Alleged Police Abuse Caught On Tape

CBS News

Lisa Tanner was cited on March 24, 2005, for playing music too loud at her house and was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. Lisa says she asked for a breathalyzer test and was refused. She was banging on a window. Police say she was “a possible danger to herself.” Inside her cell, she was ordered to get on both knees. When she refused, four officers entered the cell and tied her down in a device called a “pro-straint” chair.

This case may not be an isolated incident since other people treated in the same way might not have had the connections or the resources to hold the police accountable that are available to a woman whose father is a prosecutor.

From what I read about this case, it like so many others, seems to be a procedural and training problem rather than a case of rogue officers. That makes it more problematic since the situation won’t be resolved by disciplining or firing police officers.

What makes it even more serious is that improper restraint by multiple officers can lead to cutting off the restrained person’s airway. To a poorly trained officer, the person’s frantic struggle to breathe may be seen as violence and result in more pressure being applied.

That’s a deadly combination. And one that puts those who are trying to uphold the law and our justice system at risk of becoming scapegoats for problems they didn’t purposely get involved in.

As my other posts related to police/authority abuse or misconduct show, abusive and unethical treatment have a greater scope than any one agency or police force:

Ethics and the defense attorney who represents alleged rapists
Ethical interrogations and the rape victim
Abu Ghraib dog handler gets 6 months for refusing to be “soft and cuddly”

Also posted on my blog, http://abyss2hope.blogspot.com

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7 Responses to Alleged Police Abuse Caught On Tape

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  3. 3
    Robert says:

    I don’t see what the problem is. A prisoner refused to obey lawful orders. So they restrained her. She then escaped the restraints; they came in greater force and restrained her thoroughly. When she “passed out”, they immediately checked her vital signs and even though they thought she was faking it, they called paramedics and got her medical attention. They didn’t break any bones. They didn’t hit her. Her behavior in the cell was erratic and out of control. The actions of the officers appear to be professional, reasonable and proportional to her actions.

    There’s enough real police misbehavior – people who say “yes sir” and do what the officer tells them, and still get roughed up – without valorizing the story of this woman. She appears to be in the wrong.

  4. 4
    FurryCatHerder says:

    Before I agree with Robert I’d like to know what the woman was told. I’d also like to know who else was present so that she’d have had a sense that she wasn’t about to be abused by the police, because we know that does happen to women in prison and because we know that other women know that. In particular, was she told why she had to get on her knees? Was she given an opportunity to explain why she didn’t want to? Perhaps if she actually was drunk she felt she’d fall down. Was a female corrections officer there as a witness to make sure the officer didn’t do anything inappropriate? There are too many instances — such as the boy who recently died in a boot camp — of people who can’t comply with “lawful orders” being further abused, and in some cases killed, because police took noncompliance as an act of violence.

    On the other hand, and why I’m inclined to agree with Robert, is that I’ve known people whose parents or relatives were “friends” or relatives of the police and they tend to think that rules which apply to others don’t apply to themselves.

  5. 5
    Radfem says:

    Yeah, I’d like to know why they ordered her to get on her knees too. Then when she didn’t, they put her in a restraining chair and then left her there, which makes me question the original order more. Two LE officers did get indicted though, which means there was evidence of something wrong. It’s not too difficult to get grand jury indictments, due to the procedure being so one-sided, but it’s never easy to get charges or indictments against LE officers including those in jail corrections.

    What makes it even more serious is that improper restraint by multiple officers can lead to cutting off the restrained person’s airway. To a poorly trained officer, the person’s frantic struggle to breathe may be seen as violence and result in more pressure being applied.

    Yes, this has long been a major problem with the carotid restraint and led to it being either banned by many LE agencies or banned unless it was properly performed. The Carotid improperly done can cause respiratory and cardiac problems, both which can lead to death as well as other injuries including broken and/or dislocated cervical vertaebrae. It is also risky in people using stimulant drugs including meth. Even “properly” done, it’s still debatable whether it is truly a “less lethal” option with different opinions.

    There are too many instances … such as the boy who recently died in a boot camp … of people who can’t comply with “lawful orders” being further abused, and in some cases killed, because police took noncompliance as an act of violence.

    Yes, this is true and a very important point. It can apply to the mentally ill, autistic, developmently/mentally disabled, medically distressed(seizures, diabetic episodes), deaf or hearing impaired(if verbal commands are given, or if deaf people touch officers), as well as people intoxicated or under the influence of legal or illegal drugs. It’s one reason why more and more LE agencies are investing in the creation of crisis intervention teams geared towards mental illness, for example. The most famous program was started by Memphis PD in 1988.

  6. 6
    Jason Ortiz says:

    I being a victim of police abuse and being beaten to “confess” to a crime I never commited and having limited resources at the time to challenge the system find this blog necessary. There is a destructive nature in the police force out there and not all are bad but no one should abused by officers. We are supposed to be protected by the 4th, 14th and 5th ammendments in the U.S.A but are often beaten for being a feww shades unwhite. Good blog. Ill be back, feel free to visit mine. You will like it and ironically enough in Sunday evening we are postinga topic simlar but different. You will truly enjoy it. http://www.juddandjasonspeakout.com