“The video starts with the two officers pulling out of the parking lot of the Cook Out on Monticello Avenue and Tariq walking down the street, Muhammad said.
The officer in the passenger seat asks Tariq if they can talk to him, Muhammad said. Tariq tells them he has nothing to say to them and keeps walking.
The cruiser stops, Muhammad continued. The officer in the passenger seat gets out and “snatches” Tariq’s shirt and book bag “in a very aggressive way,” spinning him around.
Tariq pulls away from the officer who’s grabbing him and tells him to get his hands off of him, Muhammad said.
That’s when the second officer, the one who’d been driving the cruiser, pepper-sprays Tariq in the face, Muhammad said.”
The police had no right to grab at him until they investigated why he wasn’t in school! He could easily have a pass for late arrival or any other valid reason for being late on that particular day. I remember getting stopped a few times as I walked late to school usually do to SOL testing or final exams. I was a person with a study hall my senior year for one of my last classes of the day (block scheduling so my last block was 7 on A days and 8 on B days). Rather than get the pass so I could go home early, I got a year long pass to go to the library so that I could surf the internet (since we had dial-up at home).
Literally my encounters with the police were: “Why are you late for school?” Me: “SOL testing.” Or “Final Exams” and the cop would say something along the lines of “Okay. Good luck.” And they’d drive away.
Being a cop doesn’t give anyone the right to put their hands on anyone! How do I know this? First responder training. In search and rescue, if we find someone and they are conscious, we have to ASK if they want us to check out and treat their injuries before we can put our hands on them. If they say no, they’re happy where they are, we can’t just manhandle them to get them to safety! That’d be assault!
When you go to a hospital, if you are conscious, you MUST give consent to treatment! Even though consent is technically implied because you drove yourself there, if you are conscious when you get triaged, you must give explicit consent. It’s one of the forms you sign before anything more than blood pressure and temperature get done (if that much).
The only legal implied consent in the medical field is when the patient is unconscious. THEN you are safe to assume that they would want you to do everything in your power (that you are cleared to do within the scope of your training) to save them. But, first you must determine the extent of the unconsciousness! You must speak loudly and clearly to them to see if they wake up. You must still ask for consent before touching them! If they don’t answer, you can assume implied consent, but if they were merely napping and wake up, that’s assault if you touched them without attempting to wake them up verbally first.
On a related note, you should never attempt to awaken a potentially injured person by shaking them. Jarring a spinal injury can cause serious damage. Always assume there is a spinal injury unless it’s extremely unlikely (or the surrounding area is more dangerous than the risk of spinal damage); it’s better to be safe than sorry!
The medical profession has extensive protocols and training about consent and informing the patient about exactly what will be done to them before anyone lays a finger on them (for anything more than routine blood pressure and temperature).
I’m curious about informed consent and assault training for police officers. When it comes to “routine” stops where there’s no time to get a warrant (personally, I think there is ALWAYS time to get a warrant!), at what point are cops legally allowed to commit assault?
I think policing would go a lot smoother for everyone if the rules were more clear cut:
- Officers cannot put their hands on (or point their weapons at) anyone until they determine that a significant type of law has been broken. This can include assault on the police officer, in those cases where the suspect swings first.
- Arrests can’t be made without a warrant. This includes putting someone in handcuffs “for their own safety” while they sit in the back of a cruiser. Unless, of course, a significant type of law was determined to be broken as described above.
- Before touching and/or arresting someone, the officer must clearly describe exactly why they are touching and/or arresting the person. This is where implied vs. explicit consent come in most clearly. Asking to search a person or vehicle is obtaining explicit consent. Having “probable cause” to search a vehicle is implied consent, but it’s like giving CPR to someone taking a nap. Rather than determining whether the person is truly unconscious the “rescuer” has decided on their own that they’re dying. In truth, taking an extra few moments to determine that they’re just sleeping isn’t going to hurt anything, as is waiting a few moments for a warrant or other confirmation from a reputable source that a search is valid.
The rules must be consistently enforced! A white girl and a black boy should not have such completely different interactions with police when rhey are both equally late for school! And honestly, when it comes to truancy, the police should be given a list of names of kids not in school on a particular day (only those kids with a confirmed history of truancy; so essentially a warrant has been issued on these particular kids) and they can only stop kids who match the description (photo??) of kids on that list.
Though, really, how involved should police be with truancy? I think this is a problem best solved by the school, parents, and courts. Rather that worrying about the bandaid issue of one kid skipping one day of school, there should be a stricter structure for the kids skipping multiple upon multiple days of school without just cause.