“ No one should get used to their rights . Predicting with certainty which of them, if any, will go, or when, is impossible. ” — Mary R. Ziegler, legal historian
The Supreme Court has voiced: there will be no consequences pertaining to cops who brutalize the particular citizenry and no justice for the victims of police violence.
However the Court’s 2021-22 rulings on qualified immunity for police who else engage in official misconduct were largely overshadowed simply by its politically polarizing rulings on illigal baby killing, gun ownership and religion, they were no less devastating.
The doctrine associated with qualified immunity was intended to insulate government officials from frivolous lawsuits , but the real purpose of certified immunity is to ensure that authorities officials are not held responsible for official misconduct.
In Egbert sixth is v. Boule , the Court gave total immunity to Border Patrol real estate agents who beat up a bed-and-breakfast owner , in the process making out a massive exception towards the Fourth Amendment for boundary police (and by expansion, other federal police) who have unconstitutionally use excessive drive. As journalist Ian Millhiser concludes, “ Egbert v. Boule is a severe blow to the proposition that law enforcement must obey the Constitution. ”
In Cope v. Cogdill , the Court let stand a Fifth Circuit ruling that granted qualified immunity to prison officials who watched a suicidal inmate strangle themself without intervening or phoning for help. Likewise, in Ramirez v. Guadarrama , the Court let stand a lesser court ruling granting skilled immunity to police officers that fired their tasers at a suicidal man who experienced doused himself in gas, causing the man to rush into flames.
Both Cope and Ramirez move the goal posts for the kind of misconduct that merits competent immunity, suggesting that also sheer incompetence is excusable when it involves a police officer.
It’s a chilling reminder that in the American police state, ‘ we the people’ are at the particular mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a danger, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to ‘ serve and guard. ”
This is the way unarmed Americans keep declining at the hands of militarized police.
Under the guise associated with qualified immunity, there possess been no effects for police who destroyed a private home by bombarding it with tear gas grenades during a SWAT team raid long gone awry, or for the cop who mistakenly shot the 10-year-old boy after targeting and missing the non-threatening family dog, or for that arresting officer who sicced a police dog on a suspect who had already surrendered.
Certified immunity is how the police state stays in strength.
Although the Oughout. S. Supreme Court identified in Harlow sixth is v. Fitzgerald (1982) that suing government authorities for monetary damages is usually “ the only realistic avenue” of holding them accountable for abusing their offices and violating the Constitution, it has ostensibly given the police and other government agents a ok to shoot first and inquire questions later, as well as to übung, poke, pinch, taser, research, seize, strip and usually manhandle anyone they observe fit in almost any circumstance, most with the general blessing from the courts.
Be it police officers splitting through people’s front doors and shooting them dead in their houses or strip looking motorists quietly of the road, these cases of abuse are continually authenticated by a judicial system that kowtows to virtually every police demand, no matter how unjust, no matter how in opposition to the Constitution.
Make no error about it: this is exactly what constitutes “ law plus order” in the American police state .
These are the hallmarks of a police state: where police officers, no longer mere servants from the people entrusted with maintaining the peace, are element of an elite ruling class determined by keeping the masses corralled, under control, and treated such as suspects and enemies rather than citizens.
Unfortunately, we’ve been traveling this dangerous road for a long time now.
A review of critical courtroom rulings over the past several years, including rulings affirming qualified immunity protections for federal government agents by the U. S. Supreme Court, reveals the startling and steady pattern towards pro-police state rulings by an institution worried more with establishing order, protecting the ruling course, and insulating government brokers from charges of wrongdoing than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Cosmetic.
Indeed, since Reuters reports, qualified defenses “ has become a nearly failsafe tool in order to let police brutality proceed unpunished and deny victims their constitutional rights. ” Worse, since Reuters concluded, “ the particular Supreme Court has built certified immunity into an usually insurmountable police defense simply by intervening in cases mostly to favor the authorities . ”
For instance, police may claim qualified immunity to get warrantless searches. In Anderson v. Creighton , the Supreme Court dominated that FBI and condition law enforcement agents were eligible for qualified immunity protections after they were sued for raiding a private home without a warrant and holding family members with gunpoint, all in a search for a suspected bank robber who had been not in the house.
Police can state qualified immunity for using excessive force against protesters. In Saucier v. Katz , the Courtroom ruled in favor of federal law enforcement agents who forcefully tackled a protester as he attemptedto unfurl a banner at Vice President Gore’s politics rally. The Court reasoned that the officers acted fairly given the urgency associated with protecting the vice president.
Police can claim qualified defenses for shooting a running suspect in the back. In Brosseau v. Haugen , the Court dismissed a lawsuit against a police officer who shot Kenneth Haugen in the back as he moved into his car in order to flee from police. The Court ruled that in light associated with existing case law, the particular cop’s conduct fell within the “ hazy border between excessive and acceptable force” and so she did not violate clearly established law.
Police may claim qualified immunity to get shooting a mentally reduced person. In City of Bay area v. Sheehan , the Court ruled in favor of police who repeatedly shot Teresa Sheehan during the course of the mental health welfare examine. The Court ruled that it was not unreasonable for police to pepper spray plus shoot Sheehan multiple times after entering her room without a warrant and encountering the girl holding a knife.
Police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of legal cases. In Plumhoff v. Rickard , the U. S. Best Court declared that police officers who used deadly force to terminate an automobile chase were immune from the lawsuit . The officials were accused of unnecessarily resorting to deadly power by shooting multiple times in a man and his passenger within a stopped car, killing both individuals.
Police can stop, arrest plus search citizens without sensible suspicion or probable result in. In a 5-3 ruling in Utah v. Strieff , the Oughout. S. Supreme Court effectively gave police the go-ahead to embark on a fishing expedition of one’s person and property, rendering Americans completely vulnerable to the whims of any cop in the beat .
Police officers can stop vehicles based on “ anonymous” ideas or for “ suspicious” behavior such as having a reclined car seat or driving as well carefully. Within a 5-4 ruling in Navarette v. California , the Oughout. S. Supreme Court declared that police officers, under the guise of “ reasonable suspicion, ” can stop cars and question motorists based solely on anonymous tips , no matter how dubious, and whether or not they themselves observed any troubling behavior. Then in Condition v. Howard , the Kansas Supreme Court declared that road users who recline their car seats are guilty of suspicious behaviour and can end up being subject to warrantless searches simply by police. That ruling, coupled with other court rulings upholding warrantless searches and seizures by police renders a person’s car a Constitution-free area.
Us citizens have no protection against mandatory breathalyzer tests at a police checkpoint , although mandatory blood draws violate your fourth Amendment ( Birchfield v. North Dakota ). Police can also carry out sobriety and “ information-seeking” checkpoints ( The state of illinois v. Lidster and Mich. Dep’t of State Police v. Sitz ).
Police may forcibly take your DNA, whether you’ve been convicted of the crime. In Maryland v. California king , a divided U. S. Supreme Court driven that a person arrested for a crime who is supposed to be assumed innocent until proven guilty must submit to forcible extraction of their DNA. Once more the Court sided with all the guardians of the police state over the defenders of individual liberty in determining that DNA samples might be extracted from people arrested for “ serious” crimes. The end result from the ruling paves the way for any nationwide dragnet of potential foods targeted via DNA sample.
Police can use the “ panic for my life” rationale as an excuse for shooting unarmed individuals. Upon arriving on the scene of a nighttime traffic accident, an Alabama police officer shot a driver exiting his car, wrongly believing the wallet in his hand to be a gun . A report by the Justice Division found that half of the unarmed people shot by one police department over the seven-year span were “ shot because the officer saw something (like a cellphone) or some motion (like a person pulling at the waist of their pants) and misidentified it as a danger . ”
Police have totally free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as “ search justifies on leashes. ” In California v. Harris , a unanimous U. S. Supreme Court determined that police officers may use highly difficult to rely on drug-sniffing dogs to conduct warrantless searches of vehicles during schedule traffic stops. The ruling turns man’s best friend in to an extension of the police condition, provided the use of a K-9 device takes place within a reasonable period of time ( Rodriguez v. United States ).
Not only are police generally protected by qualified immunity, but police dogs are off the hook for wrongdoing. The Fourth Signal Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a officer who allowed a law enforcement dog to maul the homeless man innocent of any wrongdoing .
Police can subject Americans to strip searches, no matter the “ offense. ” A divided U. S. Supreme Court actually prioritized making life easier for overworked jail authorities over the basic right of Americans to become free from debasing strip queries. In its 5-4 ruling in Florence v. Burlington , the Court declared that any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i. e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a small traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail authorities, which involves exposing the genitals and the buttocks. This “ license to probe” has become being extended to roadside stops, as police officers throughout the country have begun executing roadside strip searches— some involving anal and genital probes— without any evidence of wrongdoing and without a warrant.
Police can break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home . In an 8-1 judgment in Kentucky v. King , the Oughout. S. Supreme Court placed their trust in the discernment of police officers, rather than in the dictates of the Constitution, when they gave police greater leeway to break in to homes or apartments with no warrant . Despite the fact that the authorities in question ended up pursuing the wrong suspect, invaded the wrong apartment and violated just about every tenet that stands between us and a police state, the particular Court sanctioned the warrantless raid, leaving Americans along with little real protection when confronted with all manner of abuses by police.
Police can use knock-and-talk tactics as a way of sidestepping the Fourth Change. Aggressive “ knock and talk” methods have become thinly veiled, warrantless exercises by which citizens are usually coerced and intimidated in to “ talking” with heavily armed police who “ knock” on their doors in the center of the night. Andrew Scott did not even get a chance to state no to such a heavy-handed request before he or she was gunned down by police that pounded aggressively on the incorrect door at 1: thirty a. m., failed to identify themselves as police, and after that repeatedly shot and wiped out the man when he clarified the door while holding that gun in self-defense.
Police can carry out no-knock raids if they believe announcing themselves would be dangerous. Police is able to do a “ no-knock” raid as long as they have a reasonable mistrust that knocking and launching their presence, under the particular circumstances, would be dangerous or futile or give residents a chance to destroy evidence of the crime ( Richards v. Wisconsin ). Legal ownership of a firearm is also enough to justify a no-knock raid by police ( Quinn v. Texas ). For instance, a Texas guy had his home subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team design forceful entry and raid based solely on the mistrust that there were legally-owned guns in his household. The homeowner was actually shot by police through their closed bedroom door .
Police can recklessly open fire on anyone that might be “ armed. ” Philando Castile was shot and killed during a schedule traffic stop allegedly over a broken taillight merely for telling police he had a conceal-and-carry permit. That’s all it took for police to take Castile four times in the presence associated with his girlfriend and the girl 4-year-old daughter. A unanimous Supreme Court declared in County of Los Angeles vs . Mendez that law enforcement should not be held liable for carelessly firing 15 times into a shack where a homeless couple had been sleeping because the grabbed their BB gun in protection, fearing they were being bombarded.
Law enforcement can destroy a home throughout a SWAT raid, even if the proprietor gives their consent in order to enter and search this. In West v. Winfield , the Supreme Court supplied cover to police right after they smashed the particular windows of Shaniz West’s home, punched holes in her walls and ceilings, and bombed the house with so much tear gas that it was uninhabitable for two months . All of this despite the fact that the believe they were pursuing was not at home and West, the homeowner, agreed to allow police to search the home to confirm that.
Police may suffocate someone, deliberately or even inadvertently, in the process of subduing them. “ I can’t breathe” has become a rallying cry following the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd, both of whom died after getting placed in a chokehold by police . Dozens a lot more have died in comparable circumstances at the hands of police that have faced little repercussions for the deaths.
Obviously, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the United states People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries , the system is rigged.
Because the system is rigged, because the government is dodgy, and because the U. H. Supreme Court has regularly chosen to protect the police in the expense of the people, we have been dealing with a nationwide pandemic of court-sanctioned police assault carried out with impunity against individuals posing little or no real threat.
This is how “ we the people” keep losing.