Cops Beat Homeless Man

Monday, October 15th, 2012

 

Here’s the context:

On Monday evening, October 8, 2012, police were called about a man who was sleeping in the lounge of the Aliyah Center on East New York Ave. The caller may have mistakenly believed that the homeless man, Ehud H. Halevi, was loitering on the center’s property without permission.

Aliyah is a synagogue and outreach center for troubled youth in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Two officers from the 71st precinct, one male and one female, arrived and woke the man. Confused as to why he was being accosted by police, the man refused the officers’ attempts to escort him outside, insisting that he had permission to be there and asking that they allow him to prove it.

His pleas fell on deaf ears, and they proceeded to place him under arrest.

When he resisted arrest, the male officer flew into a rage and began to beat the defenseless man. As can be seen in the video below, the officer assumed a boxing stance and then lurched towards his victim, pummeling him from all sides.

Over the next couple of minutes the man is also pepper-sprayed and beaten with a truncheon by the female officer, all while posing no threat to the officers’ well-being whatsoever.

After a good two minutes of sadistic thrashing, the officers are joined by a squadron of their peers, and successfully put him in handcuffs and under arrest.

A source confirmed with CrownHeights.info that the man had full permission to be there, and had been living there for a month without any trouble. It is unknown who called the police or why.

And it wouldn’t be a police beating without the obligatory charge against the victim for assaulting the police officer’s fist with his face.

The guy clearly wasn’t cooperating. But he wasn’t breaking any laws. Even if you don’t think the beating itself is excessive (I do), why not contact someone at the center to see if his story checks out before you move in with the cuffs? Why move immediately to confrontation, and then to escalation?

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72 Responses to “Cops Beat Homeless Man”

  1. #1 |  Z | 

    “Why move immediately to confrontation, and then to escalation?”

    To show that you’re the boss and he has to submit to you.

  2. #2 |  marie | 

    Every time I see videos like this, I get sick. Sick that it happens so frequently, in so many different cities, by so many different cops…and with so little national attention and so few consequences to the cops.

  3. #3 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    I feel so damn safe, knowing this bad homeless guy got what he deserved.

  4. #4 |  Paulus | 

    More selfless heroism from the guardians of civilized society.

    “Do you like violently assaulting people? Have you thought about becoming a police officer?”

    Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the inevitable CYA from the bosses, a possible slight punishment, and the rally of support and outcry from fellow officers for even daring to mete out a slap on the wrist.

  5. #5 |  jesse | 

    Later in the video I counted at least 12 cops in that room. All paid with taxpayer money, getting taxpayer-funded health care, and fat pensions.

    How much money was wasted in the course of assaulting this innocent man and denying his rights?

  6. #6 |  Dante | 

    “Why move immediately to confrontation, and then to escalation?”

    Because the system has been set up that way by the police. When cops abuse your rights, and then physically abuse your body – they are always “following procedure” and you are equated with a terrorist. So even when you are innocent, even when you’ve done nothing wrong the cops are always right. And the citizen is always wrong.

    Always. The game is rigged in favor of the police, by the police.

    That’s how the police function (beating innocent, harmless people), so we all better get used to it and behave or we will get the next beat-down because we were walking, or standing, or merely breathing, or some similar threatening activity.

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

  7. #7 |  Chicagojon | 

    Wow, the choke hold at ~2:40 followed by the ‘oh, you won’t let me choke you – okay, I’ll knee you in the face and start punching you again’ should be 15-30 years. Do that a few (dozen, hundred, thousand?) times and perhaps cops will at least check to see if there’s a camera in the room.

  8. #8 |  tarran | 

    Hey Radley, I have a request.

    Your site (and many others) keeps showing ads for http://www.instantcheckmate.com

    This site purports to allow us to look up arrest records for our friends. The ads come with lurid pics of people leering or sobbing in their booking photos.

    It’s an incredible turn off.

    I’m wondering if you might be able (and willing) to modify your adsense settings to block these guys.

    It would make your site much more enjoyable to read (except for the trademarked nutpunches).

  9. #9 |  llamas | 

    Let’s start off by saying that the first two officers may well have been acting properly in detaining him, securing him (in handcuffs maybe) and holding him while they figured out what was going on. You don’t get free hindsight – you don’t get to apply what you know now to their actions then. And if they were acting properly, then he was resisting their lawful commands and they had the duty to restrain him, by force if necessary. And yes, he does have to submit.

    Beyond that point – the female officer appears to be the more restrained – she appears to be using some compliance methods along some sort of continuum-of-force. She has the ASP out, but she’s not beating him with it – she seems to be using it as-intended, to apply pressure to pain-compliance points to make him submit. The guy is not actively fighting them, he’s just resisting, squirming away form them and generaly non-compliant. But remember, if he is disobeying their lawful commands, they do have the right to use reasonable force to make him comply.

    But the male officer just goes berserk – he’s pouring a stream of full-arm punches on the guy’s face and neck. There’s no effort to restrain him or to get him to comply – he’s just beating the hell out of him. After the first volley of punches, when the guy might very well be expected to be dazed and slow to comply, the male officer comes back in and pours another round of haymakers onto the guy’s face and neck. That’s the hardest beating with bare fists that I’ve seen in quite some time. I’m pretty sure I see some serious knee action going on as well, but the image is fuzzy in that area and I can’t be sure.

    It’s illustrative of what seems to be becoming SOP for far too many LEOs these days – they take the principle that you do have to submit to an officer’s lawful commends, and turned that into a principle that says that the slightest degree of non-compliance justifies any degree of violence.

    I can’t see any justification for anything like this level of force in response to what appears to be passive non-compliance. They’re in a closed room. He can’t get away. They’re two to his one. He’s no muscle-bound he-man at all. There’s no way that this response can be decribed as ‘reasonable’.

    llater,

    llamas

  10. #10 |  Ghost | 

    It’s gonna be beautiful when the rest of America wakes up and sees what the police are doing. I’ve got my popcorn ready.

  11. #11 |  Cyto | 

    llamas,

    You use the qualifier “lawful” for the commands officers expect you to comply with. I’m sure they’d use that qualifier too, with the additional qualifier that “if a police officer says it, it is a lawful command”.

    Sadly, the courts agree with them. Lately their take has been that you must submit to unlawful commands and then take it up with the courts later if you don’t like it.

    -separate food for thought: If these two were not wearing official “we get to beat people” badges, what would the reaction be to the video? Let’s say we are looking at a video from an office building and two of the night managers are trying to evict a homeless guy…. what does the government say about their actions? Take your thought experiment further: pretend that the two night managers, armed with sticks, pepper spray and guns while beating a man in a hallway are happened upon buy a police officer. Does he assist them in evicting the homeless man? Does he shoot them dead on sight as dangerous armed felons in the act of attempted murder?

    While exploring that thought experiment remember this: the police authority to evict the homeless man from the synagogue derives from the property owner’s right to protect their property from trespass.

  12. #12 |  Miroker | 

    Looking at all the body mass of all those officers at the end, got to wonder if they are not experiencing “‘roid rage” in these situations.

  13. #13 |  Cyto | 

    Ghost – I’m afraid that popcorn is going to get mighty, mighty stale while you wait.

  14. #14 |  Radley Balko | 

    This site purports to allow us to look up arrest records for our friends. The ads come with lurid pics of people leering or sobbing in their booking photos.

    It’s an incredible turn off.

    I’m wondering if you might be able (and willing) to modify your adsense settings to block these guys.

    I don’t want to get into the habit of blocking ads from places I don’t agree with. Once you start doing that, you start to give the implication that you do agree with those you haven’t blocked. And I just don’t have time to investigate every Google client whose ads appear here.

    Look at it this way: They’re paying for all of those impressions. And those impressions are getting displayed for an audience is unlikely to produce much revenue for them.

  15. #15 |  Chris Mallory | 

    Sorry, Llama. There is no reason for a cop to ever touch, much less cuff any citizen who has not offered violence. And yes, we the citizens do get “free hindsight” when we review the actions of our employees. They claim to have it when they review our actions.

    I would be very interested in knowing if the male officer was wearing sap gloves.

  16. #16 |  Carl Drega | 

    http://gothamist.com/2012/10/15/video_cops_beat_man_resisting_arres.php

    However, it appears that a volunteer security guard was not apprised of this arrangement, and called police when he found a shirtless Halevi asleep in the lounge.

    The security guard, Zlamy Trappler, 24, can be seen arguing with Halevi at the 30 second mark. He now tells the Daily News, “I regret making the call. I should have let him sleep. It spiraled out of control.”

  17. #17 |  JdL | 

    I look forward to the day that citizens stop bending over for this kind of criminal police behavior. Every criminal, whether wearing a government clown costume or not, should be stopped from exhibiting further criminal behavior by whatever means are necessary (commensurate with the level of force being used by the criminal).

  18. #18 |  llamas | 

    I would also like to look at the male officers’ gloves. You can’t whale on somebody like that bareknuckled without it hurting. A lot. If he was wearing armored gloves, or any of the products sold as ‘tactical’ or ‘raid’ gloves, this might arise to the level of assault with a deadly weapon – a sap has been found by the courts to be a deadly weapon.

    @#15, who wrote:

    ‘There is no reason for a cop to ever touch, much less cuff any citizen who has not offered violence.’

    This is wishful thinking, and totally unrealistic.

    Firstly, of course, the subject here did refuse to comply with the officers’ commands (as it appears). Let’s assume those commands were lawful – stand still, put your hands behind your back. This is a ‘Terry stop’ and it is lawful detention for the purposes of investigation. The citizen must comply – you don’t get to debate with the officer, the very purpose is to determine whether anything unlawful has occurred and you don’t get a unilateral right of refusal. If you refuse to comply, the officer has the right to use reasonable force to make you comply.

    If you do not give officers these powers, then nobody could ever be compelled to follow the officer’s orders. You could choose to not stop when an officer tries to pull you over for a traffic infraction, or to simply walk away from an officer who’s trying to question you because he has RAS or PC to belive that a crime has been committed and that you may have committed it. In other words, unless the officer saw you commit a crime with his own eyes, he would be unable to detain you in any way or compel you to do anything.

    Is that what you want? Is that really what you want? If it is, try this thought experiment – an officer is despatched to your house late at night in response to reports of a woman screaming, the sound of breaking glass and shots fired. As he pulls up in the driveway, a man walks past him carrying a shotgun and womens’ undergarments, and dripping blood. He says to the man ‘Stop! I want to speak with you!’. The man replies. I don’t believe I will, goodnight, oficer’ and keeps walking.

    By your logic, the officer has no grounds to detain that man by force.

    As regards free hindsight – you can’t hold the officer to a standard of conduct based on knowledge which he did not have at the time. It would be a gross injustice if applied to you, this standard is just as much a gross injustice when applied to the officer.

    llater,

    llamas

  19. #19 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Further to Tarran and Mr. Balko’s comment:

    The ads are not upsetting because of their content, but because of the pictures. They would be upsetting even if they were using those pix to advertise Ayn Rand books or bacon whiskey or Cold Stares albums. Not sure if that makes a difference, but I “second” what Tarran says.

  20. #20 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Is this outreach center private property? If so, then I don’t think they had any authority to arrest this guy unless there’s a complaint from the property owner (or his representative).

    In any case, the guy shouldn’t have resisted. In the land of the free, resisting government violates the first axiom of good citizenship: docility. That’s why free public education is so important to democratic forms of government. That’s the place (along with network news programs) where they teach you docility.

    Freedom is fine, but only if you don’t abuse it by resisting authority.

  21. #21 |  JLS | 

    I keep hoping for the day when cops beat the shit out of the law and order conservatives that support this shit EVERY SINGLE TIME!

    But no, it’s always some poor homeless guy or someone whose life doesn’t really matter. Just once I’d like to see them beat a Sean Hannity or John McCain or Mike Huckabee.

  22. #22 |  JLS | 

    Someone needs to invade that country and bring freedom to it’s people.

    Maybe someday the army will actually defend our freedom and come home and annihilate the police.

  23. #23 |  Mondfledermaus | 

    “Why move immediately to confrontation, and then to escalation?”

    Because the reason they joined the force is to be able to beat people up.

  24. #24 |  JT | 

    The NYPD is a corrupt mess. I’ll bet all those cops including the woman masturbate to trophy videos from Iraq or Afghanistan.

  25. #25 |  Personanongrata | 

    How many officers thugs does it take to handle a man sleeping on a couch?

  26. #26 |  len (not the one you hate) | 

    #21 JLS

    Law and order conservatives long ago began to realize that enforcement officials are out of control, though it’s true that our encounters tend to be with the TSA, IRS, and forfeiture-hungry highway police, as opposed to beat cops.

  27. #27 |  Bill | 

    You mention a boxing stance, but a typical boxer would have broken all the bones in his hands several times with those hits. Never could understand how this happened without them destroying their hands until i went over to get my daily bit of disgust from PoliceOne. They advertise gloves specifically for cops that pretty much ensure you’d never break or even harm your hands. All made sense after that.

  28. #28 |  JLS | 

    len (not the one you hate), yea I know that most conseratives are capable of railing against the government when it’s TSA, IRS etc. but I don’t see anything but worshipful reverence for police and military. Somehow they’re not really “the government.” I hope I’m wrong and you’re right though.

  29. #29 |  AlgerHiss | 

    One indicator of how dangerous a job might be should certainly be the rates charged for workers compensation insurance.

    I am no Einstein, but what little I’ve studied, the data would suggest that the NCCI classification of 7720, which is for “police officers”, shows being a cop to be not at all that dangerous of a job.

    It is a total myth and lie that these people “put their lives on the line”. Hell, my roofer risks far more than Trooper Douchebag.

  30. #30 |  Len | 

    llamas, if the man had permission to be there, then what could be a “lawful” command. If anything, the cops would need to prove they had any lawful right to be on the property(this is still not clear, such as who made the call, and whether they were there with the knowledge of those responsible). That you get this confused shows a lack of understanding of rights.

    Further, what is “lawful”? Men make may unjust laws, does that I mean I have to obey them for any reason other than practicality?

    I would add, there was a time that even if an LEO stepped outside of their authority and was harmed even fatally, that those defending themselves were understood, even legally, to be innocent in resisting any LEO.

  31. #31 |  Kevin Carson | 

    Don’t call me Dim no more, either. Officer, call me.

  32. #32 |  Abe Froman | 

    From the article:
    “However, it appears that a volunteer security guard was not apprised of this arrangement, and called police when he found a shirtless Halevi asleep in the lounge.”

    Len-The security guard’s 911 call gives the police the right to be on the property. It’s not like the security guard was some rogue volunteer-he was there with the permission and authority of the owner or responsible party. That he (the security guard) didn’t know who was and was not allowed to be on the premises isn’t fault of the police.

  33. #33 |  Matt B | 

    @ llamas

    “‘There is no reason for a cop to ever touch, much less cuff any citizen who has not offered violence.’

    This is wishful thinking, and totally unrealistic.”

    No, its called history- it used to work just fine before “Officer Safety” and “Respect of Cop” outweighed Citizen Rights.

    “The citizen must comply – you don’t get to debate with the officer, the very purpose is to determine whether anything unlawful has occurred and you don’t get a unilateral right of refusal. If you refuse to comply, the officer has the right to use reasonable force to make you comply.”

    In a just society you do get to debate with the officer. If he is illegal detaining you (and I consider Terry Stops illegal), then you have the right to refuse to comply and resist if necessary. Just because the courts have forgot their place doesn’t invalidate rights.

    “If you do not give officers these powers, then nobody could ever be compelled to follow the officer’s orders.”

    So? Nobody SHOULD be compelled. The officer can still try to arrest, and most people would submit.

    “Is that what you want? Is that really what you want? If it is, try this thought experiment – an officer is despatched to your house late at night in response to reports of a woman screaming, the sound of breaking glass and shots fired. As he pulls up in the driveway, a man walks past him carrying a shotgun and womens’ undergarments, and dripping blood. He says to the man ‘Stop! I want to speak with you!’. The man replies. I don’t believe I will, goodnight, oficer’ and keeps walking.

    By your logic, the officer has no grounds to detain that man by force.”

    Here is another thought experiment- a cop sees you and doesn’t like something you are doing, even though its legal (like videoing a building). He hate it so much that when you refuse to stop, he starts arresting you and starts beating you because he can. He ends up killing you. Should you have had the right to resist? You bet!

    So of course you are twisting the log. There is CLEAR evidence of a crime being committed in the first. And none in the second. And in EITHER situation- whether he is executing a legal or illegal arrest- the person can fight back under either resisting policy. What is the difference is that when resisting an illegal stop you may save yourself and kill a criminal, and go free. Under your policy, you aren’t allowed to resist and so probably won’t and will end up dead.

  34. #34 |  Len | 

    Abe Forman..”from the article “However, it appears that a volunteer security guard was not apprised of this arrangement, and called police when he found a shirtless Halevi asleep in the lounge.””..what article? Not the one posted here? If you have a source giving a more accurate account, then post a link. At this point, as I see no source being cited, I can only take your comment as false.

  35. #35 |  Abe Froman | 

    Len–

    Originally linked by Carl Drega, today at 11:56 am in post #16

    http://gothamist.com/2012/10/15/video_cops_beat_man_resisting_arres.php

    Second sentence in the paragraph under the video.

  36. #36 |  Dave | 

    @ #22 JLS It’s happened before. Google “The battle of Athens”.

  37. #37 |  JLS | 

    Dave #36, good point but I don’t just want to see the people delivered from the oppressors I want to see the oppressors brought to justice.

    Maybe someday the American people will too.

  38. #38 |  Matt | 

    “Further, what is “lawful”? Men make may unjust laws, does that I mean I have to obey them for any reason other than practicality?”

    Lawful does not equal right.

    It can, but mostly doesn’t these days.

  39. #39 |  Fluffy | 

    Llamas –

    I understand why the police need to detain people.

    Detain being defined as ask people to remain in a given place and respond to questions.

    That is entirely different from empowering the police to HANDCUFF whoever they want, whenever they want, so they’ll feel “comfortable”.

    If I’m having a conversation with a police officer about an incident and not actively attacking them or actively trying to flee – fuck them and their fucking feelings of safety, they should have to let me sit there, UNCUFFED, and fucking like it.

    I don’t particularly care if that makes things more dangerous for police overall, or not. If they don’t like it, they can fucking quit. We’ll just hire the next blockhead on the waiting list and take it from there.

  40. #40 |  JLS | 

    What Fluffy said!

  41. #41 |  llamas | 

    @ MattB – You obviously inhabit a happy, alternate fantasyland. No point in debating with you. Wish you joy.

    @ Fluffy, who wrote:

    “I understand why the police need to detain people.

    Detain being defined as ask people to remain in a given place and respond to questions.”

    And when they don’t? Leaving aside the fact that you don’t have to answer any question a police officer asks you, what if the officer asks and the citizen says “I don’t believe I will” and makes to depart?

    I’ve been a copper, and I have news for you – some people choose not to voluntarily assist the police with their inquiries. Some people, in fact, are primarily interested in obstructing the police from discovering the truth, and with good reason.

    You wrote:

    “If I’m having a conversation with a police officer about an incident and not actively attacking them or actively trying to flee – fuck them and their fucking feelings of safety, they should have to let me sit there, UNCUFFED, and fucking like it.”

    and guess what? I agree with you! You are absolutely right!

    But that’s not what happened here!

    We don’t know what happened here, exactly, but it appears that the police were called by the agent of the owner of the property and told that there was an unidentified trespasser, sleeping on the premises. They went to talk to the man and find out what was going on. He was apparently uninfomative and tried to walk away from them, then began to wave his arms around and become somewhat resistive.

    At this point, everything they know is that he’s a suspect. They have the right to detain him for inquiries (a “Terry stop”) and to detain him by force if he will not comply voluntarily. He goes to squirming and struggling, and it escalates from there.

    Note that this in no way justifies the beating.

    But he started it. If he had stood (reasonably) still and not tried to avoid the officers, not started squirming and waving his arms around when they tried to restrain him, none of this would (likely) have happened. He doesn’t have to answer their questions or provide them with any information whatever – all he has to do is stand still.

    Once again, there’s no way that the beating is justified.

    But the handcuffing may very well have been – he’s trying to evade them, and he’s waving his arms around. The officers are probably justified in restraining him with handcuffs. He continues to resist – he’s the one doing the escalating. What does he think? That if he makes enough of a fuss, that the officers will simply say ‘oh, well, then, never mind’ and walk away? Any sentient adult must know that if you start resisting the officers, they are going to compel you to comply, and the more that you resist, the more that they will compel.

    But, once again, there’s no way that the beating is justified.

    I know there are readers here who are simply outraged by the idea that they might actually have to do as a police officer tells them to do, or that the police can lay hands on them if they do not comply- living in that happy pseudo-libertarian fantasyland where they can decide for themselves whether or not the police have any authority over them – but this is simply a fabricated and alternate reality. It’s like those folks who truly believe that taxes are voluntary, or they are not required to have a license plate on their vehicle, or that they can discharge any obligation by writing “accept for value” on the bill, or that they don’t have to follow the order of the court because the US flag behind the judge has a yellow fringe, and that makes it an Admiralty court, and that means it doesn’t apply to them. It’s just woo-woo. Sorry.

    llater,

    llamas

  42. #42 |  mary | 

    Llamas, the truth comes out, a “recovering” cop. How about you fully recover before you post your nonsense? Troll–have strawman will travel…

  43. #43 |  Gordon | 

    “But he started it. If he had stood (reasonably) still and not tried to avoid the officers, not started squirming and waving his arms around when they tried to restrain him, none of this would (likely) have happened. He doesn’t have to answer their questions or provide them with any information whatever – all he has to do is stand still.”

    Sorry, llamas, but you’re wrong. Citizens of this country have a constitutional right to resist a false arrest: Plummer vs State, 136 Ind. 306, upheld by the Supreme Court in John Bad Elk vs US, 177 U.S. 529, to wit: The Court stated: “Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show that no offense had been committed.”

    And if the cops don’t like it, it is STILL the law.

  44. #44 |  croaker | 

    @42 I have been told by a defense attorney that this is no longer the case. Those decisions were made under common law. Statute law in most states now say that you can no longer resist a false arrest, thus you can be charged and convicted of resisting arrest even though it was later determined that the police lacked probable cause, or even reasonable articulatable suspicion to detain.

    Also, in later Supreme Court cases it has been ruled that being handcuffed does not necessarily mean you have been arrested. “Officer safety”. I believe J.D. Tucille had something to say about that, something along the lines of if police insist on being an army of occupation, don’t be surprised if the public forms The Maquis.

  45. #45 |  llamas | 

    @ Gordon #42

    You are right in your citations. Well done.

    Now, show me how this incident was a false arrest.

    It was not even an arrest. I have not even spoken one word about an arrest. This was a temporary detention – a “Terry stop” – or at least, it began that way. There is a fundamental difference.

    In Bad Elk, the officer who was killed was attempting to perform an actual arrest for which there was no warrant, probable cause or justification whatsoever. The case turned on the defective instructions of the first trial judge, who instructed the jury that the officer had the right to make an arrest when such was not, in fact, the case.

    You should also note that Bad Elk was decided in 1900, and that subsequent decisions in various courts have walked back that position considerably. Bad Elk would not be decided the same way today, partly at least because the officer who was killed in that case was acting in good faith and carrying out an order he had no reason to believe was unlawful. An officer has to have the right to assume that an order that he is given is lawful if there is no self-evident reason to show that it is not, and to be held harmless if he carries out his orders in an otherwise-lawful manner.

    You should also note that Bad Elk did not magically confer a right to resist unlawful arrest and be held harmless for doing so, despite what you will read on fevered websites across the Interweb. The only practical effect was to change the charge against Bad Elk from murder to involuntary manslaughter.

    (Godwin/Nuremberg alert – I can hear it coming. Feel free to try).

    Returning to the video – You cannot argue that the man had some right to resist a false arrest when

    a) no arrest had actually taken place, or been attempted, and
    b) you have no evidence to show that it would have been a false arrest if it had, in fact, occurred.

    Once again, none of this justifies the beating that occurred.

    Feel free to try again. You may by now be getting an inkling that I do, in fact, know what I am talking about.

    llater,

    llamas

  46. #46 |  nigmalg | 

    llamas,

    How do you feel the law would react to the subject defending himself with violence during or directly after the beating occurred?

    There can be no debate that if the officer meant harm from the beginning, the subject would be at a clear disadvantage by allowing himself to be restrained. The courts like to pretend that as a victim of an illegal detainment, you’ll always have the privilege of being made whole in civil court — if you make it there. Even if you do have your day in court, we know this to be fraudulent because of the various immunities provided to the law enforcement profession. Our government feels that officer safety is more important than that of a private individual.

    I don’t disagree that we’ve built our own occupying army through our mentally challenged federal and local legislatures. The precedent speaks very clearly that police are the masters and we are the servants. We’ve created a perfect storm of officer safety, qualified immunity and union protectionism to never have any recourse.

    The only practical effect was to change the charge against Bad Elk from murder to involuntary manslaughter

    Practicalities aside:

    … or the facts might show that no offense had been committed.

  47. #47 |  llamas | 

    @nigmalg #45 – that’s a very good question.

    As a matter of law, I think it’s settled (in most places) that you do have the right to resist the unlawful use of force by police – except in Indiana, where the Supreme Court had itself an awesome brainfart a while ago that I don’t believe has been corrercted yet.

    The issue is one of practicality – how can you be sure that the force that the police are using is unlawful?

    Not in an ‘I ain’t done nothing wrong!’ sense, but in the whole circumstances of your encounter with the police. In many/most of these sorts of cases, the initial reason for contact with police turns out to be – nothing unlawful. Like here. But what makes the trouble come is not the initial reason for the police contact, but the interaction with the police that follows. Like here. The victim here will not be charged with trespass, becasue there was no trespass – he had permission to be there. If he is charged, he will be charged with obstructing the officers (a valid charge, nota bene) and all that flows from it.

    Many people seem to have fixed in their minds a sort of ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ concept when it comes to encounters with the police – that if the original reason that they came in contact with the police turned out to be nothing unlawful, that they are therefore innocent of anything else that may develop from the encounter. This is where we get the breathless headlines about ‘Tasered for speeding!’ or ‘Beaten for jaywalking!’ and so forth. In many – not all, but many – cases, you weren’t Tasered for speeding – you were Tasered because you went to fighting with the officer. Whether or not you were actually speeding just became immaterial.

    The other practicaility you have to consider is this – if you resist what you believe to be unlawful use of force by the officer, you become the escalating party. If it turns out that you were in the right, you may get away with it – but the burden of proof is high. If it turns out you were in the wrong, you just made matters much, much worse for yourself. And remember, what you do in response to the officer must be seen as entirely separate from the original reason for the contact. In other words – you get stopped for speeding. You refuse to sign the ticket, because you believe that you were not speeding. The officer arrests you (signing the ticket = bailment, and if you refuse, you become arrestable for bail). You resist. You get charged with resisting the officer – because you did. Even if it turns out later that you were not speeding, so long as the officer acted in good faith and used no more force than necessary to effect the arrest – the resisting charge will stick. As it should. Do, what the officer tells you to do. 99.999875% percent of the time, the officer is entirely justified in telling you to do, what he’s telling you to do, and he will be justified in using force to compel you to comply. Just do, what the officer tells you to do.

    Many people refuse to accept this, of course – we should just take their word for their innocence, and they should be allowed to resist any claim to the contrary with force! Good luck with that. The only thing that is wrong in the linked video is the scale and extent of the force the officer used, which is entirely unjustified. But that is not the same thing as saying that the officer was unjustified to use any force at all. The guy was non-compliant and resisting, and the officer was fully-justified to use reasonable force to compel him to comply.

    Video is making all the difference here, of course, as this case shows.

    llater,

    llamas

  48. #48 |  Carl Drega | 

    llamas, you are exactly wrong on the law. Indiana is one of the only states where using deadly force against illegal police actions is expressly included in the statute.

    In my home state of Pennsylvania, citizens are required by law not to resist unlawful police use of force. I must submit and hope for redress elsewhere. Interestingly, there is no exception for deadly force which means Pennsylvanians are legally required to let the police murder them.

    While the notion of resisting unlawful arrest using force (including deadly force) is consistent with common law at the founding, the state worshipers have been chipping away at it for a long time now – doesn’t seem settled law in most places to me.

    Article on Indiana Law:
    http://theweek.com/article/index/229167/the-indiana-law-that-lets-citizens-shoot-cops

  49. #49 |  llamas | 

    #47 Carl Drega – you are correct. I was not aware that Indiana had undone the awesome brainfart of its State Supreme Court, some years ago, in denying the right of citizens to resist unlawful entry by the police. Thank you for the update.

    Please provide a citation for the PA law you describe. I cannot find any such statute, and on the contrary, find many PA cases where citizens have successfully argued that their use of force to resist the actions of police officers was justified because the officer’s actions were unlawful. One such case was even reported by regular commenter Burgers Allday:

    http://police4aqi.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/pa-woman-is-allowed-to-resist-unlawful-arrest-2-2/

    The right to resist unlawful actions by police is a common-law right, and is generally upheld by the courts even in the face of statutes that appear to limit it. In the state where I reside, the state Supreme Court has vigorously upheld the common-law right against a statute passed by the Legislature, declared that part of the stature unconstitutional and without effect, and told the Legislature to go away and craft a better law.

    So you have that common-alw right. But you’d better be sure.

    llater,

    llamas

  50. #50 |  Jim | 

    @21 Actually I’d like it to be Antonin Scalia. And then a no-knock SWAT raid. Ahh, to dream….

  51. #51 |  Jim | 

    @llamas “I’ve been a copper, and I have news for you – some people choose not to voluntarily assist the police with their inquiries.”

    As is their RIGHT.

    But what ‘copper’ gives a flying @#$# about that?

    Back to PoliceOne with ya, thanks for stopping by.

  52. #52 |  Carl Drega | 

    llamas, I think your post might be confusing to people (assuming anyone but us is still on this thread) by making it seem the civil law can overrule statutory law. While in your state the court threw the law out as unconstitutional, it could not have simply decided to choose to enforce common law over a statute. To be clear, statutory law is superior in all contests between a statute and the common law, with the sole exception that the statute violates a state or federal constitution.

    I haven’t seen the case you cited – I’ll look into it after work.

    the Pennsylvania law is 18 Pa.C.S. § 505(b)(1)(i).

    Also see Commonwealth v. Jackson http://www.courts.state.pa.us/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-58-2007mo.pdf

    “In Biagini, we addressed whether a defendant who is arrested without probable cause could be prosecuted for crimes he committed in response to an officer’s attempt to unlawfully arrest him. The co-defendants in Biagini argued that because the initial encounter with the police was an unlawful arrest, all additional charges arising from that arrest were invalid. Id. We disagreed and stated individuals do not have a right to resist arrest even when they believe the arrest is unlawful.

  53. #53 |  llamas | 

    @ Jim #50 – oh, great, another case of reading comprehension deficit, and irony-impaired as well..

    Look back to where I wrote:

    ‘He doesn’t have to answer their questions or provide them with any information whatever – all he has to do is stand still.’

    Trust me, I’ve forgotten more about the rights of the citizen in these sorts of encounters than you ever knew.

    llater,

    lllamas

  54. #54 |  varmintito | 

    llamas:

    It appears that from the outselt the police were attempting to perform an arrest, as opposed to a Terry stop.

    The hallmarks of an arrest are (1) custody, based on (2) probable cause.

    The hallmarks of a Terry stop are (1) non-custodial questioning, based on (2) a reasonably articulable suspicion.

    Once there is an attempt to restrain or cuff, it becomes an arrest, which requires probable cause for it to be legal.

    That is why Terry is all about the purpose and scope of the “frisk.” It’s sole purpose is to determine whether the subject is armed in a manner that presents an immediate danger to the police officer (i.e., if it feels like a handgun, or a knife, or a taser, or a heavy, rigid bar).

    Your hypo mixes this up as well:

    “[T]ry this thought experiment – an officer is despatched to your house late at night in response to reports of a woman screaming, the sound of breaking glass and shots fired. As he pulls up in the driveway, a man walks past him carrying a shotgun and womens’ undergarments, and dripping blood. He says to the man ‘Stop! I want to speak with you!’. The man replies. I don’t believe I will, goodnight, oficer’ and keeps walking.”

    I believe most judges would find your hypothetical to be adequate probable cause for a custodial arrest.

    The typical Terry stop involves far more ambiguous behavior, and the key is that it is non-custodial. The reason they exist is that that most people will comply with a police request for a non-custodial interrogation, and will submit to a pat down. If they do not want to comply with a request for a non-custodial interrogation, however, they are permitted to walk away if PC is lacking.

    Moreover, flight does not create PC.

    Let’s face it, the only crime committed by the guy on on this tape was contempt of cop.

  55. #55 |  el coronado | 

    Awright, Agitators, here’s a question for the lot of you. Balko’s been dutifully posting proof of the ‘out of control, militarized, ninja-wannabe, turning into a street gang that is (apparently) entirely above the law’ for years now – and doing a great job of it. I read ‘em & get pissed; y’all read ‘em and get pissed; and the furious comments fly thick and fast.

    Inevitably, though, the comment threads devolve into ‘Legal Chat’. “Well, per the ‘Smith’ decision of 1995…”; “Per the ‘Jones” decision of 1974….” etc etc ad nauseam. If the thread goes on long enough, it literally ends up as useful a debate as ‘How many cops can lie under oath on the head of a pin?’

    Meanwhile, the cops get worse every single year. More aggressive. More brutal. More trigger-happy. More likely to kill a dog – any dog – that just happens to be nearby. More open in their utter contempt of anybody who ain’t a cop. At the same time, courts and prosecutors are a) following down the same tyrannical path and b) refusing to punish the mad dog coppers – unless there’s *absolutely unassailable* video evidence AND political pressure to prosecute the cop in question. Which don’t happen too often, does it.

    And still, as (mostly) in this very thread, we’re distracting ourselves from the issue at hand by everybody playing amateur legal scholars. So here’s the question: Do any of y’all really believe the cops will be brought to heel by the same legal system that they’ve been intimately & intricately plugged into for decades? (You’d be absolutely *amazed* how many city/county/state judges are married to [usually fairly senior] cops, BTW. Interestingly, that info is almost never reported.) Or do you think it’s going to require more direct, brusque, unorthodox, outside-the-box action to rein them in?

  56. #56 |  JLS | 

    el coronado “So here’s the question: Do any of y’all really believe the cops will be brought to heel by the same legal system that they’ve been intimately & intricately plugged into for decades? (You’d be absolutely *amazed* how many city/county/state judges are married to [usually fairly senior] cops, BTW. Interestingly, that info is almost never reported.) Or do you think it’s going to require more direct, brusque, unorthodox, outside-the-box action to rein them in?”

    No I can’t imagine it being reformed or changed in any way through the normal legal channels. Legislators are pathetic object cowards and will never let themselves be seen as anything other than support “our brave heros in blue” and the courts and press aren’t any less deferential.

    The only way it will ever change will be through violent revolt or through a Soviet style breakup when cities will no longer be able to pay for these standing armies.

    One thing is clear to me, as an institution the police in America are evil, just evil, like Hitler’s Gestapo evil and they will get theirs someday, hopefully soon.

  57. #57 |  llamas | 

    @varmintito #54, who wrote:

    ‘The hallmarks of a Terry stop are (1) non-custodial questioning, based on (2) a reasonably articulable suspicion.

    Once there is an attempt to restrain or cuff, it becomes an arrest, which requires probable cause for it to be legal.’

    No, you are very much mistaken. The courts in many states, as well as the Federal courts, have held that a “Terry stop” may include significant elements of physical restraint, including holding the citizen, locking the citizen in a vehicle, making them stay inside their own vehicle, or handcuffing, without it necessarily morphing into an arrest. A lot depends on circumstances and the apparent willingness of the citizen to comply with the temporaray detention without resisting.

    I don’t want this to degrade into a battle of citations, so will leave it to our gracious host to state whether he wants more answers to various other erroneous or incomplete statements – including at least one of my own.

    To the question posted by el coronado, namely:

    ‘So here’s the question: Do any of y’all really believe the cops will be brought to heel by the same legal system that they’ve been intimately & intricately plugged into for decades?’

    my answer is – regretfully – no.

    The changes that need to take place are in other places, including recruitment, training, incentivization (positive and negative) and funding. By the time the excesses of police officers or their departments come to the attention of the CJS, it’s already too late.

    The first and most effective way to reduce the sorts of police behaviours that are constantly on parade here is to end the War on Drugs and sweep away all of the assaults on civil liberties made in its name. This is the single largest perverse incentive that causes individual officers, as well as the system as a whole, to behave the way they do.

    But, of course, it may be too late already. The WoD provides a good living for vast armies of CJS employees, many of them unionized, who will fight tooth-and-nail against any steps that might reduce their numbers or their incomes – and civil liberties be damned. Look at how the correctional-officers union in CA is literally leading the state government around by the nose.

    It will take a bold leader at the Federal level, and many more at the State level, to undo the damage done by the WoD. I do not see any such on the horizon.

    Sorry.

    llater,

    llamas

  58. #58 |  CyniCAl | 

    I think it’s cute that the lady officer tried to help the man officer.

    The reason that cops beat and torture people is because they are selected for sadistic tendencies. If you do not have a predisposition to violence, you are not selected to be a cop. Period.

    One might as well wonder why water is wet.

  59. #59 |  TanborFudgely | 

    America is a police state.

  60. #60 |  Danny | 

    I have seen this in a nice neighborhood in suburbia with a working class guy, not surprising that a big city cop does the same to a homeless person. Neither will apologize, neither will get more than a suspension. We serve them, they serve their union and without a doubt, WE SERVE THEM AS AN INCONVENIENCE if we think we have constitutional rights and deserve a little work before the cuffs come out.

  61. #61 |  Militant Libertarian » Cops Beat Homeless Man | 

    [...] His pleas fell on deaf ears, and they proceeded to place him under arrest. [...]

  62. #62 |  Charlie O | 

    #55 el coronado. Best post of this thread. Kudos.

    I don’t believe for a second that the legal system or spineless asswipes commonly known as legislators will ever address this. (Can’t be “soft” on crime.) It is going to take an armed populace and a stack of dead blue bodies for this crap to stop. That’s all they understand. Once it becomes clear to the boys in blue that the American public will not longer be bullied, killed and maimed at random, they start to think twice.

    That said, however, I ain’t holding my breath. In general, Americans are the same sheep and cowards as the public servants they hire to “protect” them.

  63. #63 |  demize! | 

    #55 Agree completely #56 Agree completely

  64. #64 |  Scott Grissom | 

    Nothin says God Bless America like the police beating up a defenseless homeless guy. When all the cops come rushing in I thought this might be an old Keystone Kops spoof. It was like a clown car just pulled up. How much back up did they call for?

  65. #65 |  Howie Feltersnatch | 

    I have to side with the cops on this one. First of all, they didn’t “beat him to a pulp.” The guy can still walk at the end, and he isn’t spraying blood. That’s not getting beaten to a pulp, that’s hardly even “getting tuned up.” Second, all this mope had to do was comply. But no, he decided to go the hard way. What do you want the cops to do? “You’re under arrest.” “No.” “Okay then, sir sorry to trouble you.” Third, it’s not like they’re kicking ass out on the street. Someone summoned the cops here. They had good reason to assume he was an intruder. I don’t see anything wrong with this.

  66. #66 |  Howie Feltersnatch | 

    Awesome, you have no interest in presenting dissenting opinions. You’re no better than the cops you hate.

  67. #67 |  Anton | 

    There is a petition by the Rabbi in charge of the Youth Center to have all charges dropped against the young man here, please sign it: http://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-ehud-halevy-drop-all-charges

  68. #68 |  tinoj3 | 

    (cops) always crying nobody likes us!! I wonder why? I like when they send them to prison, then they’ll get what they deserve!!

  69. #69 |  usedtobelieve | 

    You people need to know that as of late, police officers are given personality tests and the ones that “lack empathy” are hired. It used to be that you had to have strong moral conviction to be a cop, that’s not the case anymore…it’s the thugs that probably bullied kids at school and the power hungry that are purposefully hired as cops nowadays. I look forward to the day when the powers that be are tried for these crimes against humanity…it’s already starting to happen and will continue to happen. People have had enough.

  70. #70 |  Dave | 

    From my UK viewpoint, this all looks like the despicable use of gratuitous OTT force without checking any facts and I would hope that the officers involved are disciplined, not to mention some kindly legal beagle helping out and suing the pants off them.

  71. #71 |  A.R. | 

    At least they didn’t kill him, like six pigs from Fullerton did to a homeless man there.

    http://justiceforkelly.com/

  72. #72 |  Cops Beat Homeless Man | Popshot | 

    [...] The Agitator. Share:FacebookTwitterRedditTumblrPinterest Monday, 29 October [...]

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