Video Of The Day – Don’t Tase Me Bro Edition

This one takes a few minutes to get interesting, but somewhere after the 2:00 minute mark Jared Massey gets tasered by a Utah Highway Patrol officer for refusing to sign a speeding ticket.

Granted the motorist was being a bit of an ass, but weren’t tasers supposed to be a non-lethal option alternative to firing at a suspect? Of course in the two months since this incident occured the Utah Highway Patrol wasn’t very interested in taking action in this case. It was only after Massey released the in-dash recording (obtained via public records request) that they got serious about investigating the incident.

From an article written before the first AP story hit we learn that Massey will be suing, Utah authorities really were sitting on the case, and that the officer is unlikely to be punished…

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  • http://politics.wizbangblog.com/ Jim Addison

    Actually, I cannot see any fault on the part of the officer. He presented the man with a traffic ticket, and the guy refused to sign it – which, in most states, is your “promise to appear” in court or pay the fine beforehand, for which you are granted “Own Recognizance” bail for the offense.

    If you refuse to sign the summons, the officer MUST arrest and book you before a magistrate. He has no other choice once he has written the summons.

    The guy was being a total jerk. He wanted to go back to the first speed limit sign he sped by – fine, idiot, but AFTER you sign the summons. That’s for the judge or jury to decide on. He also initially refused to even give his driver’s license and registration to the cop.

    Once told he was under arrest and ordered to turn around, he began to walk away. WHAT should the officer do? Let him go? PLEAD with him to comply with a lawful order? Hum until the next Harmonic Convergence? Shoot him?

    BALONEY. Traffic stop, you are obliged to show your license in every state. Most require the summons be signed. All require that when a cop arrests you, you comply with his directions.

    If a jury could be so utterly moronic as to award this punk damages, God help us.

  • myself

    I watched the video a total of 14 times. Even going so far as to replay parts over and over several times just to make sure I was correct in what I was seeing on the video at certain points. I then looked up the UHP and sent them an email with my thoughts. Let me state that I am not exempting the driver from being a prick, but he does have the right to stand up for his rights when he thinks they are being violated. What follows is the email I sent them.:

    I just finished watching a video that is on the web, where one of your officers tazered a man for alleged speeding. I find it morally reprehensive that your officer did this.

    *First he never told the man HOW fast he was speeding.

    *Second, I’m pretty sure that you are NOT REQUIRED to sign a citation. I believe that it is only stating that you agree to appear in court, and IF you don’t show up, THEN there will be a warrant issued.

    *Third, I don’t believe that not signing is an arrestable offence.

    *Fourth, the officer pulled his tazer out AS he was saying ‘Turn around’, (time marker 2.29 on the internet video). My understanding is that the Tazer was approved as a non-lethal option to dealing with UNCONTROLLABLE suspects. That they should only be used when the officer feels that he is in imminent danger to his person. I would like to know what danger the officer was in from a person who was standing up for their rights, by simply not signing a citation.

    *Fifth, the officer LIED to the man’s wife by telling her that he had to tazer her husband because he was trying to flee. You can clearly see that up until the officer pulled his tazer, the man had no intention of fleeing. It was only after the officer pointed his tazer at the man did the man start to back away from the officer. I would have probably done the same if faced with an officer who was behaving the same way. The man seemed confused by the officer’s actions about pulling a tazer on him. He clearly wanted to discuss the matter about why he didn’t think he should be getting a citation in the first place, much less have to sign one. It was the officer who aggravated the situation. He also lied to the wife by telling her that he (officer) told her husband that he was being placed under arrest and he (husband) would listen. The officer never told the husband that he was being placed under arrest until after he was on the ground (from being tazered).

    *Sixth, after everything, the officer did a quick search of the man’s vehicle. Please explain to me why it was deemed needed to do this if the only thing the officer could cite was 1. Speeding and 2. Not signing a citation.
    Is it policy to search the vehicle after ANY arrest, or was the officer concerned that there was contraband in the vehicle and this was the reason for the refusal to sign, or was the officer just looking for anything else he could to try to shore up his reason for the arrest. (i.e. ‘I just had a feeling that there was something in there, that’s why he was acting that way’). Because if it’s not the first reason, then your officer is either stupid or corrupt. Either way, if it’s not policy, then your officer needs to be dealt with to help him understand citizen’s rights. If it IS policy to search the vehicle after any arrest, then your officer did a shoddy job of searching. He barely looked anywhere and avoided the rear altogether.

    *Seven, your officer lied to the other officer on the scene. Your officer told the other officer that when the man refused to sign the citation, he (officer) said, ‘That’s fine’. This is an outright lie. Your officer was adamant about the man signing, and refused to take no for an answer (this being the reason for the arrest in the first place). Your officer also told the other officer that he told the man to put his hands behind his back twice and the man was jumping around and that was when he decided to pull the tazer out and use it. Your officer clearly does not understand the chronicle order of events and clearly is making up about the man jumping around. I believe that he’s trying to cover his behavior with alleged suspicious behavior of the man (husband). He also never told the man (husband) that he would use the tazer if the man didn’t comply.

    I know that the video on the net is only part of the entire event. But there is enough to clearly see what happened. Your officer was in the wrong and tried to cover up his behavior after the fact to the other officers. I believe your officer violated the man’s civil rights. I know that you have an investigation ongoing about these events. I will be looking for any news concerning this and the outcome. If the man was speeding, fine, the officer was correct in issuing a citation. But he was completely wrong in how he handled everything else.

  • Bob

    Some spoiled little asshole thinks he can bitch his way out of a ticket and then goes and turns his back on a police officer who told him he was under arrest and attempts to get back into the car. What a fricking idiot!

    I bet he complies next time he is caught speeding.

  • Imhotep

    This officer is clearly on a power trip! The officer could have de-escalated the situation by letting the man drive off and mail him the summons later, after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
    That didn’t happen. The officer, in his worst judgement, let the driver out of the car (stupid) without backup. Then tasered him for “not complying”. Any attorney can easily argue that the driver was placed in immenent danger by being tazed so close to the roadway. An individual being tazed has no control over their muscles and may have flailed into the roadway being struck by the other (clearly speeding) vehicles.

    This cop needs more training. He may even be releived of his police duties forever.

    Both men and the woman were out of control.

  • jpm100

    Convergence of a______s.

    Neither one did anything to avert this from escalating. In fact, I’d say the guy was baiting the cop and the cop could wait to fall for it.

  • 914

    Sue the F out of them Jared!!

  • LiberalNitemare

    The cop is clearly in the wrong here.

    You cant tase someone for being an ass and you cant lie about why you tased them (especially when there is dashboard camera involved)

    Utah needs to get that Cop off the street before he screws up again.

  • LaMedusa

    Seems to be two conflicts going on here. If that guy was really going 28 miles over the speed limit, he was being asinine to begin with. He could have saved a lot of time by just complying with the officer and signing the ticket.

    The officer, on the other hand was displaying a real lack of patience like he was having a really off day. We don’t get a good look at the driver’s face and mannerisms when the officer first goes up to the window. The driver may have been already mocking him with an attitude of disrespect, thus setting up a potential confrontation. That’s what’s missing here, is the whole first impression the driver gave the officer.

    We never do hear the Miranda rights given in the video, but this is required before any questioning of a person in custody.

  • jp2

    “Actually, I cannot see any fault on the part of the officer.”

    Truly a sad sign of what’s happened to our country.

  • Les Nessman

    Well, which is it?

    If you refuse to sign the summons, the officer MUST arrest and book you before a magistrate. He has no other choice once he has written the summons

    vs.

    I’m pretty sure that you are NOT REQUIRED to sign a citation. I believe that it is only stating that you agree to appear in court, and IF you don’t show up, THEN there will be a warrant issued.

    If the former is true, then the officer may be excused for tazering the perp. If the latter is true, the officer committed a crime.

  • Gmac

    “but weren’t tasers supposed to be a non-lethal option alternative to firing at a suspect”

    The last time I saw getting hit with 50 – 100 KV can prove to be very lethal. Case in point just last week a Polish citizen in Canada died after being tasered not to mention the other incidents where the ‘suspect’ died during or after being tased. Who made these goons judge, jury and executioner?

    If it was up to me these weapons would require an independent civilian incident review board every time they were used. If a death occurs the killer should go before a jury just like anyone else would for commiting a crime.

    When did being a LEO give anyone the right to believe they were above the laws they were supposed to be enforcing ?

    I hope they get hit with a stiff jury settlement, this kind of arrogance has to stop.

  • http://everywhere.com OregonMuse

    This video is a perfect illustration of why arming the police with “non-lethal” weapons is a bad idea: these kinds of weapons can and will be overused. The only reason an officer should draw his or her weapon is to prevent the suspect from causing physical harm to the officer or to other citizens.

    And I don’t care how big of an asshole the guy was to the police (as he clearly was), he was clearly no threat to anything except the cop’s ego. The tasering was clearly wrong, and as far as I’m concerned, the officer should have been severely disciplined, up to and including termination.

    As I get older, I am getting less and less sympathetic to police officers. Yes, I know their jobs are dangerous and yes, I know they’re putting their lives on the line every day; who knows what kind of nutjobs they’re going to encounter, so I used to cut them all kinds of slack. But with the no-knock, guns-drawn searches for minor drug busts, bad cops who are allowed to carry on for years without any consequences, the para-militarization of police departments, and this sort of abuse under the authority of a badge by a complete moron of a cop who couldn’t remain professional under pressure, I find myself favoring policies that place tighter and tighter controls on law enforcement.

  • BillyBob

    The polish guy in Vancouver did not die from being tazed. He suffocated cause the asshole canuck cop was using his knee to hold the guy down by the neck. Crush larynx, not the zapping did him in.

  • Rich in Maine

    I think Barney Fife here, needs a new line of work.

  • CharlieDontSurf

    OregonMuse nailed it. Sure there are plenty of good cops out there, and their job is tough, but nevertheless that IS the job, if you can’t stand the heat…
    Unfortunately, the standards have lapsed and we are seeing otherwise unemployable punks on power trips, given a gun and a badge after 10 weeks of training. Madness. It is easy to end problems with a weapon, anyone can do it. I expect the police to be problem solvers and use weapons as a last resort to protect life and limb. I fear the professional cop is a thing of the past and too often unarmed suspects wind up dead at the hands of those pledged “to protect and serve”.

  • http://lifetrek.blogspot.com LifeTrek

    Kevin, you need to watch that video again. The driver was fumbling with his pocket – repeatedly.

    He points with his unnatural arm, the one that would hide/cover/attempt to distract from what he was doing with the pocket and continues to fumble with whatever he had there, right up to the point he was tased. He could have easily been getting a weapon.

    Don’t know what happened to my 2 earlier comments, some people saw them but they are gone now.
    DKK

    Your comments are being detected as spam, maybe
    due to your email address, spamgourmet.
    …comment editor

  • The Listkeeper

    I suppose the officer could have just used the classic beat down in arresting this guy. It was interesting seeing how many non-existant rights the guy claimed in trying to avoid citation and arrest.

  • BlacquesJacquesShellacques

    “The driver may have been already mocking him with an attitude of disrespect…”

    There is no reason to “respect” a police officer, just because he is a police officer.

    A police officer must be able to deal with mocking, with disrespect and even with low level violence professionally without losing control and without “undue force”. The “undue force” rule will be used against a citizen with relentless vigor if he loses his cool and there is no reason a police officer should not have an even higher standard.

  • LaMedusa

    “A police officer must be able to deal with mocking, with disrespect and even with low level violence professionally without losing control and without “undue force”.”

    You’re right about the officer being able to keep a cool head, but this is what I am talking about. The article states:

    “The trooper approaches the driver’s side window and twice asks for Massey’s driver’s license and registration. The second time, the trooper is audibly frustrated, saying says, “Driver’s license and registration, like now.”

    I have a lot of respect for police in general because even a traffic cop has a potentially dangerous job. Maybe I was thinking of this too much originally, but watching the video again, and reading this comment gave me second thoughts on how he handled the driver:

    “The driver was fumbling with his pocket – repeatedly.”

    The one thing that bothered me about the cop was how he exaggerated the driver’s movement just to cover himself. All he really had to do was state exactly what happened.

  • 914

    If He had signed the ticket, is this not an admission of guilt that can be used against Him in court? Maybe He will decide to fight the citation that Opey was tryin to have Him sign..

    Why did He not just claim to be an illegal alien? then everything woulda been just rosy.

  • Spurwing Plover

    Shoot someone in the backside with a phaser set on heavy stun and watch the effect
    depp=true

  • Dennis P. Skea

    Been reading the comments. Interesting, and here’s my 2 cents. First, this cop is a 14 year veteran, so I will “cut him some slack”. Second, Common sense says that the driver should not be an idiot. Acting like an ass solves nothing, (and in this case got him tazed). My vote: Cop 1, driver 0

  • http://lifetrek.blogspot.com LifeTrek

    Comment editor – can you restore the previous messages? I have now signed in to the Typekey system

    In addition Spamgourmet is a perfectly legitimate Email and is one of the best ways to return control of your Email back to you. It is free and it eats spam! In addition it allows you to provide a new and working Email address for every site you comment on. Thus allowing you to track where spam is being mined or generated.
    DKK

  • http://bobmccarty.com Bob

    Jared Massey should have been wearing a “Don’t taze me, bro!”™ t-shirt to ensure his dislike for tasers was properly conveyed to the Utah State Trooper.

  • http://www.screenshotblog.blogspot.com wavemaker

    According to Utah Code 53-5-705, there are two choices when presented with a citation by a police officer. You either give your “personal recognizance” (i.e., you sign the ticket, which signature is an adimssion of nothing but only an acknowledgement of receipt of the citation and a promise to appear at the assigned hearing time and date), or you are immediately taken into custody.

    So no, the fool didn’t have to sign the ticket, if he wanted to be immediately taken into custody.

    Here’s my question. When a police officer tells one to do something and points a taser at him, how stupid does he have to be to ask “what’s wrong with you” and start walking back to his car?

    I mean, really.

  • cliff

    The officer may have been justified in arresting him, depending on the outcome of:

    If you refuse to sign the summons, the officer MUST arrest and book you before a magistrate. He has no other choice once he has written the summons

    vs.

    I’m pretty sure that you are NOT REQUIRED to sign a citation. I believe that it is only stating that you agree to appear in court, and IF you don’t show up, THEN there will be a warrant issued.

    I’m pretty sure the latter is true, although I’m not sure.

    But even if the first is true, tasing him was WAY over the line. He said turn around and put your hands behind your back, he was turned around, he looked to be in the process of leaning against the car and putting his hands behind his back when the officer tased him. Even if he was being an a$$, this isn’t the wild west, this isn’t shoot first and ask questions later. There was no way in hell he could reasonably interpreted the guy as being dangerous at that point.

    I’m all for giving cops a lot of leeway, I thought they were TOO lienient on the “Don’t taze me bro!” kid, for example, but in this case, there is no way in hell you can tell me this was anything but a cop on a powertrip.

  • ravenshrike

    Cop was in the wrong, given that the ultimatum was issued(You WILL sign this citation) without the accompanying penalty(or you will be arrested) You have to present the consequences for anything you demand of a civilian, at least until you announce you are arresting them, at which point your rights should be read to you. Moreover, he wasn’t fumbling for anything, unless it was a throwing knife he was going to throw at the officer 2 fingered(A tad unlikely). Then he starts to threaten the woman, before he stops(3 minute mark). BIG NO NO. Police officers DO NOT THREATEN uninvolved civilians. Especially since it sounded like he was going to threaten to taze her. The cop clearly had decided to use the tazer before arresting the suspect. It was the first thing he reached for, not his handcuffs. As well, as noted above, he clearly tazed him in an extremely unsafe area in a completely non-dangerous situation. He then goes on to say “Well, you know what, you should have followed my instructions” The officer is not the law. He is an agent of the law, whom in certain situations is empowered to act on the laws behalf. Apart from stopping and writing the citation, the officer had no other powers at that time. Then there was the subsequent bullshit search and repeated lying/exaggeration by the cop following the rest. All the cop had to do was have the suspect ride along to the first “supposed” speed limit sign, and the guy would have signed the ticket. That he didn’t, and then lied about the rest, suggests the cop was both way out of line and knew it.

  • http://everywhere.com OregonMuse

    Here’s my question. When a police officer tells one to do something and points a taser at him, how stupid does he have to be to ask “what’s wrong with you” and start walking back to his car?

    The driver was an unbelievably clueless butthead, no question. But I thought police officers received training on how to deal with these unbelievably clueless buttheads, which, I would think, would not include tasering the butthead because he won’t sign a traffic citation.

    Even though the driver was a butthead, he was not physically violent in any way, he did not have a weapon, and the only thing “threatened” here was the cop’s ego.

    As has been pointed out, signing a citation is only a promise to appear before the traffic court. Therefore, if the driver refuses to do so, the proper police response is to effect an immediate arrest.

    The driver was a butthead, the cop was a butthead, but the greater responsibility is on the cop because he has been entrusted with a position of authority. Part of his responsibilities as a officer of the law is to defuse these sorts of situations, which he utterly failed to do.

  • http://everywhere.com OregonMuse

    All the cop had to do was have the suspect ride along to the first “supposed” speed limit sign, and the guy would have signed the ticket.

    This would give the butthead too much control of the situation, which cops understandably don’t want to do. Plus, there’s no guarantee that this would have placated him, as I suspect it would not have. Another one of the cop’s mistakes was to engage the butthead in an argument over whether he was speeding or not. The proper response to the butthead’s complaints about what speed limit sign was in effect would be for the cop to tell him “you can explain your side of the story to the judge.”

  • http://www.screenshotblog.blogspot.com wavemaker

    cliff, you need to watch more closely.

    When the driver refuses to sign the ticket (he should have had it explained what the signing means and what happens if he doesn’t), the cop directs him to exit the car and instructs him to put his hands on the cruiser, essentially initiating the arrest process that is the only alternative to signing the ticket under Utah law (see citation above). At that point, the driver refuses, says “what the hell is wrong with you” and is walking back toward his car, turning his back to the cop. He is in NO WAY “in the process of leaning against the car and putting his hands behind his back when the officer tased him.” He is, in fact, blatantly ignoring the lawful command of a police officer and moving toward his vehicle.

    Now, since that is indisputably what is happening (if you want to disagree, watch before you do), I ask you — what is a police officer to do when someone refuses a command and begins to walk back to his car (within a foot of the breakdown lane line). Since the person has refused repeated verbal commands, one sort of force or another is required — or do we require “aww come on” first? Physical contact? Wrestling in the roadway? Baton? There is no preferable alternative here for the cop — they’re all fraught with second-guessing. So what does the taser do that the other alternatives don’t do? First, it prevents personal contact between cop and driver, which is NEVER a good thing, particularly on the edge of a highway. Second, it ends the threat of flight immediately — and FLIGHT is, under those circumstances, the greatest risk to the public that could possibly have ensued.

    When the driver begins to walk back toward his car door, turning his back and showing disergard for the cop’s order repeatedly, what is the cop to anticipate? Where is the driver going, and what is he going to do?

    I think this was the least dangerous option the guy had.

    I will repeat that the cop should have explained what the signing of the ticket means and what the alternative was — he may have, because there is dialogue between them that we can’t hear.

    What I find unusual is that a later story reports that the UHP dropped all charges except the speeding. That was not a good move, based upon what I saw in that video. That guy plainly refused to obey lawful commands — and being right (if he was) is no defense. You just don’t get to choose to arbitrate your dispute on the side of the road.

  • ravenshrike

    Wavemaker, no it’s not. As noted by one Sgt. Jeff Nigbur here http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/22/national/main3534130.shtml at around 5:20 the cop had the option of just writing refused to sign on the citation. Or he could have just added another formal charge to the citation of refusing to sign without actually taking the person into custody. Two completely non-confrontational options were open to the officer, who instead seems quite eager to try out his taser

  • ravenshrike

    I should also note, that although not that apparent in the video, the cop tasers him again while he’s on the ground, not thirty seconds after he hits the gravel. Now, getting hit by that much wattage(I hate how people measure things in volts, volts are completely non-dangerous, it’s the amperage that’ll kill ya), most people are going to be discombobulated and slow to respond. The second tasering sort of clinches the power trip argument.

  • http://www.screenshotblog.blogspot.com wavemaker

    Raven, I don’t know what da heck you think Sgt. Nigbur said in the article you link to, or for that matter what exactly you mean but “it” in saying “no it’s not.”

    But no matter what the Sgt. says, the statute says what it says. If the guy doesn’t sign the ticket promising to appear,” as Sgt. Nigbur says, the statute says the following:

    (1) When issuing a citation for a traffic violation, a peace officer shall issue the citation to a motorist …and shall not…require the motorist to post collateral to secure appearance if the officer receives the motorist’s personal recognizance that he or she will comply with the terms of the citation.
    (2) Personal recognizance is acceptable only if not prohibited by law. If mandatory appearance is required, it must take place immediately following issuance of the citation.

    There is no “formal charge” for refusing to sign a ticket.

    Dude, you have to read the law (section 53-3-705). It helps.

  • The Listkeeper

    For those of you who DON’T read legalese…

    Speeding is a Class C criminal misdemeanor in Utah. The default action for all criminal acts is arrest, unless otherwise allowed for in the law. The two sections wavemaker cites specify the conditions in which actual arrest is waived and the offender released from actual custody. In this case, such release only occurs after the officer citing you receives your personal recognizance… In other words, your signature. By refusing to sign, the officer is forced into the default condition, which means he arrests you.

  • Brian

    If you refuse to sign the summons, the officer MUST arrest and book you before a magistrate. He has no other choice

    You either give your “personal recognizance”… or you are immediately taken into custody.

    Can you people even bother to read the actual article before spouting off on your incorrect interpretation of Utah law?

    In the event that a motorist refuses to sign a trooper has two options, Roden said. One is to write “refuses to sign” on the citation, which is then given to the driver. The second is to arrest the driver.

  • The Listkeeper

    The trooper has the Refuses to Sign option only if he believes that the offender will in fact comply with the ticket directives and either pay the ticket or show up for court. Based on the video, I don’t think the officer had any credible reason whatsoever to believe that the kid would either pay for the ticket or show up for court.

    Amazing what you find when you read the law rather than trusting the word of a PR person.

  • Brian

    Yeah, because a “PR person” who is actually a trooper himself, when publicly representing the troopers in a newsworthy incident of national reach, probably doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

  • http://www.screenshotblog.blogspot.com wavemaker

    Brian (#35), last I checked, the law isn’t printed in the newspaper. You really need to read the freaking statute to know what you are talking about.

  • Les Nessman

    In the event that a motorist refuses to sign a trooper has two options, Roden said. One is to write “refuses to sign” on the citation, which is then given to the driver. The second is to arrest the driver.

    If the driver hadn’t have been an ass, the odds are the trooper would have went with the ‘refuse to sign’ option. So the trooper had two options. He chose the ‘arrest’ option. What’s wrong with that?

    Technically, you have the right to walk down dark alleys in southcentral L.A. waving hundred dollar bills around and nothing bad will happen to you, under the law.
    Technically, you have the right to be an ass to an officer and nothing bad will happen to you, under the law.

    This driver went out of his way looking for trouble and found it.

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