Merely Being Arrested Can Ruin Your Life
William Norman Grigg
Recently by William Norman Grigg: Sympathy
from the Devil
have a right to resist arrest, insists
Des Moines-based attorney Harley Erbe (who is wrong,
of course). There are two reasons why Mundanes must immediately
submit to commands issued by the states costumed
enforcers, Erbe explains:
officers safety is a [sic] paramount consideration. People
always think that their arrests are unfair or unlawful; if citizens
then had a right to duke it out with law enforcement every time
they held that belief then a lot of officers and citizens would
The word paramount
means supreme. Thus Erbe is saying that whenever an
armed state functionary decides to abduct you at gunpoint, his
safety is always the foremost consideration.
continues, the streets are not the time or place for a debate
on the legality of an arrest or whether the arrestee has committed
a crime. Those are matters to be determined in courtrooms by judges
This is a variant
of the advice that used to be offered to rape victims: Its
safer to submit than to fight back, because resisting will only
make matters worse. It also ignores the fact that merely being arrested
is sufficient to ruin an innocent persons life or at
least to steal a considerable portion of it. This is underscored
by the case of Pittsburgh resident Sara Reedy, who was both the
victim of a sexual assault and an unlawful arrest.
at the time a 19-year-old expectant mother was robbed
and sexually assaulted at gunpoint while working at a convenience
store. When the police interviewed her in the hospital, they refused
to believe her account, insisting that she had invented the story
in order to cover for the theft of about $600 from the till. Rather
than pursuing Reedys assailant, the Pittsburgh police detective
who belonged to an agency known
to harbor rapists
in its ranks arrested her and charged her with robbery and
"false reporting." Although Reedy wasn't prosecuted, she
lost her job and, eventually, her marriage.
later, the criminal who assaulted Reedy was arrested after he forced
himself on another victim. The perpetrator eventually confessed
to a number of earlier assaults, including the one against Reedy.
She spent seven years and a great deal of money seeking redress
through the courts, eventually winning a large civil settlement
that fell short of adequately compensating her for what she had
recent investigation by the Gainesville Sun found that
local police agencies make hundreds of entirely unnecessary arrests
every year. The victims are arrested without charge, but the arrest
is instantly noted in databases that are used for background checks
for employment and housing. Even if the victims criminal record
is expunged, the digital trail cannot be erased.
Many of those
arrests are summary punishment for contempt of cop.
Others are made for cynical reasons related to career advancement
within the states punitive priesthood.
Jeff McAdams of the Gainesville Police Department, who is president
of the Gator Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, told the Sun
that GPD Chief Tony Jones expects his officers to take control
of their zones which means making exemplary arrests
intended to send a message, rather than led to criminal prosecutions.
He also explained that needless arrests of this kind are encouraged
by supervisors and that building a statistically impressive arrest
record is a key to receiving officer of the month awards
and similar honors.
defense attorney Craig DeThomasis told the Sun, We
currently live in a world where an arrest destroys somebodys
life. Thats a small price to pay, apparently, to ensure
the safety and enhance the career prospects of the incomparably
precious people who compose the states enforcement caste.
Norman Grigg [send him mail]
publishes the Pro
Libertate blog and hosts the Pro
Libertate radio program.
© 2012 William Norman Grigg
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