This video shows a confrontation between a couple in Cotati, California and police after the police were called to investigate a domestic violence complaint. The couple tells the police that they were simply yelling in an argument and refused to allow the police to enter without a warrant. The police respond by kicking down the door and tasering the couple.
In defense of the police, it is not clear if they can actually see the couple, particularly the wife. In a case of possible domestic abuse, police need to see the occupants to ensure that someone is not being or has been beaten. If the police were to simply leave based on verbal responses, there could be a victim found later who was unable to break free or seek help. I can understand the reluctance of the police to leave the scene without a visual on the couple. However, they could have sought a telephonic warrant.
Despite the compelling concern over the safety of occupants, there remains the question of whether the police can break down the door based on what they have been told and more importantly whether tasering was necessary simply because the couple was refusing to lay on the ground.
Police can enter a home without a warrant under “exigent circumstances” where there is a reasonable belief that there is an immediate need to protect their lives or the lives of others. Here the couple both respond to the police and demand a warrant as a precondition for entry. There is no allegation of a report of actual violence as opposed to yelling. The police are clearly suggesting that the suspicious conduct led them to be concerned for the safety of the couple, particularly the woman.
The police demand to know why the couple will not come out, though citizens are allowed to remain in their homes absent a lawful demand to exit the home. The woman is tased first and then the man. I fail to see the reasonable basis for the taser. They are clearly not obeying commands but they do not appear to be threatening the officers. As we have discussed before, tasers appear to be used increasingly in response to citizens who simply do not follow the orders of police.
What do you think about the entry and force shown in this video?
137 thoughts on “Couple Refuses To Allow Police To Enter Home Without Warrant . . . Police Kick Down Door and Taser Couple”
I wonder if the couple would have even be so concerned about the police coming in if this situation weren’t so common in the first place. This video makes me feel like a fool, like i have been lied to by the people supposed to be teaching and protecting us. These a**h*les need to learn how to have an adult conversation instead of simply imposing their will by any means necessary. We are not the enemy of the police! We are their fellow countrymen, neighbors, relative and friends and sometimes when we are weak and insecure we yell at our spouses. If your not human enough to understand these elements and keep the situation from escalating, then you simply shouldn’t be a cop.
Us as Americans need to start standing up. WE need to tell the law what’s right and wrong. WE need to set the bar and draw the line. They are supposed to serve and protect, it’s getting worse and worse.. Now is the time WE go to the board meetings, protest, and make change…
I hope the next cops who pull this crap are killed where they stand
People asked if there was followup of this story. There was. The jury hung 6:6. Source: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140128/articles/140129552
I read the whole thread, and while I personally fully side with Gene H’s arguments, the problem is that all this clever discussion, with precedents, legal definitions, etc etc., might be relevant for the appellate court, but not for the street cops. The fact that very large part of commenters side with the cops (and if you check the discussion at the link I cited above, as well as many other publications of this story, you will find that it’s in fact the majority), and find that the mere theoretical possibility of the violence, not supported by anything, qualifies as exigency (“what if there’s dying victim in that room right now? we must help him!”), it means that this is “grey area”, and, absent very clear precedents*, whenever there was any report of anything at all, the cops can do anything they want, and get away with it. And if so, powerful incentives come into play, in the form of womens’ lobbies that demand from the police to curb domestic violence.
*) In fact, the precedents do exist, but apparently not enough.
“Defendant argues — and we agree — “there is no ‘domestic violence’ exception to the Fourth Amendment.” See United States v. Black, 482 F.3d 1035, 1040 (9th Cir. 2007) (“we have stopped short of holding that ‘domestic abuse cases create a per se exigent need for warrantless entry'”) (quoting Brooks, 367 F.3d at 1136); United States v. Davis, 290 F.3d 1239, 1244 (10th Cir. 2002) (declining to “grant unfettered permission to officers to enter homes, based only upon a general assumption domestic calls are always dangerous”)
I was on the receiving end of police brutality, and I went downstairs to let them in……
After screaming at me, beating me, smashing my head in the wall, falsifying charges, taking me to jail half-naked, procuring some extra charges, and not discovering one shred of evidence of domestic abuse……(I wasn’t charged with any domestic crime), I spent several thousand dollars undoing the damage. Days later, I was black and blue, sore, and pissed.
It took seven years to finally resolve the incident. The cop who did the principal beating got promoted, and in the resulting civil action the city’s attorney managed to get the charges dismissed on a technically….. despite taking it all the way to the state supreme court. (Even in the official transcript, they sound like the heroes and I’m a criminal and a liar).
….he could’ve simply had a conversation, but he never bothered to ask. My wife begged and pleaded with them to stop beating me, said you’ve made a mistake, over and over again. They tried to play good cop bad cop, and bullied her in another room. Even my placid, easy-going lab, who loves people growled at them.
They acted like Nazi Storm Troopers, never said one polite word…… just charged in swinging…….
I have no sympathy for this behavior, will never again, knowingly help the police, and believe they are out of control……
(a good female friend of mine, was sitting in her car in the park, with her kids, when the cops showed up, surrounded the car and pointed guns at an 8 and 11 year-old!)
I am waiting for the day I am expected to be a good citizen…..
At 3 am I was asleep in my bed, by 4:30 am, I was in a jail cell with 30 other people….. I was refused medical attention, despite several requests……
the Cop….. he got promoted all the way up to Major…… till he got caught screwing another Cop’s wife in his squad car and his office….. they still didn’t fire him….. apparently this had been going on for two years…….
They don’t give a shit if you’re polite, compliant in taking your beating, quote your constitutional rights…… in fact, if you fight back they just up the ante with the SWAT team……
I asked my attorney, if I had refused to let them in, what would’ve happened….. he shrugged, and said, “I don’t know”, I honestly don’t know……
After the beating and subsequent acquittal of the cops who took delight in beating a homeless man…… it’s amazing to me people aren’t taking the law into their own hands…… they will and should get what they deserve……
I hope it never happens to you
A taser is a deadly weapon because it is known to kill. The Law Enforcement Offender can not justify using it because of what the manufacturer claims. …. Send a message to Leos everywhere and award a large punitive damage award here.”
not sure if your objection here is to Tasers at all – even when used against criminals or just their use in these circs. A baton can kill in the wrong circs as can pepper spray. I don’t advocate willy nilly use of tasers but there are clearly violent people in situations where shooting the person with a lead bullet is not correct but where they need to be controlled to be arrested
I would have shotgunned their heads off as they entered. I would most likely have died in the act, however knowing I killed half of them would have left me dying with great satisfaction.
As a Christian working in LE in the UK, I think its rather sad that with your sign in name you think that killing other people gives satisfaction – isn’t that what Islamic suicide bombers think when they kill your and my country’s soldiers
i think the residents would have been completely within their rights it they had shot the police dead.
only if you don’t know the meaning of the words ‘proportionate’,, ‘reasonable’ etc
The Bible says police will be the new thugs.
Really – it says the authorities carry the sword for a reason. Given that a number of police officers in both the USA and UK are Christians, this seems a very strange claim – I know some strange people in the USA think that law enforcement officers are some kind of agents of evil.
The latest: http://www.petaluma360.com/article/20131224/ARTICLES/131229766/1036/WIRE?Title=Judge-Police-right-to-enter-Cotati-home-of-man-shot-with-stun-gun
someone brought up:
BRIGHAM CITY, UTAH v. STUART et al.
this case has nothing to do with this case… this is why:
“In this case we consider whether police may enter a home without a warrant when they have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an occupant is seriously injured or imminently threatened with such injury.”
clearly this just routes back to the main arguement which is that the woman and the man were clearly not injured and were in no imminent danger of becoming injured.
OK,we have many opinions on this subject but I have yet to see, or hear, the result. It has been 6 months; what’s happening ?
I think the cops kicking in my door would have see the barrel of a shotgun with orders telling them to get the hell out of my house and off my property! America is turning into a damn police state where the rights of the citizens no longer exist. Di the call come from someone with in the home? No so there for the police do not have probable cause to enter the home let alone kick in the door and taze them. The call came from a neighbor would over heard yelling. Unless they saw a violent act and reported that the police should have no reason to enter the home. Police have taken it to far to many times. Just yesterday on US 301 in Fayetteville I was next to two State Troopers Racing each other and cutting up laughing while they were doing it. Do you think I called it in with their location and car number? HELL YES I DID. Do you think a damn thing happened? Hell no!
Thank you sam and especially gene! Its because of people like you that there is still a small hope for our country. Half of us still value liberty.
Keep up the good work! We are all counting on your vigilance. I will be here too fighting for freedom! You are not alone in your fight! Always remember that. We are many.
Send those police to jail
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