judge, he agreed that the most equitable manner to resolve this issue was to dismiss the charges. Sometimes, even after spending many hours on a case, the most equitable justice is a dismissal.

    Likewise in this case, the officers had all of the evidence they needed and they could have sent Ms. Brooks on her way to face justice another day. Furthermore, I would be ashamed to admit that I was one of the 2 male officers who could not physically gain pain compliance control over a 34-year-old woman—all 240 lbs of her or not.

    At least one officer embellished (perhaps lied) about part of his report as the judge noted in the following quote and demonstrates possible tainting of other aspects of the case.

    A quote from U.S. District Judge Richard Jones of which I agree:
    __________________________________________

    Quote:

    “The judge pointed out, however, that one of the officers swore in a declaration that he had reached into the car and taken the keys from the ignition.

    “In the face of this admission, Defendants’ repeated insistence that Ms. Brooks might have hurt someone with her car is wholly unconvincing, at best, and a misrepresentation to the court at worst,” the judge wrote in an order issued late Thursday. “The facts before this court show that Ms. Brooks posed no threat to anyone.”

    Moreover, the officers were not in a life-and-death situation where they had to make a split-second decision. “Using a Taser to inflict extreme pain to effect the arrest … of a nonviolent pregnant woman already under police control is a Fourth Amendment violation,” the judge wrote.”

    End Quote

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004474548_taser13m.html
    ___________________________________________

    An important part of LE is displaying the ability to use one’s verbal skills in gaining a subject’s compliance. “Verbal Judo” is an important tool that perhaps they do not teach LEOs to the extent that they should. A traffic stop is never routine and there are heightened stress levels for the driver and the officer(s). In this case, neither the trained officers nor the untrained subject comported themselves properly. However, the LEOs had every advantage to avoid a confrontation, they were more blameworthy based on their assumed skill levels, which should have included an understanding of the 4th Amendment, and I strongly disagree with the 9th Circuit’s ruling.

  52. CE,

    If they would have tasered her because she failed to sign the ticket, that would be wrong. That is not what they did. After contacting the patrol sergeant the decision was made by the sergeant to arrest this woman. Like it or not, that is a lawful decision. Once the decision was made to arrest the woman, she failed to comply with the order to exit her vehicle. The officers attempted “to assist” her, but she held on to the steering wheel.

    When a decision has been made by the sergeant, and the women will not comply, what do you suggest that they do? Please provide details that you feel would permit the task to be accomplished.

  53. FFLEO said “Furthermore, I would be ashamed to admit that I was one of the 2 male officers who could not physically gain pain compliance control over a 34-year-old woman—all 240 lbs of her or not.”

    I too am reasonably sure that the officers could have physically gained control over the woman. But at what risk? Couldn’t that physical force have caused injury, not only the woman, but the officers too? If we’re considering the safety of the “unborn fetus”, I think the taser was a safer choice. (I haven’t been able to find anything that would convince me that the life of the “unborn fetus” was in danger by using a taser, unless the suspect was permitted to fall.)

    I’m 6’2″ and 240 lbs. I doubt the woman had near the physical strength that I do, but I think it would take a lot to get her out of the car. Chances are pretty high that I would injure her if I tried to push her out of the car. I also think there is a pretty good chance that she would try to bite the other officer if he tried to pry her hands loose.

    It wasn’t like the officers didn’t try to coerce her into just signing the ticket. They even called out the sergeant for assistance. Then they attempted to use a limited amount of physical force to extricate the woman from the vehicle.

    For most here, any use of a taser is unacceptable (except when used instead of a gun). Potential injury to the officer is not even a consideration.

    Are you too suggesting that if an attempt to make an arrest is made, and if the subject refuses to comply, the officers should just walk away? To me, that makes as much sense as Wal-Mart announcing that they will not prosecute thefts below $10. I know I would certainly refuse to comply when presented with that option.

    I’d like to know where the new “arrest optional” state is going to be. That way I can stay far away from it. :)

  54. FFLEO said “An important part of LE is displaying the ability to use one’s verbal skills in gaining a subject’s compliance. “Verbal Judo” is an important tool that perhaps they do not teach LEOs to the extent that they should.”

    And every subject can be handled by the proper application of verbal judo. Sorry, I can’t by that. It’s easy to say “I could have done a better job” when you weren’t there.

    “A traffic stop is never routine and there are heightened stress levels for the driver and the officer(s). In this case, neither the trained officers nor the untrained subject comported themselves properly.”

    Is that because they used a taser? If not, other than using a taser, what did they do wrong?

    “However, the LEOs had every advantage to avoid a confrontation”

    For the most part, the usually do. Many times a LEO can chose not to enforce a law. However, I don’t think it’s right to chastize them for doing their job, when you weren’t there to assess the situation.

    “they were more blameworthy based on their assumed skill levels, which should have included an understanding of the 4th Amendment”

    How, if I may ask, do you consider them to have violated the 4th Amendment, by issuing a traffic ticket, or for making a lawfull arrest. I think you must be referring to something else. The 4th Amendment is not applicable to this situation.

  55. Duh, I see your point about the lawfulness of arresting the woman, but there are very, very simple techniques which could be used to make a person let go of a steering wheel. And there are a variety of ways to defuse situations like this, but they require patience. Was it imperative that she be arrested at that very moment?

    The main problem here is that too few officers are trained (or are, frankly, interested) in how to restrain people without using excessive force.

  56. LJM said “Was it imperative that she be arrested at that very moment?”

    That’s a call made by the sergeant.

    Here’s a quote from the Ninth Circuit if it helps.

    “First, the Officers had clear authority for their initial arrest and detention of Brooks. Brooks does not dispute that her initial traffic violation permitted the Officers to arrest and to detain her until they issued her a Notice. See Wash. Rev. Code § 46.64.015 (2004) (“The arrested person, in order to secure release, and when permitted by the arresting officer, must give his or her written promise to appear in court as required by the citation and notice by singing in the appropriate place . . .”).9 In addition, Brooks’s refusal to sign the Notice gave the Officers probable cause to continue to detain her. Under Washington law, a police officer may arrest an individual for committing a misdemeanor in his presence. Wash. Rev. Code § 10.31.100. Failure to sign the Notice is a misdemeanor. See Wash. Rev. Code § 46.61.022 (making failure to comply with Wash. Rev. Code § 46.61.021(3), which includes a requirement to sign the Notice, a misdemeanor).

    As there is no dispute that Brooks’s refusal to sign the Notice took place in the presence of the Officers, there can be no question that Washington law authorized her arrest.

    [5] The Officers’ authority to arrest Brooks for these misdemeanors would ordinarily last no longer than necessary to issue her a Citation. See Wash. Rev. Code § 46.64.015 (2004). 9In 2006, the Washington legislature amended this statute to omit the authorization to effect a custodial arrest for failure to sign the Citation to Appear. See Wash. Rev. Code § 46.64.015. However, the earlier version was applicable to the events of this case.

    However, her conduct during this initial detention gave the Officers probable cause to place her under custodial arrest for other violations of state law—a point that Brooks does not dispute. For instance, we find that probable cause existed to arrest Brooks for obstructing an officer. See Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.76.020. “A person is guilty of obstructing a law enforcement officer if the person willfully hinders, delays, or obstructs any law enforcement officer in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties.” Id.; see Lassiter, 556 F.3d at 1051, 1053 (listing the crime’s elements as “1) an action or inaction that hinders, delays, or obstructs the officers; 2) while the officers are in the midst of their official duties; 3) the defendant knows the officers are discharging a public duty; [and] 4) the action or inaction is done knowingly”). That violation is a gross misdemeanor for which custodial arrest is appropriate. See Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9A.76.020(3),”

  57. Duh,

    FFLEO said “An important part of LE is displaying the ability to use one’s verbal skills in gaining a subject’s compliance. “Verbal Judo” is an important tool that perhaps they do not teach LEOs to the extent that they should.”

    If you don’t buy that, what blog exactly have you been reading again? Certainly, there are some situations that no amount of talking can defuse. That does not make “verbal judo” an invaluable skill. A precept of those martial arts you are suggesting the officers need more training in is to use the minimum amount of force possible to bring peaceful resolution to a conflict. Sometimes that requires someone dies. However, there is no tool less harmful physically than words. Different tools for different but overlapping jobs, conflict resolution and combat skills both geared to bring a peaceful solution with minimal force. Because remember: when force, from either “side” is in play, that is when people get hurt, including officers.

    You want to keep officers safe?

    Knowing how to psychologically manage the situation with words can only help.

  58. Buddha,

    If you wouldn’t have left out the sentence that preceded “I can’t buy that”, it would have made much more sense. I didn’t question the value of verbal judo, I said that I couldn’t buy that it works every time. In this case, we weren’t there. When there is a judgment call to be made, and we know that the woman kept repeating “I’m not signing, I’m not signing” over and over, and the officer got backup, and called the sergeant before any physical force was used; I’m going to side with ther officers.

    If the woman would have just refused to sign, and the officer would have then immediately tazed her; I’d have a problem with that.

  59. Her not signing the ticket?

    Should simple result in an unsigned ticket that is still going to be processed like any other ticket.

    Any other policy is simply an escalation BY law enforcement that is simply unmerited.

  60. Buddha,

    Then I suggest that the law be changed. Currently Wash. Rev. Code § 10.31.100. Failure to sign the Notice is a misdemeanor. See Wash. Rev. Code § 46.61.022 (making failure to comply with Wash. Rev. Code § 46.61.021(3), which includes a requirement to sign the Notice, a misdemeanor).

    It wasn’t even the officer who made the stop who made the call to place her under arrest. It was the sergeant.

  61. Duh,

    I admire your perseverance and sincerely appreciate your defense of the LEOs’ actions in this case. It is also very refreshing to debate an issue with someone without the over emotionalism that so often rears its ugly head.

    One of the most effective LEOs I’ve ever met is a sergeant in the Ohio State Highway Patrol. His arrest record is mammoth resulting in a great number of convictions and no citizen complaints. His appearance is “poster perfect” yet he is soft spoken … even quiet. He told me that his success stems from his ability to lie. In other words, he continually agrees with everything the perp is telling him, even expresses sympathy until the cuffs are on and the guy/gal is safely stowed in the backseat of his cruiser. I suspect FFLEO would like him … “An important part of LE is displaying the ability to use one’s verbal skills in gaining a subject’s compliance.”(FFLEO)

    So … once again, I appreciate your argument but I disagree with your defense of these particular LEOs.

    I hope next time we meet in debate, it will be a subject on which we agree.

  62. I attempted posting a detailed reply thrice (only 1 link in the post) and it would not post. I will simply try this abbreviated version to explain my position without the attributions.

    References to the 4th Amendment and/or relevant statutes are found within the opinion and in the linked articles already posted.

    Duh,

    I cannot expend more time countering your claims because your ignorance of the very basis of the lawsuit is even outstripping your biases.

    ___________________________________________

    Quote from Duh:

    “How, if I may ask, do you consider them to have violated the 4th Amendment, by issuing a traffic ticket, or for making a lawfull arrest. I think you must be referring to something else. The 4th Amendment is not applicable to this situation.”

    End Quote

    ____________________________________________

  63. Duh, it seems to me like you’re saying, “The police were within the law when they tazed and arrested her, so it’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the law that allows them to taze and arrest people for not signing tickets.”

    Sure, the officers are supposed to follow the orders of their sergeant, but if the sergeant’s orders are unreasonable (like using force to immediately arrest someone who poses no danger to anyone) and the force used is excessive (which it was), then it makes sense to criticize the actions of the sergeant and the officers.

  64. Next thing you know, nobody gets arrested. If you don’t like the law that permits an officer to arrest someone for not signing their traffic ticket, change the law.

    As noted in the opinion (and/or dissent):

    1. the law was changed in 2006 and you no longer have to sign.

    2. Even when the facts of this case happened, not signing was not an arrestable offense. The prosecution’s (convoluted) theory was that: (i) refusal to sign was a non-arrestable misdemeanor; (ii) so the policemen did* a promise to appear form for the misdemeanor failure to sign; (iii) refusing to sign the promise to appear was an arrestable offense. The majority rejected this theory, but then said that refusal to sign was obstruction which was arrestable. As the dissent points out, the majority’s understanding of obstruction is incorrect and flies in the face of precedent.

    3. The woman’s position was that the car in front of her was doing 32 and she was not.

    4. MY COMMENTS: Generally people should follow police commands (and then sue later if the commands were bad. However, there are some exceptions to this. One exception is a police order to provide information (other than id type info) or sign something or consent to something. Generally, these police commands should be refused. And the police should expect them to be refused. And it is not obstruction (which is where the majority opinion messes up bad). Another police command that should be refused is an order to stop recording or stop taking pictures. I don’t think the woman should have signed anything she did not understand, and she clearly did not understand the form (or forms) being presented to her. Police are allowed to lie when they investigate. I know that the woman was not being tricked into signing a confession because I am a fairly sophisticated guy. The woman who refused to sign really had no way of knowing that and was correct to refuse to sign a form she did not and could not understand. As police keep electroshocking people for refusal to sign, look for this “crime” to go away in other states, just like it did in Washington.

    FOOTNOTE:

    * Plaintiff disputed this “fact.”

  65. Nothing in ANY OF THE REPORTS indicates that she informed the officers that she was pregnant.

    I don’t know whether you mean police reports or media accounts, but she did inform the police that she was pregnant.

  66. It wasn’t even the officer who made the stop who made the call to place her under arrest. It was the sergeant, Sergeant SDaman

    Way to go Duh, thanks a lot :)

    Bdaman

  67. By the way, the appropriate way to refuse to sign is to review the document and to say that you cannot understand what it means and that you cannot determine whether it is the document the law requires you to sign. If this is true, then there will not be mens rea for the crime of refusal to sign.

    Or better yet, take a piece of paper and write down:

    Date
    I promise to appear and/or respond to any tickets from this traffic stop.
    /signature/

    Then hand that to the popo. That way it will be clear that you were willing to sign the document except for the fact that you did not understand it.

    You may end up being arrested, but you can then sue the police department for false arrest and get the law overturned in your jurisdiction as being an unConstitutional infringement of the right not to testify against yourself. It can never be Constitutional to legally require a person to sign a document that they do not understand. A lot of states have unConstitutional law like this (thanks, FOP!) which screams out the need for overturning, but you have to do it correctly.

  68. Tasers should be outlawed. Are these cops and the court actually telling us that the cops would have shot the woman instead?

    Because this is the story we get from law enforcement about why the taser is justified (it is supposed to lesson the use of guns).

    It seems to me that if American soldiers don’t have to obey immoral or illegal orders, cops shouldn’t have to either.

    Obviously, they have to be told they don’t have to, or else they will continue to act like cops in communist countries. I.E.: barbarians

  69. Duh:
    You have clearly demonstrated, by your arguments and demeanor, that you have no business living in a free republic of your peers.

    This country managed to get along perfectly well for over 150 years until tax-feeding parasites co-opted the legal process to make their pensions guaranteed by the revenue forcibly extracted from the sweat of the productive classes in a state-sanctioned rent-seeking scam.

    Law is a paradox: good people don’t need it, bad people won’t follow it. This is well known by those who rule us .. so, since they create, fund, and militarize “public safety” organizations it follows that the real purpose of “law enforcement” must be a lie, its true purpose being to dictate behavior, enforce compliance, and condition the mundanes to tolerate mandatory compliance to totalitarian control.

    Your vaunted “public servants” are allowed to exist for one reason only: they represent a very profitable revenue engine … justice has nothing whatsoever to do with what cops do, day-to-day.

    remember: the nuremberg tribunal held a very dim view of the nazi who defended his actions by saying: “I was just following orders.”

  70. […] Jonathan Turley: The United States Court of Appeals has ruled that three Seattle police officers were justified when they tasered a pregnant mother three times when she refused to sign a traffic ticket. Malaika Brooks was driving her son to Seattle’s African American Academy in 2004 when she was stopped for doing 32 mph in a school zone. When she refused to get out of her car to be arrested, one officer tasered her repeatedly despite (she claims) knowing that she was pregnant. […]

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