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Court: Seattle police OK to stun pregnant woman
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Posted 2010-03-27, 03:39 AM
By GENE JOHNSON (AP) – 10 hours ago

SEATTLE — Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant mother who refused to sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a case that prompted an incredulous dissent.

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. She insisted it was the car in front of her that was speeding, and refused to sign the ticket because she thought she'd be admitting guilt.

Rather than give her the ticket and let her go on her way, the officers decided to arrest her. One reached in, turned off her car and dropped the keys on the floor. Brooks stiffened her arms against the steering wheel and told the officers she was pregnant, but refused to get out, even after they threatened to stun her.

The officers — Sgt. Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas and Officer Donald Jones — then stunned her three times, in the thigh, shoulder and neck, and hauled her out of the car, laying her face-down in the street.

Brooks gave birth to a healthy baby two months later, but has permanent scars from the Taser. She sued the officers for violating her constitutional rights, and U.S. District Judge Richard Jones allowed the case to continue. He declined to grant the officers immunity for performing their official duties and said Brooks' rights were clearly violated.

But in a 2-1 ruling Friday, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall and Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain held that the officers were justified in making an arrest because Brooks was obstructing them and resisting arrest.

The use of force was also justified because of the threat Brooks posed, Hall wrote: "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."

They also noted that the force used wasn't that serious because the Taser was in "touch" mode rather than "dart" mode, which hurts more. They reversed the lower court's opinion and held that the officers were entitled to immunity from the lawsuit.

The officers' lawyers, Ted Buck and Karen Cobb, said the officers made the right decision under the circumstances they faced.

"Police officers have to have the ability to compel people to obey their lawful orders," Buck said. That's all the court recognized today. The 9th Circuit just applied the law instead of getting caught up in the otherwise unfortunate factual circumstances."

The majority's opinion outraged Judge Marsha Berzon, who called it "off the wall."

"I fail utterly to comprehend how my colleagues are able to conclude that it was objectively reasonable to use any force against Brooks, let alone three activations of a Taser, in response to such a trivial offense," she wrote.

She argued that under Washington law, the officers had no authority to take Brooks into custody: Failure to sign a traffic infraction is not an arrestable offense, and it's not illegal to resist an unlawful arrest.

Berzon said the majority's notion that Brooks obstructed officers was so far-fetched that even the officers themselves didn't make that legal argument. To obstruct an officer, one must obstruct the officer's official duties, and the officers' only duties in this case were to detain Brooks long enough to identify her, check for warrants, write up the citation and give it to her. Brooks' failure to sign did not interfere with those duties, she said.

Furthermore, Brooks posed no apparent threat, and the officers could not have known how stunning her would affect the fetus, or whether it might prompt premature labor — another reason their actions were inexcusable, Berzon said.

Brooks' lawyer, Eric Zubel, said he would ask the 9th Circuit to rehear the case.

"This is outrageous — that something like this could happen to a pregnant woman, in front of an elementary school, at 8:30 in the morning, to someone who posed no threat whatsoever," he said.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...PzQ7wD9EMJ3HG0
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Posted 2010-03-27, 03:43 AM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post "Court: Seattle police OK to stun..."
I think it's ridiculous beyond belief that the 9th US Circuit Court ruled 2-1 that the cops were justified to thrice taser a pregnant woman who was nonviolently resisting an unlawful arrest.

Quote:
She argued that under Washington law, the officers had no authority to take Brooks into custody: Failure to sign a traffic infraction is not an arrestable offense, and it's not illegal to resist an unlawful arrest.
This is the key right here. You better learn, citizen. This is what happens when you resist unlawful arrest. Welcome to Soviet Russia.
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Posted 2010-03-27, 11:51 AM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post "Court: Seattle police OK to stun..."
This is a frighteningly bad ruling.
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Posted 2010-03-27, 12:53 PM in reply to Grav's post starting "This is a frighteningly bad ruling."
Hats off to the 9th US Circus Court.
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Posted 2010-03-27, 08:30 PM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post "Court: Seattle police OK to stun..."
Looks like justice is dead. Then again, she has been for a while.
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Posted 2010-03-28, 01:51 AM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post starting "I think it's ridiculous beyond belief..."
I find it rediculous that they can't arrest her if she refuses to agree to appear in court for the traffic citation. In Texas, if you don't sign your ticket, you get to wait for your hearing in jail.
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Posted 2010-03-28, 02:22 AM in reply to WetWired's post starting "I find it rediculous that they can't..."
They can't arrest her on the spot. She was given the citation, and if she failed to appear in court, a warrant would be put out for her arrest. That's how it works. Or at least, how it's supposed to work. Whether or not that's the best way is irrelevant.
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Posted 2010-03-29, 09:53 AM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post starting "They can't arrest her on the spot. She..."
!King_Amazon! said: [Goto]
They can't arrest her on the spot. She was given the citation, and if she failed to appear in court, a warrant would be put out for her arrest. That's how it works. Or at least, how it's supposed to work. Whether or not that's the best way is irrelevant.
This.

absurd article k_a thanks for posting. We have a corporate controlled police state, that's how it works mkay?














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!King_Amazon!: I talked to him while he was getting raped
[quote][16:04] jamer123: GRRR firefox just like quit on me now on internet exploder[quote]
...
[quote=!King_Amazon!]notices he's 3 inches shorter than her son and he's circumcised [quote]
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Posted 2010-03-30, 12:24 PM in reply to D3V's post starting "This. absurd article k_a thanks for..."
D3V said: [Goto]
This.

absurd article k_a thanks for posting. We have a corporate controlled police state, that's how it works mkay?
In America, woman takes a justifiable shot at cop.

In Soviet Russia, cop takes unjustifiable shot at woman!
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Posted 2010-03-30, 01:08 PM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "In America, woman takes a justifiable..."
In Soviet Russia, Zelaron posts on you!
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Posted 2010-03-30, 01:34 PM in reply to D3V's post starting "This. absurd article k_a thanks for..."
D3V said: [Goto]
This.

absurd article k_a thanks for posting. We have a corporate controlled police state, that's how it works mkay?
In America, Corporation controls police. In soviet Russia, police control corporation!
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Posted 2010-03-30, 02:31 PM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "In America, Corporation controls..."
In democratic America, you engage in activites!
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Posted 2010-03-30, 03:07 PM in reply to Skurai's post starting "In democratic America, you engage in..."
Gotta love spam.
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Posted 2010-03-30, 04:45 PM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "In America, Corporation controls..."
Demosthenes said: [Goto]
In America, Corporation controls police. In soviet Russia, police control corporation!
GOD
DAMN
RUSSIANSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

sad but true.














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!King_Amazon!: I talked to him while he was getting raped
[quote][16:04] jamer123: GRRR firefox just like quit on me now on internet exploder[quote]
...
[quote=!King_Amazon!]notices he's 3 inches shorter than her son and he's circumcised [quote]
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Posted 2010-03-30, 08:09 PM in reply to D3V's post starting "GOD DAMN RUSSIANSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS ..."
No brainer here. I love to shock me some fetuses.
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