Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad

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Case: MCGLOWN v. CITY OF BIRMINGHAM (N.D.Ala. 6-21-2012)

What happened: A policeman goes to question a retarded man at a gas station about a shoplifting incident reported a couple of blocks away at an auto parts store. Before questioning even began, the retarded man said to the policeman, “you’ve got the wrong guy,” which was true. As questioning proceeded, the retarded man “pulled away” from the police officer doing the questioning. It is not clear what kind of hold the police officer had on the retarded man, or why the police officer would have had his hands on the retarded man at all. In response to this “pulling away,” the police officer maced the retarded man and arrested him. Charges were dismissed and the retarded man’s guardian sued on behalf of the retarded man.

Decision: Policeman gets qi because in a previous case, some other plaintiff, who was going crazy from cocaine intoxication, was tasered to death by police, and the police got qi in that previous case.

Criticism: This opinion is shockingly and embarrassingly bad. It is written in such a way that no single excerpt can put across just how bad it is. To try to make some rational criticisms: (i) it does not appear that the policeman even had reasonable suspicion to detain the retarded man for questioning; (ii) the opinion gives no reason why the police officer would have been justified in laying a finger on the retarded man; and (iii) macing a man and then arresting him for “pulling away” is way overboard. But, really, this opinion has to be read in its entirety to appreciate the depth and pervasiveness of its “nonsensicalness.” I mean, it is like I have to make up new words just to try to describe it. Pre-existing words just can’t do it justice.

Written by Burgers Allday

June 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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