Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Taser victim wins settlement over police abuse.

Last November we posted a video. In that video you see Utah police officer, Jon Gardner, needlessly taser a man who questioned why he was being stopped. He tried to point out that the cop actually started to pull him over BEFORE the speed limit changed. In other words. the driver was driving legally.

When the film of this ugly incident was put on Youtube an “official” investigation began. Of course, such investigations are always shams. They always turn out the same way. People are pissed so the cops announce they will investigate to calm everyone down. Then once people have forgotten that our “finest” were once again acting like mentally-disturbed bullies the police announce that the thug in uniform was “cleared” of all wrongdoing. Hell, the abuse can be blatant and filmed and they still go through the routine cover-up for a bad cop.

And that is what happened in Utah. The police officer was cleared and the victim of his attack was forced to pay a traffic fine even though he didn’t break the law.

Well, the victim in this case, Jared Massey, filed a law suit. Guess what? The state settled and admitted guilt. Once these cases get out of the hands of the police investigating their own, and go to an unbiased court, then the cops are in trouble. Why the settlement?

Apparently prosecutors in Tooele County looked at the case and admitted that Massey had not actually violated any law. He was pulled over while driving legally. So the cop was wrong from the start. Massey was correct when he tried to showed the police officer that the officer was wrong to ticket him. Because Massey disagreed with the police officer he was subjected to the painful, and potentially lethal, use of the cops favorite new toy, the taser.

A few days after prosecutors admitted that Massey had not done anything illegal the State of Utah decided to settle the case. They paid Massey attorney’s fees plus $40,000. Yet, and this incredible, they settled while still contending that the thug in uniform was in the right to do what he did. They say they can understand people were upset but said it was “a close case”.

Gardner, who ought to be in jail for assault, goes on as normal. Nothing is going to be done to him. It is right for Massey to receive compensation but I don’t see what the taxpayers of Utah ought to be required to fork out money. The people responsible for this were all in the Utah Highway Patrol. It was member of the Highway Patrol who pulled him over without cause and tasered him for daring to question that action. It was the Highway Patrol that then actively covered up the crime by claiming it was justified.

Here is an idea of how to deal with settlements made to individuals who have been victimized by the deranged individuals who now routinely inhabit America’s police departments. I suggest that all settlements be deducted directly from the salaries of all members of the police department in question. I would take 25% of the total amount out of the salary of the individual officer who committed the assault. And then I would spread the rest, proportionally, among all police officers in that department.

The taxpayers did not assault Mr. Massey, it was the Utah Highway Patrol that did that. Taxpayers are paying the price while the police basically get off free on this. If police officers saws their salaries docked to pay settlements to citizens assaulted by their fellow cops I would bet that such assaults would become very rare indeed. Cops would be far less willing to cover-up and lie for their fellow officers. They wouldn’t be as likely to turn a blind eye to the abuse that they know is routine. They would have an economic incentive to see to it that bad cops don’t misbehave.

As things currently stand their incentives are to cover-up and lie. They don’t lose anything if a settlement is reached because they acted like common criminals. The taxpayers paid the whole cost. And since cops earn their salaries from the state they are net recipients of tax money not payers. The police force won’t discipline them -- that has been proven over and over. So why rape the taxpayers for the actions of cops? If cops do the crime let them pay the penalty.

This sort of penalty system would cause them to squeal like stuck pigs -- which is precisely what they would be. They’d be stuck with the cost of their actions instead of the taxpayers. How anxious do you think they would be taser people if they knew that a loss in civil court would come out of their paychecks? I suspect they would suddenly discover that they don’t need to use violence nearly as often as they do now.

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