In many instances police present or create a situation which they use to justify use of force. The question is, should this cop even have approached this guy in the first place? For the use of force to be justified there must first be an arrest. For there to be an arrest there must first be either 1. a warrant or 2. a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed. This does not include a hunch or “belief”, but a reasonable suspicion. At that point, the only force justifiable is that which is necessary to effectuate the arrest.
Every individual has the same power to arrest. The only difference is, people are not capable of effecting an arrest with a warrant, and the crime has to take place at that time. I can arrest a cop beating a man lying on the ground if I have reason to believe that the cop is committing a criminal act in doing so. I cannot arrest a cop because I think he might, or may have; but I must have first hand knowledge. Individuals also have the right to swear out a complaint before a judge to have an arrest warrant issued, and then have that warrant served by an officer effecting the arrest.
This cop used excessive force. The man on the ground was almost incapacitated already, and aside from public intoxication, committed no offense during the filming. This was a lesson in “compliance”; the same lesson I was taught when beaten and Tasered for not pulling over quickly enough when they “lit me up”.
As far as the guy on the ground holding the cop’s leg, you have to consider the totality of the circumstances. If the cop believed this man to be intoxicated and then pull him from the car and onto the ground, it is possible the man was disoriented or not in control of his faculties. His reaching for the legs could not reasonably be presumed to be an act of aggression and therefore justify the resulting force. The cop created that situation like they did with me after pushing me to the ground and then claiming my hand went to my waist band as if to reach for a weapon. They create presumption of danger, when there otherwise is not.
At the risk of sounding cacophonous, I’d posit the majority of police possess a sense of entitlement and disdain towards the general population. They deal with many of the lower classes and through repetitive exposure come to view most everyone with contempt. I believe there should be strict psychological screening before one becomes a cop and then, only allowed to interact with the public for a number of years or limited time before being rotated into detective work or other administrative positions where they do not have a opportunity to act upon their jaded view of society. There should also be ongoing psychological evaluation and eventually, return to the private sector.
There are too many hardened misanthropes on the streets looking for an outlet to vent their frustration and claim their superiority. This thug was in the wrong.
I won’t comment on the apathy and cowardice of his “acquaintances”. If that were my friend, that cop would be the one in cuffs with me exercising “force necessary to effectuate the arrest”. That was one more testament to the denatured voyeurism afflicting people through indoctrination to believe a man with a badge is anything more than a man, and possesses superior moral and physical abilities.
I can say that working as a private detective in St. Louis for a number of years, and closely with police, I know pretty well the mindset of the average street cop when amongst his peers. The thin blue line turns into a big fat lie.