Is it right to body slam and arrest a professor for Jaywalking around the construction zone near the university?   no comments

Posted at 4:57 pm in Uncategorized

Answer by Tim Dees:

The requirement to carry identification was ruled unconstitutional in the decision for Kolender v. Lawson, over 30 years ago. Arizona may have some workaround law that the officer was making reference to, or the officer may have been bluffing. Personally, I'd be interested in reading the statute he was referencing (and that the professor was supposedly charged with violating).

The officer does mention she was walking "on a public thoroughfare." There may be a requirement to carry identification when you are walking in the street, as opposed to a sidewalk intended for foot traffic. I'm speculating here; I know close to nothing about Arizona law.

One question I'd have, and that was not answered in the news report or video, is whether there was a designated foot path around the construction. At most construction zones where the sidewalk is obstructed, there is a prescribed alternate foot path for pedestrians. Did the professor walk into the street because she found the alternate route (if there was one) inconvenient?

She tells the cop something like, "Everyone is doing it," [walking in the street]. "Everyone is doing it" is not a valid defense. If everyone is looting the stores in a neighborhood, that's not going to help you if you're the one the cops manage to catch doing it.

As for the officer's use of force: yes, it was justified, providing he stopped her for a legitimate violation of the law (as I mentioned above, I'm not clear this was the case). If a police officer tells you to stop, you had best stop. If you don't, he's going to use force to make you stop, and he will escalate that to whatever level he needs to in order to effect the stop (which, by this time, will be an arrest, even if it wasn't before). Police officers are not going to allow you to defy them and walk away smirking. To put this in a different context, say an officer pulls you over for suspected drunk driving, and when the officer asks them to step out of the car, you say, "I don't think so. Bye." and he drives off. The cop isn't going to say, "Guess he showed me," and resume patrol. He's going to pursue you, call as many other cops as might be necessary to assist him, use tire deflation devices to disable your car if he needs to, and otherwise will do everything he can to take you into custody. By this time, the charges will be a lot more serious than simple DUI.

The cop could have been more diplomatic, but the professor was clearly not going to submit herself to the officer's authority. This is a pretty common reaction from college professors, particularly those in the liberal arts. They often do not like cops, and will make any confrontation a Battle Royal if they can manage it. University cops generally know this, but they don't always recognize professors and staff. It shouldn't matter, as everyone is bound to obey the same laws, but some people put themselves above such things.

I've said this before: if you don't like what a cop is doing or saying to you, make a complaint, and/or contest the action in court. Do not defy or physically resist the cop, because he is going to escalate the level of force used, and 99% of the time, he's going to win. The professor could have taken her ticket or warning, and then made a complaint about the officer the next day at the police station. I imagine she was aware that the campus police have dash cam recorders, so there would be an impartial record of what happened. As it is, she fought with the cops, lost the fight, got arrested and jailed, and now has to defend herself in court. Her complaint is going to have that much less credibility.

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Written by Tim Dees on June 28th, 2014