We’ve covered abuse committed by police and private law enforcement before, but today we have a story that is really going to shock you. A man in Utah has not only been tased for speeding, and then requesting to know what the cop was pulling him over for (with almost no warning before the taseing), but to top it all off, the Cop refused to read him his rights.
The victim of police brutality was a motorist named Jared Massey. Mr. Massey was pulled over on a Utah highway for allegedly speeding. When Mr. Massey asked the officer why he was being pulled over, and then to help him understand why he was accused of speeding before he signed the ticket, the officer ordered him to exit the vehicle. Mr. Massey was then asked to turn around and put his hands behind his back. Mr. Massey began walking back towards the car, obviously confused as to why he was being ordered to put his hands behind his back, and less than 10 seconds later was tased. While Mr. Massey was definitely acting a bit like an ass, I think we can all agree the cop was abusing his power. The Mr. Massey was neither violent, nor belligerent, so why did the cop feel so threatened that he had to tase this guy? Furthermore, why did the cop repeatedly refuse to:
- Read the Mr. Massey his rights.
- Tell the Mr. Massey the crime he was accused of, when it was requested.
Both of these are rights guaranteed to all American citizens. What is perhaps most alarming, however, is that despite the fact that the police officer accused of abuse is currently under an investigation by internal affairs, he is still on duty.
The first responsibility of a police officer is the safety of the community, including those individuals he suspects of a crime. Taseing an unarmed man who is accused of speeding is a breach of the social contract between police and the citizens they are supposed to protect. Police should use tasers as a weapon of last resort, not as a tool of personal convenience.
What can we do to prevent things like this in the future? Discuss.
Update: Mr. Massey discusses the incident, and his decision to post the video online.