Portland: A Citizen Can Be Handcuffed, Locked Into Car, And Driven To A Different Location But Still Not Be “Under Arrest”

220px-Don't_jay_walk_1937The Portland police and City Attorney are making an argument in federal court this month that gives another glimpse into the increasing claims of authority of police in our society. Scott Miller was stopped for jaywalking by Officer Dean Halley in 2010 and admitted that he committed the common violation of pedestrians. The officer however proceeded to handcuff him, tell him “you’re under arrest,” throw him into the back of a cruiser and then drove him a block away. He was in custody for about 30 minutes, but Deputy City Attorney William Manlove is arguing that citizens cannot sue because such acts do not constitute an actual arrest. They are something between a chat and custody, but not an arrest for purposes of legal action.

So, according to Portland, this constitutes just being detained and is effectively beyond any challenge of a citizen. In other words, police can routinely handcuff citizens, lock them in a police car and even tell them that they are under arrest without being subject to accountability for wrongful arrests.

Deputy City Attorney William Manlove insists that when Miller briefly jaywalked one morning while trying to catch a bus, he could be detained and handcuffed but not treated as an arrested person despite the express statement of the officer. It is an argument that would allow officers virtually unchecked authority in handcuffing citizens and holding them. It is the perfect authoritarian loophole and the city Portland wants to help establish it for future cases.

We have come to this ignoble moment due to the continued passivity of the Supreme Court in the face of rising police powers in America. Portland hopes to expand on a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Virginia v. Moore, where Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for a seven justice majority that it did not matter that a man was arrested for a crime that was a non-arrestable misdemeanor (of driving with a suspended license) in Virginia. The police could make the arrest for the non-arrestable offense and then use that arrest to search his car “incident to arrest” because they had probable cause for a crime. That still does not mean that police can now cuff, hold, and transport citizens without being held to the standard of an arrest. Notably, driving with a suspended license is still a crime — a misdemeanor — in Virginia where jaywalking is only a “violation” and not a crime.

His counsel also notes that the officer cited Miller’s failure to produce identification though he gave Miller only a second to produce his “papers.”

The fact that a relatively liberal jurisdiction like Portland is trying to establish such precedent is chilling and shows (as with the Obama Administration) that the shift toward police power is being supported by both parties. It is the perfect scene for a new America: an officer demanding a citizen’s paper and then cuffing him and throwing him into a car — only to claim later that the citizen has no basis to complain.

61 thoughts on “Portland: A Citizen Can Be Handcuffed, Locked Into Car, And Driven To A Different Location But Still Not Be “Under Arrest”

  1. Why is jaywalking seen as such a crime by US police? In the rest of the world, they just don’t care, and millions of pedestrians cross the street without any harm or accident. To me it seems like a petty use of expressing their authority.

    • WrldVoyagr wrote: “Why is jaywalking seen as such a crime by US police? In the rest of the world, they just don’t care, and millions of pedestrians cross the street without any harm or accident.”

      It is not just in the U.S. I was in Singapore last month. There you can get up to three months in prison for Jaywalking.

      The truth is that in the U.S., millions do cross the street without anyone caring. It is only in those few situations where a local authority does stuff like this and abuses authority. Even when there are Jaywalking laws, most of the time they are ignored here in the U.S.

      For the most part people can sit in a park undisturbed, but I know one man who spent 5 days in jail for sitting on a park bench at 10:15 pm because a new local ordinance closed the part after 10pm and this man did not notice the newly erected signs erected that indicated the park hours. If he had been a respectable businessman dressed in a nice suit, he probably would have been given a warning, but he was poor. They seem to love abusing the poor.

  2. @laserhaas, so, hey instead of clogging up the blogosphere with yadda, yadda are YOU willing to join the many, who for obvious reasons, don’t see the sense in what amounts to a one-man revolt. we can talk all day long, but timing is everything. i too see the need for self defense against rogue authority…but if on monday, i decide to put an end to to it, and i tell you,hoping for a little support (lets be real, I ALONE cannot hope to succeed) but alas! you have other life plans on monday that simply cannot be dismissed…where does that leave me and my plans for a better america? what..you want that i wait until tuesday, when its more convenient? well, that would be nice, in a perfect world, but on tuesday, guess what? the feds have a “drill” planned, yeah that’s right one of their drills, that lo and behold will put an end to all dissent. so,
    maybe that is why it is so easy to TALK about it and goad others into making a move they would not make if thought out just a bit. i mean, we all agree we need to wake up and do something…history herself DEMANDS a response. why do you think we have all this evidence from past centuries? just so we can do a better, perhaps more permanent job of it this time?
    when, laserhaas? when? today, tomorrow? what time? how do we plan without our sworn enemy knowing? how do i know you are not one of them?
    its all talk, isn’t it? we should have done something after JFK, if not then, after vietnam.
    but, no somehow, in a game of randomness that has fluidity instead of fixed rules….NOW appears to be the time when we should really look around and get a clue. those other times, were they practice or a warning?

  3. Supreme Court passivity? This court is the most activist pro-corporate, anti-equality, anti-freedom ever. These people are NOT passive, they’re on a mission.

  4. aelfric;

    Your banter to stop at “[Laser] has other life plans”.

    I’m here on this (and many, many other) blogs as time permits, seeking out the disenfranchised, the activists, non-conformists – Mad as Hell and Can’t Take it Anymore persons.

    Under the premise that We Must Unite.

    Occupy WS clearly shows that the spirit (and sometimes the flesh) is willing. They, however, didn’t have a “plan” (other than the one of not having a plan). Sort of like PCU movie = “We’re Not Gonna Protest” protesters.

    My plan of action is to work with others (including you – if you so wish) to form a network. When the MN corrupt federal courts colluded withe MN press (so strongly that the Star Tribune was put into bankruptcy while the paper was refunding monies to advertisers it said it didn’t need) – we went to the court hearing from all across the country. (Where the court was ruling on a deal that stipulated the Mandatory Victims REstitution Act “MVRA” – would NOT apply in Petters case).

    So a bunch of U.S. (including the man who ran for Governor of MN) put on ACT4 Justice (America Citizens Together 4 Justice) T shirts and stood outside the court shaking our fists, taking pictures of the protest – until we were run off.

    If you need help – in a “specific” plan of action. I will gladly provide what time I can, as often as a I can. If you get a copy of the new book “Presidential Puppetry” pages 230 & 231 tell you that though I’m fighting Romney – I do try to assist others (and have moved into homes to help fight kids beating up elders and others being wrongfully evicted).

    Meanwhile, others are dead and they tried to kill an eToys shareholder (Robert Alber of Kingman, AZ) – who joined me. Even though I do not particularly like Alber – I owe him my time because he joined me (though we were both looking to get back what was stolen from us by Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital and Romney).

    I’ve not seen my grandkids ever, after my daughter was abducted on my birthday in 2004 and my daughters believe I’ve abandoned the family.

    Not trying to making you feel guilty – just pointing out that you are barking at the wrong dog….

  5. By the way, we are NOT alone.

    There are others working behind the scenes with me – to halt bad faith.

    You’d be surprised how accomplished, high up and influential some of them are. But, they too, are suffering from the post traumatic stress disorder that Therapist Karin Huffer has coined the phrase of as

    Legal Abuse Syndrome.

    When people realize how truly ebol the world is around them, it is very disheartening and even depresses most people greatly.

    People are good and want to go behind U.S.

    If we get together and have some wins – They Will Unite….

  6. Have you noticed how the police now dress for the response they know they should expect, and not the one they receive from citizens?

  7. Plain and simple just like our nation declared independence from the king, we now need to ALL declare independence from our own government! It has become too powerful with not enough checks or balances! And as our Declaration Of Independence states we have a right better yet it is our duty to do so when the necessary time arises! I say to all is now not the time to change something that is 400 yrs+ and built to keep the POWER OVER ALL in the HANDS OF A FEW! This is injustice and as long as things remain the same there will never be justice or equality in this country….EVER!!!!

  8. GANT V. ARIZONA 2009 – look it up. The Supreme court already decided this issue & it is a crime for law enforcement to detain or arrest without probable cause. Especially when it comes to vehicle searches & illegal detention..

  9. The Supreme Court long ago ruled that it is lawful to defend yourself against unwarranted arrest, even to the point of killing the police officer.
    And what will happen when the people rightly refuse to tolerate such behavior and resist as is their right?

  10. one with purpose;

    We have the right to throw the bums out perverting out Government;
    even though it is an arduous task.

    But we have no right to seek independence thereof……

    Such is a much more slippery slope…..

  11. You control  a blog based off content aggregation. I control legacies and the way men will be known for their futures in a game where they do not want to be known as for nothing other than good (public servants).I have this control based on Black & White and the PUBLIC relation.Twitter it. The vampires are getting light.

  12. AND LOOK AT ALL THE AMERICAN SHEEPLE TAKE THIS LYING DOWN LIKE ITS LOGICAL OR EVEN NORMAL….WAKE THE F UP AMERICA, YOU HAVE BEEN INFILTRATED, is it NOTOBVIOUS??????????????????????? Do you really think that a gov’t for the people acts like this, does anythig in the govn’t seem normal in the last 13 years?? It’s been much longer but since some people woke up after the US govn’t /israel attack on teh twin towers, but too many sheeple are still sleeping, so lets wait for everyoe to eake up so we can have enough people to fight back…BUT NO TIME! TIMe IS UP PEOPLE…GAME OVER! And to those of you who could not figure out in all of these years that your “govn’t” was no longer your govn’t and are terrorist’s who have infiltrated your govn’t and Kennedy tried to stop, and bush bent over for and made money and a place in the future, unlike most of us, you morons should go to FEMA CAMPS FIRST! And to theose of you who are simply cowards or told people like me that we were crazy…..GO TO HELL, oh wait you will, it’s called FEMA!

  13. This is disturbing because for practical purposes, a citizen is arrested. However, to avoid legal liability they want to treat him/her as not arrested. That’s another way of saying, “Hey, we are arresting you but you can’t arrest us for wrongful arrest.”

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