– Running From Police “Often” A “Death Sentence,” Former Cop Says (ZeroHedge, April 23, 2015):
Earlier today we brought you the story of Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Abraham Martinez, whose flying jumpkick has now been officially enshrined in the annals of police dash cam history. As it turns out, we have The Austin American Statesman to thank for the footage. The newspaper recently took an in-depth look at the Texas DPS’ use of force during pursuits. Here’s an excerpt:
The trooper who shot and kicked him, Abraham Martinez, last year received a minor penalty for the incident — three days off without pay. Yet the fact that a traffic infraction could escalate into a lengthy, high-speed motorcycle pursuit ending in gunshots provides a graphic illustration of how a relatively permissive DPS culture of use-of-force during pursuits is out of step with evolving national standards, experts said. A leading researcher on police pursuits, University of South Carolina criminal justice professor Geoffrey Alpert, called the agency’s policy permitting troopers to shoot at fleeing vehicles “stupid.”
Fortunately, no one was killed in that particular incident, but as we’ve seen recently — the most poignant example being the shooting death of a fleeing, unarmed Walter Scott by a South Carolina officer earlier this month — running from the police can end fatally. Incidents like that which unfolded in South Carolina have inflamed already fragile race relations across the US and now, former Alabama state trooper Orrin Hudson has a simple message for African Americans who are confronted by the police: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: In a situation with the police, it’s not immediately about who is right or wrong, it’s about staying alive.”
Here is the 6-year police veteran’s “Open Letter To Unarmed African Americans”:
Too many unarmed African American men are losing their lives to white police officers, and most of the time justice is not being served. But even if justice is served, a valuable life has already been lost…
1) Don’t run. Although running from the police should not be a death sentence, it often ends up this way. So don’t do it! Doing so will heighten the aggression of an officer, especially if he/she is not sure if you are armed. It also puts them in a position where they have to make spur-of-the-moment decisions, which increases the chance of an officer deciding to end your life. So stay put!
2) Show respect at all times. A police officer’s duty is to serve and protect, but if he/she is out of line or bullying you, continue to be respectful. Say “sir” and “no sir,” and “may I” and “thank you!” These will keep the situation from escalating. If the officer is violating your rights in any way, you can fight this matter at a later and safer time.
3) Keep your hands where they can be seen. Do not make the officer feel threatened in any way. At all times, keep your hands visible. Many police officers, especially white police officers, will feed into stereotypes. They may be assuming that you have a weapon just because you are Black or because they feel you look like you are up to no good!
4) You have the right to remain silent. If you feel that you are being wrongfully arrested, you do not have to speak on it as this likely will not change the officer’s mind. Keeping quiet protects you legally, and also keeps the situation calm and peaceful.
5) Sign the ticket and leave. If you are being pulled over for speeding, simply sign the ticket and leave. Signing the ticket does not mean that you are admitting guilt; its only a promise to appear in court on the date listed on the ticket. Arguing with the officer about it will only make the situation worse, and perhaps raise his level of aggression.
Mr. Hudson now runs a non-profit organization that seeks to promote better decision making among urban youth and adults.* * *We’ll leave it to readers to determine for themselves what it says about the justice system when it is “often” the case that running from the police is a “death sentence.”