Take a look at this headline. You would think it describes an ugly incident in Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or maybe Singapore, wouldn’t you?
No, no. This ugly incident occurred in … Seattle. Seattle, Washington. The United States. The same State of Washington represented in the Senate by two women.
Via the excellent New York Times Supreme Court reporter, Adam Liptak:
There have been many hundreds of varied rulings in the lower courts on when the use of Taser stun guns by the police amounts to excessive force, and sooner or later the Supreme Court will have to bring order to this area of the law …
[This] case involves Malaika Brooks, who was seven months pregnant and driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle when she was pulled over for speeding …
Excessive force? Or ‘a useful pain technique’?
You’ll need to read the whole piece to learn why Ms. Brooks was Tasered several times after being stopped for driving 32 mph in a 20 mph zone. And you’ll definitely have to read the whole thing to learn how the cops who did this, and were sued by Ms. Brooks, won a (split) decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
And you definitely need to read how two of the judges, both male, justified the cops’ actions. One of them, the reliably reprehensible Alex Kozinski, the Ninth Circuit’s Chief Justice, said of the police officers, “They deserve our praise, not the opprobrium of being declared constitutional violators. The City of Seattle should award them commendations for grace under fire.”
Well, Alex, you may have gone a histrionic legal bridge too far, there. As for me, I think Kozinski deserves our opprobrium, along with his fellow justices who came up with this decision. It may be constitutional but it is definitively inhumane and deaf to public opinion. Mine, particularly, and I’m sure yours, too.