Utah Man ‘Stunned’ Over Speeding Ticket (Or, Respekt Mah Authoritay! The Policeman Said)

by matttbastard

Via Radley Balko and pale: another day, another video involving the discharge of an electronic control deviceSM®OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1:

Five double yews here, more from Digby [edit: h/t Mandos] and Libby Spencer. Is it really a good idea to give trigger happy law enforcement officials carte blanche just because the phallic icon in question is purportedly ‘non-lethal’ (ahem)?

Frank Frink in comments @ ACR nails it:

I can’t see how this situation (refusing to sign a traffic ticket) would merit the use of a gun or a baton. It’s another use of a taser for sake of convenience and compliance rather than it’s actual intended use. Being ‘mouthy’ means it’s OK to be tasered? Not going to convince me of that.

The other thing that bothers me, and much in the same way as with Mr. Dziekanski and the Jama Jama case in Toronto, is law enforcement’s seeming indifference to investigating things unless you shame them into it by either catching them on film or in Mr. Massey’s case, using access laws to get a copy of what they film and then posting it.

In Mr. [Dziekanski’s] case absolutely nothing would have been done or said further about it if Mr. Pritchard had not caught it on video. In Mr. Massey’s case?

We’ve known about the incident since it occurred,” Cameron Roden, a spokesman for the Utah Highway Patrol, told ABC News. “But with it coming out on the Internet, we’re trying to move the investigation along.”

Oh, and another day, another death wholly and entirely unrelated to the victim being jolted with a life-protecting electronic control deviceSM®OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1 Luckily for Halifax City Police, this lethal incident wasn’t caught on video, meaning they can pretty much make shit up with impunity let the facts speak for themselves. Bring on the full departmental review and RCMP investigation!

We can has investigations!

Related: Alison gets letters! Fuck life; apparently the primary corporate concern is protection of intellectual property (and calming nervous investors). So affirming to see that TASER International has its priorities straight.

Update: TASER International cares so much about product safety that it wants to participate in a recently announced review by Paul Kennedy, head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, of “all RCMP protocols on the use of CEDs (conducted electrical devices).” The investigation will also “assess the compliance of the RCMP with these protocols.” Apparently TASER co-founder and chairman Tom Smith didn’t get the official grammar memo:

“I have been Tasered myself. I have Tasered my brother.”

Thanksgiving in the Smith household must be a real jolt.

(h/t ReWind.It)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

18 thoughts on “Utah Man ‘Stunned’ Over Speeding Ticket (Or, Respekt Mah Authoritay! The Policeman Said)

  1. Is it bad that I burst out laughing when I read:

    “I have been Tasered myself. I have Tasered my brother.”

    I think this means I’m going to hell…

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  2. Oh, hell! I’ve been tasered, too. Back in the 70s they were cattle prods, used to move cattle along. Someone brought it to school one day. We tasered each other, not having a freaking clue what we were doing!

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  3. Daev: We are all going to hell (I also laughed).

    ;-)

    pnp: Haha I have vague memories of someone doing the same thing at my rural elementary school (not to me, thankfully.)

    Btw, assuming y’all haven’t already, I recommend watching the Canada AM video–the context of the interview is in regards to TASER International promoting the use of its electronic control devices™SM®OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1 by private citizens.

    Ah, the joys of living in an insecure market-based society. “Don’t tase me, bro”, indeed.

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  4. It is against the law to refuse to sign a traffic ticket. When you sign a traffic ticket, you are NOT admitting that you did anything wrong, you are agreeing to take care of the ticket. You agree to appear in court or otherwise settle with the COURT SYSTEM. BUT, when you refuse to comply with a the law that you MUST sign the ticket, you go to jail. That is the LAW. The Officer did not write the LAW, he enforced it. Doesn’t matter if one likes it or not, it is the LAW. Had the man signed the speeding ticket, he would have gone on his way and settled up with a Court of LAW down the line. He would have had no problem except a ding on his insurance. Which he brought on himself by speeding. However, he refused to sign, disobeyed a lawful order from a police officer and at that point he was going to jail. When he walked toward his car, was he going to get a gun and shoot the officer? IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY IN THIS COUNTRY. Does the officer know that he doesn’t have a gun? No. What the officer DOES know is this man has chosen to defy the law and has moved himself out of the law abiding citizen group, into the law breaking citizen group. VERY SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND. The officer could have used his baton, or physical force on the LAW BREAKER. The man brought the action that occurred down on himself because the minute he broke the law by a refusal to sign the ticket and turned away and walked toward his vehicle, he became a possible threat to the Officers life. Would the folks on U Tube preferred that the officer strike the man with his baton until he submitted or perhaps they would have preferred a physical confrontation… where the man was subdued with a variety of techniques taught in Police Academies? Using the Taser was the tidiest solution. The man undoubtedly felt much better a few hours after getting Tasered than the other choices open to the officer. In fact, fighting an Law Officer and making him fear for his life is justification for the Police Officer to shoot the man. Actually, probably some of the people looking at U Tube would be thrilled with that outcome. In point of fact Law Officers who work a car alone are at great risk each and every time they stop a vehicle whos driver has ALREADY BROKEN THE LAW. They have no idea who is in that car, what they might have already done. A Law Officers first duty is to stay alive and go home at night to his family. Why should an officer have to approach or physically contact a LAW BREAKER? Why should he risk getting shot, stabbed, contracting a disease or EVEN getting his uniform dirty or torn… for which he would have to foot the bill. Fools who want to scream their heads off about the police only want to do it until they need a police officer. It would be interesting if all the police officers in the country went on strike for a month or so. Would be very educational for the general public. I got a “Ran a Red Light” ticket a year ago. NEVER occurred to me to refuse to sign the ticket. I knew I would go to court over it and deal with the judge. I didn’t get Tasered either, think their might have been a connection between MY behavior and the Officers behavior? There is a considerable portion of the population of America that needs to stop watching TV, Movies, playing violent video games and watching U Tube and just grow up.

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  5. Pauline, its not against the law to refuse to sign.. read this:

    Under Utah law, when a motorist refuses to sign a ticket, a police officer can do things the easy way, or the hard way. He can make an arrest and jail the offender, or he can simply write “refused to sign” on the dotted line. Either way, the motorist has to pay the fine or show up in court to fight the ticket. Either way, justice will be served.
    The law needs to be changed to prevent these needless confrontations. Nobody should be taken into custody for a traffic violation. It’s a waste of a trooper’s time, and the taxpayers’ money. Where possible, police should be made to do things the easy way.

    http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_7544654

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  6. Nice rant, Pauline. Your point (if it isn’t bootlicking)?

    Seems to me your point is that the system is so far gone you’d vigorously advocate bootlicking.

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  7. Bootlicking…burning ghettos (after all, everyone knows that all that goes on there is illegal and illicit activity anyways, so wouldn’t it just be best to get rid of the whole damn thing at once???)…or how about we recruit our children and put them in little uniforms to ride their 10speeds around to enforce senseless shit in the same manner (i know plenty of youth who have the same, if not better, reasoning skills as this cop showed and would be more than willing to carry a tazer gun with them to do it)…BETTER YET!!! Lets all just grab our ankles and allow all Federal, State and local authorities to shove that beloved cow prod up our asses, forcing us to puke up each and every civil liberty one by one…yeah, I’m thinking that last ones sounds best Pauline.

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  8. The number of mindless idiots in this country baffles the mind. Pauline is right on mark. The bottom line is, if the idiot would have done what the patrolman patiently told him to do, he would not have gotten tazed. Go ahead, join the ranks of the liberal ‘they owe me the world morons’, and you are sure to get a zap of juice as you defy law enforcement in the belief that you have no obligation to abide by the rules of law and society. Rodney King…they didn’t hit him enough. Put your butt on the line like law enforcement does, and then tell me how brutal they are. Spend some time ‘protecting and serving’ while crack-heads target you for gang approval or seemingly harmless drunk ladies suddenly pull out a gun and shoot an officer in the process of a traffic stop, and then I’ll listen to your pathetic complaining. ZAP EM’ IF THEY DON”T LISTEN THE FIRST TIME!!

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  9. If the officer was concerned for his own safety …..
    He Sure screwed the pooch on a NUMBER of Levels !
    Keeping the wife in the truck where he could NOT see her actions and turning his back to her while doing so… for One !
    Putting himself between his car and the stopped truck where if another car rearended his car he would be crushed like a bug.
    Zapping the “Suspect” and letting him lay close, if not in an open lane of traffic.
    I could go on…..
    I have a brother thats an LEO, and his comments were not kind for this officer.
    Basically said “Over zealous Rookie !”
    This officer went over the line, and its an officers 1st duty to try to diffuse situations like this… NOT escalate them !

    Yes officers face unknown danger everyday, and they have a right to protect themselves…. BUT…
    Seeing as the Law allows for the offending driver to NOT sign the ticket, the officer pushed the issue to where it could have put himself in a bad way.
    Picture this…..
    The Man DOES have a gun under the seat…. the Officer lets him not sign… Man drives away, still getting the violation.
    OR…..
    The officer pushes it as he did, Man or WIFE get gun and shoot officer as they feel threatened.
    Could go either way !

    All those that say….. “Well the Driver deserved it !”…. You’ll change your tune when its you or your wife that get similar treatment !

    I have a friend that was damn near shot over mistaken identity because he did not get out of the car fast enough……

    Anyways………………..

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  10. Funny thing, Budds, is the cop in question is anything but a rookie LEO. Fourteen year veteran of the UHP. It’s true, oh yes it’s true.

    Sure acted like a rookie, though.

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  11. @”Zapping the “Suspect” and letting him lay close, if not in an open lane of traffic.” by Budds –

    Exactly what I thought off the first time I watched. For all those who say police guy did it all right: check the end when he talk to the other cop. He says sth like: “i told him to turn around or i taze you”. He never did. He told the guy to get off the car, move to patrol car, then move back and turn around. With cars passing by. He didn’t say: you are under arrest.

    @ Comments on signing the ticket – they guy said he wouldn’t sign until cop tells him what kind of ticket is this and how fast was he driving. Watch again and listen to the conversation.

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  12. I just saw on TV that the guy that was lasered when he disobeyed a lawful order by one of our needed and great highway patrolman received $40,000!!!!!!!!!!!! If any thing, he should have been put in jail for that offense. I know that I would not dare disobey a highway patrol officer, regardless of whether I thought that the officer was right or wrong. You just don’t do that.

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  13. Pauline has a piece of this, and Budds has another. Both are at least partly right.

    Most people who are pulled over for speeding are thinking one of two things. Either, “Rats, he caught me, I wonder if I can talk my way out of this”, or “What the hey…I wasn’t speeding!?” And any cop who works in traffic enforcement deals with this every day.

    It’s human nature to argue when you think you’re getting screwed, but you’re not going to get out of a ticket by arguing with a cop. And cops deal with that every day, too, and there are many ways to quickly defuse that arguement. “Sir, I’m writing you a ticket because I observed you exceeding the speed limit. I’m not going to waste your time arguing over it because no matter what you say, I’m still going to submit that ticket to the court. If you don’t think you were speeding, the proper place to make your case is in traffic court…if you choose to do that, you can explain things to the judge there.”

    And that ends 95% of the type of crap Mr. Massey was trying to give him. In Utah, that was all that was needed…he could have just written “refused to sign” and been done with it.

    But supposing that in Utah, like some other states required the offender to sign, the response to “I’m not signing anything…” is, “Sir, signing this is not an admission of guilt. It merely states that you’ll take care of this, either by paying the fine or showing up in court to prove you are innocent. If you don’t sign it, effectively you’re telling me that you won’t show up in court, and I’ll have to arrest you and keep you in jail until you either bond out or your court date comes up. I know you don’t want me to do that, so you’ll have to sign this so I can let you go.”

    Now if a few more short sentences of explanation don’t clear this up, then the officer can proceed to an arrest. That much of it was caused by Massey being boneheaded and the officer being equally boneheaded by not dealing with him as every boneheaded motorist should be dealt with…by starting with a civil, dignified explanation of what is expected of him, and only proceeding to an arrest if he absolutely refuses to comply with the law.

    Now, when he was told to place his hands on the car and didn’t (another boneheaded move on Massey’s part), the next thing out of the officer’s mouth should have been, “Stop right there! You are under arrest! Place your hands on the car NOW so I don’t have to worry about you reaching for a weapon!”

    And THAT would drive the gravity of the situation home to 90% of the boneheads who think they can just ignore the officer and go their merry way without any untoward consequences. Maybe Mr. Massey would have been part of the 10% who still needed to be tased or batoned or simply wrestled to the ground and cuffed, but we’ll never know because the 14-year “rookie” missed several chances to defuse the situation before letting it get out of control.

    Tasing the guy that close to a lane of traffic was heinously stupid. Could you imagine the headlines if Massey fell in such a way as to be struck by a passing vehicle? To say the least, that would have resulted in mandatory retraining for every police department that uses the things!

    When things go this pear-shaped, it usually takes more than one dumb person. Police deal with dumber people than Mr. Massey every day, but you only see something like this when one of the men in blue acts even more stupidly.

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  14. I’m sick of local governments raising money through ridiculously low speed limits and sneaky tactics. And when you do get caught in these stupidly low speed zones, judges are against you and even lawyers don’t want the cases.

    Seeing these tactics from the police brings this to a new low. Where does it end?

    Like

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