Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tasered for asking questions

Most coverage of this incident focuses on the idea that 28-year-old Jared Massey was tasered by Utah Highway Patrol Officer John Gardner over a speeding ticket. In fact, he was tasered for daring to ask Gardner questions about the ticket, refusing to sign the ticket before his questions were answered and then acting with incredulity when Gardner whipped out his Taser.

Kudos for Massey's savvy response -- it was apparently he who got a copy of the trooper's dash-cam video and posted it on the Internet. That way we can view the incident for ourselves and determine -- beyond a reasonable doubt -- that Officer Gardner is a vicious thug.

I won't argue here that Massey was wise in his response to the traffic stop. Given the authoritarian, intolerant nature of too many police officers, it's generally safer to submit during an encounter and then make a stink after the fact. But Massey did nothing wrong by asking Gardner just how fast he'd been going.

Gardner's response was that of an overseer -- a driver of serfs who will tolerate no challenge to his authority. His attitude seems to be increasingly common among the folks who draw government paychecks, and it has no place in a free society.

Amnesty International on Tasers here.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree, I am already raising a fuss about the Jered Massey situation, the officer is a vicious thug, they are all being trained for a police state. Good post hope you can blog more for the Masseys!!!!

November 21, 2007 12:26 PM  
Anonymous REALITY said...

Mr. Massey escalated the situation himself when he refused to sign the ticket. Not signing the ticket means he is refusing to appear before a magistrate for his charges. The trooper had the non-compliant Mr. Massey exit the vehicle and told him to turn around so he could be placed under arrest. Again Mr. Massey failed to comply. Instead of fighting Mr. Massey on the side of the road and risk injury or getting run over he utilized an issued tool and deployed it with minimum injury to both parties.

November 23, 2007 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reality, I don't think any is arguing that Mr. Massey should not be arrested ( if that is the law) for not signing the ticket.

The issue is that Massey was not told he was arrested until almost a minute after the tasering. Also Massey was not instructed that not signing the ticket would result in arrest. In many parts of the country you do not have to sign a ticket.
The police officer here almost simultaneously asked Massey to put his hands behind his back and draw the Taser. It is not UHP policy to draw your Taser at the same time you ask someone to put their hands behind their back.

November 23, 2007 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is my understanding Utah's speeding ticket has a box for the officer to check if the citizen does not want to sign the ticket. This is common in many states.

Frankly, who gives a shit if Massey escalated the situation by refusing to sign? The officer clearly did not do his duty as a public SERVANT by alerting the PUBLIC to his options under Utah state law before deciding to play Rambo. This prick was on a personal mission to enforce his will on his BOSS, John Q. Public at the expense of civil rights and the rule of law.

I am amazed at any attempts to stand behind an officer who clearly made a dozen mistakes in that stop. I have already written the Governor of Utah demanding the state remove this officer, institute specific police reforms and ban tasers. Officers in the US did fine without tasers for 200 years, why do cops need a new weapon of fear and brutality? I have no tolerance for pigs. Officers are fine. But, we have more and more pigs.

Our founding fathers told us our civil liberties would be threatened from within and with the potential that liberties could be threatened under the guise of foreign enemies.

God bless video cameras. They are a front line weapon a free society can use to keep dirty pigs honest.

November 23, 2007 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reality, the simple question here is this: as servants of the public interest, do police officers have an obligation to explain to individuals the options that are viable to them after being accused of wrongdoing? Or do you advocate the simple policy of blind compliance, in which it is acceptable to attack someone for asking questions about their alleged wrongdoing?

Also, I'd be interested in hearing just how Officer Gardner mitigated the risk of roadside injury by tasering Mr. Massey and causing him the fall into the highway. Can you speak to this? Thanks.

November 25, 2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous bigyaz said...

Not signing a ticket means you can be charged with just that, not signing it. It does NOT mean you should be tasered. That's just insane.

We need to take these tasers away from the cops until they learn not to abuse them. They are out of control.

November 26, 2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I have scutinized this video several times, and each time it is apparent that the attitude and the general disposition of the officer was way out of hand. It would also seem that in this day it time, the words spoken of a public offical are set and engraved in stone. We all know this to be false.
A key focal point that highlights this is the most disturbing factor of this video, is the level of calm of Massey superceded and outweighed the level of professionalism maintained by Trooper Gardner. It is rare that the motorist is so calm. Further, the ego of the aformentioned trooper was severly injured when Massey pointed out the discrepancy in the ticket. One doesn't need 20/20 vision to see that the trooper erred trememdously. What scares me though, is that if this is any indication of our law enforcement in America, then us as civilians should be more concerned with officers than the average citizen. Such zest to pre-maturely pull out his taser is unjustified, heinous, and disturbing.
Notice the trooper's intentions of unholstering his taser well before Mr. Massey "posed" a threat.
So I say that to say this, the next time you are stopped for whatever reason, agree with everything the officer says, smile nicely, bid him a good day or you will receive 50,000 volts for your time.

December 23, 2007 3:07 PM  
Blogger butterfly_72385 said...

Mr Massey was obviously trying to take control of the situation by argueing with the police officer. The ticket is not to be disputed on the side of the road but in court. He was being belligerent and therefore put under arrest. Had he followed instructions he would not have been tasered. He could have even continued to ask questions while following the officers directions. I just find it interesting that people are saying he got tasered for asking quetions about his ticket. He got tasered because he ignored and turned his back to a police officer!

January 14, 2008 12:43 PM  
Anonymous sumhunny said...

Think of how many people Mr.Gardner probably pulled over that day did any of them get tasered? Mr.Massey had a bad attitude and that was the variable in the situation

January 14, 2008 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reality's post states that " Not signing the ticket means he is refusing to appear before a magistrate for his charges."NO it does not.. refusing to sign the ticket means HE REFUSES TO SIGN THE TICKET because he doesn't agree with what he is being charged with. The officer at that time SHOULD HAVE related to Mr Massey that he would be cited again for not signin and COULD be placed under arrest. What the officer did was, treat Mr Massey as verified criminal and order him back to the car, screaming to put his hands behind his back BEFORE he even got to the police unit.If I had an officer who looked as tho he had lost his mind , screaming at me and pointing an object resembling a gun at me WITHOUT so much as telling me why I was being placed in custody for, I would walk away also.Seems to me that the officer wanted to make sure Mr Massey understood who was the "Big Dog" and to keep Massey on the "porch".
Anonymous ( the 23rd) also pointed out that the officer did NOT tell Massey that he was being placed under arrest UNTIL AFTER he had tased him. Hmmm... tricky tricky ... should learn when to open your mouth before "shooting" dontcha think?
ANonymous(the 25th ) also has a VERY valid point with this one :
"Also, I'd be interested in hearing just how Officer Gardner mitigated the risk of roadside injury by tasering Mr. Massey and causing him the fall into the highway. " Hmm does this "fear of your own personal safety " as an officer negate the personal safety of the public you are entrusted with protecting?
It was the officers duty to patrol the area and to protect and serve the public.What it looks like to me from the video.. is Mr Law dog had a bad day and was bored and in the process chose to enforce his "job" duties onto some poor guy who merely wanted to know why.If ya cant do your job Law Dog.. without prejudice.... then get out of Law Enforcement, because one of these days ,, it wont be someone like Mr Massey only questioning his rights.. It'll be the big bad wolf and he'll have a hell of alot more than a taser gun and you wont have such an "easy" time taking that one down.

April 25, 2008 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this officer had tazered a motorist the way he did in my jurisdiction, that officer would have been praised.
The accused was out of control and in my opinion trying to lure the officer into traffic indangering the officer.
I would have found that the accused did in fact fail to follow the officers instructions, thereby nessecitating arrest by Utah State Code. Utah law requires a motorist to sign the citation or risk arrest.
The officer in fact read the accused his rights before he asked him any questions.
I would have found the accused guilty of failing to sign the ticket and suspend his drivers license for 2 years.
I would have found the accused guilty of resisting arrest. The fact remains that the accused didn't follow the officers instructions.
The officer followed procedure to the letter.

Good Work Officer .

January 2, 2010 4:51 PM  

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