Does dialing 911 actually protect crime victims?
Researchers found that less than 5 percent of all calls dispatched to police are made quickly enough for officers to stop a crime or arrest a suspect. The average response time to a 9-1-1 call is 10 minutes nationwide. The 911 bottom line: “cases in which 911 technology makes a substantial difference in the outcome of criminal events are extraordinarily rare.”
It’s not just that the police cannot protect you. They don’t even have to come when you call. In most states the government and police owe no legal duty to protect individual citizens from criminal attack. The District of Columbia’s highest court spelled out plainly the “fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.”
The law is similar in most states. A Kansas statute precludes citizens from suing the government or the police for negligently failing to enforce the law or for failing to provide police or fire protection. A California law states that “neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for failure to establish a police department or otherwise provide police protection service.” As one California appellate court wrote, “police officers have no affirmative statutory duty to do anything.”
The state legislatures and courts protect government entities and police departments from civil liability for failing to provide adequate police protection. Some states invoke the “sovereign immunity” defense, a throwback to the days when the subjects were forbidden to sue the king. Other states have statutes that prevent legal challenges to police “discretionary” functions. Courts preclude lawsuits in those states by holding that answering emergency calls or providing police protection are “discretionary” functions.
Many states evade liability by relying on the ironically named “public duty” doctrine. Like a George Orwell slogan, that doctrine says: police owe a duty to protect the public in general, but not to protect any particular individual.
A ten year old Virginia boy who was arrested earlier this month for taking a plastic toy gun to school is facing a potentially permanent criminal record over the incident.
The boy, who remains unnamed by the media, hit headlines after Douglas MacArthur Elementary School officials searched his bag and found an orange tipped plastic toy gun, following complaints from parents who said their children had seen the boy playing with the fake firearm on the school bus.
Instead of exercising common sense, the school officials called the police, and the boy was taken into custody.
Although this seems to be one of the most extreme cases of children being disciplined over toy guns and gun gestures, it is far from isolated. As we have seen over the past few weeks, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, it is now a daily occurrence.
Ealier this month, a student in Florence, Arizona was suspended because he had a picture of a gun on his computer.
At the beginning of the month, it was reported that a six-year-old kindergartner in South Carolina was suspended for taking a small transparent plastic toy gun to school for a show and tell.
A day before that incident we reported on the five-year-old in Massachusetts who faced suspension for building a small toy gun out of lego bricks and play-shooting his classmates.
We also reported on an incident that erupted when a discussion between two children about a toy nerf gun caused a lockdown and a massive armed police response at two elementary schools in the Bronx.
In another incident, a Long Island high school was also placed on lock down for 6 hours in response to a student carrying a toy nerf gun.
In yet another recent incident, a five-year-old girl was suspended after a three hour grilling, and described as a “terroristic threat” when she brought a pink bubble gun to school.
A South Philadelphia elementary student was searched in front of classmates and threatened with arrest after she mistakenly brought a “paper gun” to school.
A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his elementary school in Maryland for making a gun gesture with his hand and saying “pow”.
Days after that incident, another two 6-year-olds in Maryland were suspended for pointing their fingers into gun shapes while playing “cops and robbers” with each other.
In Oklahoma, a five-year-old boy was also recently suspended for making a gun gesture with his hand.
And finally, a 13-year-old Middle School seventh grade student in Pennsylvania was also suspended for the same hand gesture.
When I heard about three police offers who wound up using a taser on a pregnant woman in Seattle, my first thought was that the story was some kind of a joke. Cops tasering a pregnant woman? In some sort of attempt to subdue her? For real?! You gotta be kidding me.
Apparently these three officers became enraged when they pulled Malaika Brooks over for a moving violation while driving her 11-year-old son to school, and she refused to sign the ticket they gave her because she didn’t want to admit being guilty when she didn’t feel she’d done anything wrong. But in the state of Washington, it’s a crime to refuse to sign a ticket — so they proceeded to arrest her. When Malaika then refused to get out of her car because she was in her last trimester of pregnancy, the cops must have felt really threatened — because that’s when they tased her on her leg, arm, and neck.
And that’s where this case gets even crazier. Not only was she convicted for not signing the ticket, but after suing the officers because of pain and scars the taser left behind — the circuit court ruled in their favor! But apparently getting away with using a stun gun on a preggo wasn’t enough for these guys, because now they’ve appealed their case to the Supreme Court in the hopes of getting a final ruling that they were not in the wrong by tasing Brooks.
Channel 2 Action News has learned a DeKalb County police officer is under criminal investigation for allegedly kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach, then charging her with obstruction of a police officer.
Records show the department never investigated the incident and five supervising officers
signed off on the officer's actions.
Dozier was nearly
nine months pregnant and helping to calm down her brother who was arguing with police. They used a Taser on him, and she cried out.
That's when Officer Jerad Wheeler used what he described in his report as
"a front push-kick to the abdomen, as he was taught to do at the academy."
A Minnesota farmer who distributes raw milk is due to stand trial next week for food code violations in a case that pits the government's efforts to ensure a safe food supply against consumers' rights to choose what they drink and eat.
Alvin Schlangen, 54, is an organic egg farmer in Freeport, about 75 miles northwest of Minneapolis. He doesn't produce milk himself but operates a private club called Freedom Farms Co-op with roughly 130 members who buy various farm products including raw milk. Schlangen picks up milk products from an Amish farm and delivers them to consumers, mainly in the Twin Cities.
Schlangen is charged in Hennepin County with four misdemeanors, including selling unpasteurized milk products or possessing them for sale. The criminal complaint says inspectors last year searched a Minneapolis warehouse leased by Schlangen, where they found unpasteurized milk and other foods. They also found receipts from sales Schlangen made even though he didn't have a license to sell, handle or store food. Each count carries a maximum penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Schlangen said he's doing nothing wrong because his members lease the animals that provide the raw milk, so there's no purchase or sale.