Video of state police drug arrest in Frederick raises question about use of force
By Jeremy Arias
The three-minute, 47-second video was posted to YouTube on Thursday by a group opposing police injustice. The silent clip shows a uniformed state trooper chase a man into the lobby of a business on Carroll Creek Way, then throw him to the floor. When more troopers arrive, one of them strikes the man repeatedly in the face with a closed fist before the man is placed in handcuffs. While the second trooper punches the man, the first trooper has the man pinned on the floor and is trying to restrain his arms....
No Mr. Arias, CopBlock.Org is not "opposing police injustice." They oppose police, period.
...The troopers involved in the arrest were cleared of any wrongdoing and their actions were deemed justified by the state police Internal Affairs Unit and use-of-force experts from the agency’s training division, according to a state police statement released Friday in response to The Frederick News-Post’s questions.
“It was determined that the troopers used reasonable force against a suspect who continued to resist arrest and made movements indicative of someone trying to reach a gun in his pocket or waistband,” the police statement says. “The force was only used in an effort to take the non-compliant suspect into custody and prevent him from reaching his pocket or waistband during the struggle. When custody was obtained, all use of force ceased.”...
...The man, 31-year-old Bradley S. Martin, was driving a 1995 Ford Explorer west on I-70 near Mussetter Road at about 3 p.m. Aug. 17 when a state trooper tried to pull him over for going 76 mph in a 65 mph zone, according to a statement state police issued Friday.
The SUV kept going, leading troopers onto Md. 144 and into the city, running several stoplights along the way, according to state police. As more troopers joined the pursuit, they learned that the license plate on the SUV was not the one registered to the vehicle, according to the statement...
In case you don't catch the point, when you have a stolen/false license plate on a vehicle, the assumption the cop has to make is the vehicle is stolen.
...Troopers continued to chase Martin on foot when he jumped out of the SUV and ran into the business, where the camera recorded the arrest, Shipley said.And if you had noticed he had a bag of a white power like substance (0:57 of the video). I think it's called heroin.
“[The trooper] finds [Martin] in this small lobby area, giving him commands to surrender, to get on the ground, and there is an immediate struggle,” Shipley said. “This video has no sound, but there is that struggle going on. This guy is not surrendering. He is struggling.”
The state police statement says Trooper 1st Class Hood ordered Martin multiple times to stop and chased him into the building, where the trooper pulled him to the floor.
“The trooper saw and felt the suspect repeatedly try to get one or both hands into the pockets or waistband of his pants,” the statement said. “The trooper was trying to gain control of the suspect’s hands as the struggle continued.”
The statement says Trooper 1st Class Whorton arrived as backup and heard from Hood that the suspect “may have a gun in his pants.” Whorton used “closed hand strikes to the suspect’s face” to try to subdue him, the statement says. When a third trooper arrived to help and the struggle continued, “TFC Whorton used additional hand strikes and the suspect submitted and was able to be handcuffed,” police said.
Martin was taken to Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown for treatment of facial injuries, and was then taken to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
David Rocah, the senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, had a different perspective of what was shown in the video. In Rocah’s view, the trooper was either exacting street justice or, at best, trying to force Martin to comply by inflicting pain on him.
“That is not and should not be a lawful use of force,” Rocah said. “And the fact that the Maryland State Police thinks that it is, I think, perfectly demonstrates why so many people think that the police cannot police themselves, and it shows why they are right.”
Mr. Rocah, if it's "lawful use of force" is something to be judge by an investigator, the department and possibly a grand jury or jury. Now seeing you're an attorney and that limits your knowledge of the law ( ;<) ) let me explain this to you. If you are trying to resist arrest, a peace officer may use reasonable force to secure you. If you are likely going for a weapon, that gets elevated (see 1:05 to 1:15. The punk was going to his waist and that is where turds like to keep weapons, like guns and knifes. At that moment the trooper has fear for his life or serious bodily injury and can legally use deadly force. So you know it, punching him in the face with a fist is not deadly force. But as soon as the het him under control, the punching stops (1:15 5o 1:25). That's what we call justified use of force.
...That the second trooper immediately assaulted Martin instead of helping to restrain his arms indicates the second trooper was more concerned with hurting Martin than preventing him from reaching for a weapon, Rocah said.
“This mantra, that he might have had a gun, is what police always say, and it is not and should not be a blanket statement to any crazy actions that police take,” Rocah said. “By that rationale, the police would have been justified in executing [the man].”...
No Mr. Rocah, the trooper would have been justified in using deadly force (e.g. a pistol or baton strike to the head). BTY, the crazy actions of Mr. Martin, evading at high speeds, running red lights, etc endangered countless civilians. If he had simply pulled over, use of force would have not been necessary.
...After Martin was handcuffed, police found that he had a folded knife and 14.9 grams of heroin, with an estimated street value of $3,750 to $7,500, according to the statement...
Martin initially gave police a false name, but he was eventually identified and charged via a grand jury indictment Dec. 19 that was served at a correctional facility in West Virginia, the statement reads. The charges included possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of heroin, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and second-degree assault...
...According to the ACLU, Martin’s arrest was the latest in an ongoing pattern of troubling actions and justifications by police that undermine the public’s trust in law enforcement. Ultimately, independent reviews of such cases will likely be needed to restore the public’s trust in police, Rocah said.
“I’m not saying [police] can’t use force. I’m not saying that it’s an easy job,” Rocah said. “Police enforcing the law is sometimes inherently a violent job ... [But] the difference between intent and perception can be vast, and if all that matters is police perception, then none of us are safe, because none of us can control police perception.”
You mean he's not in college and on the dean's list. Sorry ACLU and COPBLOCK.ORG, you picked another "entrepreneur" to make a fight over. He is a felon (to be accurate, he is accused), in possession of heroin and evading in a vehicle. Law abiding citizens will likely look at that video and say "Looks like a turd, acts like a turn,that's a turd."
Great work troopers!