San Francisco police beat up and detain Good Samaritans who call 911 and perform first aid on accident victim
Peretz Partensky and her friend
Peretz Partensky is male. I know the article is confusing because the header image is a woman at some kind of hearing on the issue of police brutality, but the writer is a dude.
This is a seriously fracked-up situation. That being said,
Telling people to not call 911 when someone is in need of medical assistance is irresponsible, regardless of the absurd way that the police and the system treated Partensky.
The better takeaway from this encounter would be to move on when the police tell you to move on. Not because the police know what they're doing, not because they were in the right and Partensky was in the wrong, but because not listening to what they say, promptly and precisely, can admit you in into the system.
His criminal lawyer friend's advice to extract himself from the system was the way to go. Once you're in there, you can say "sir" and "ma'am" all you want--it's not going to get you anywhere.
Having served as "good samaritan" in several first aid situations that required 911, I can tell you that there is a clear moment when the so-called professionals take over. If you're performing CPR and step away before they're ready, they'll tell you to continue. And when they assume control, they let you know that as well.
From Partensky's article:
"Take such incidents to trial, where justice isn’t veiled by the [Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights]."
It's nice to know there are limits to the POBAR, although the realist in me knows that, no matter how overwhelming the evidence, a trial isn't going to accomplish anything of value. The police won't accept responsibility, and the courts are unlikely to call for anything more than a slap on the wrist, if that.
A trial certainly won't result in what it should, which is the immediate firing of all officers involved, and, assuming this was officers acting according to some written procedure, that should be changed.
There's always more to the story, especially on BoingBoing. Being a smartass isn't actually a crime, but the writer sounds like one hell of a smartass.
Sir, might you consider for a moment that I am having a sane response to the conditions I’m being subjected?
Really? You're dealing with cops after midnight and that's how you talk? I ran a red light last week and got out of the ticket just by being humble and polite. (Oh, and white.) If I'd started "reasoning" with that cop, I probably would have spent 12 hours in the slam too.
This is what everyone should be angry about. Not petty politics or the bullshittery of american media, but this protected praetorian class of militarized law enforcement that behaves like thugs.
You took the words right out of my mouth.
Called an ambulance for a stranger in need and didn't end up 'committing suicide'.
I guess if you have to, call 911 and make a run for it.
This is the problem with police in general. It's certainly possible to get well intentioned helpful members of the community who show up to "resolve" a situation. If you aren't going to just be complacent during a police action you disagree with, or if you act like you have/had some control over the situation, it ultimately undermines their authority and they're going to feel threatened.
You just don't know what cauldron of emotion that feeling of threat will evoke, particularly in a crisis (real or imaginary). They have to feel that their position of authority is higher than the public in order to enforce the positions they are told to. Over time, what kind of mentality is that going to create? They're not machines, they're emotional and sometimes desperate people.
We have to act as though police are helpful members of society, but I agree with many of the sentiments mentioned at the end of the article. They wield a dangerous and increasingly militarized power.
Maybe another way to put it is, if forced to choose between not calling 911 to avoid dealing with the police, or calling 911 and then doing exactly what the police say no matter how nonsensical, I would advise people to do the latter.
There is a line.
Stop taking those pictures.
No detecting our illegal activity.
No you can't see my badge, just leave the scene or I'll arrest you.
Or how about, no looking at us beating up your friend in an illegal and prosecutable fashion, if only someone were to witness and record the act.
From the linked story:
"I banged on the door repeatedly and screamed, “I want to see a doctor. I WANT TO SEE A DOCTOR.”"
Not to derail a good "cops are evil" story because this certainly is one, but this Peretz fellow doesn't seem have handled himself in the best way possible. I mean, there's a point where one should realize that escalation isn't going to get you anywhere. Sit down, shut up, and once you get out hire a lawyer.
Somehow commenters always find a way to call the victim a smartass, a jerk looking for attention, or some other form of idiot who brought it on themselves. You'd think you might have tried a little harder, though, and blamed him with something he said before he was in tackled, arrested, put in solitary and being called crazy.
Being a smartass is enough to get brutalized? I can understand when someone who's annoying or ignoring directions gets ticket/small fine but getting beaten, humiliated and imprisoned because you didn't show the proper deference? What happened to "innocent until proven guilty", checks and balances and the rule of law in the US?
It is the Land of the Free ... free to grovel like a subservient peasant to everyone with a badge 'cause they can do what the fuck they want with you. I thought you had the whole Independence-Constitution-shebang to get rid of exactly this situation. This behavior is more appropriate for secret police thugs in some sort of third-world dictatorial shithole.
I'm baffled about the amount of power US law enforcement wields. It's virtually immune to legal recourse when it oversteps it's bounds, allowed to use lethal force/violence in situations were it's clearly not warranted, is allowed to lie/decept/threaten the suspect, exonerating evidence can be ignored by police or DA etc.
On the other hand as a citizen I'm not allowed to lie to an LEO and even the slightest movement/resistance can be interpreted as assault on an officer - we had articles at BB were even an insult or protecting ones face from a beating was interpreted as assault or resisting.
At least where I live I have a modicum of constitutionally guarantied rights (that are actually respected and those rights are not some papers cops and politicians wipe their ass with) that protect me from an abuse like this.
A friend and I witnessed a bicycle accident in Irvine that resulted in one rider winding up unconscious on the ground, gurgling blood from his mouth as his body went into spasms. It was pretty scary stuff. We called 911 and the police and firemen who showed up were professional and took care of business.
Maybe it's the luck of the draw when you call 911, maybe it's where you live, maybe it's the color of your skin or the way you are dressed. I don't know. But I do know that there is no circumstance under which I would not call 911 to help someone who was injured.
This is all terrible and happens far too much, of course, but let's take a step back and think about what it means to shout this through your internet megaphone:
One of the officers who harassed, beat, and wrongfully arrested Partensky, Paramjit Kaur, is already the subject of a civil rights suit. The other SFPD personnel who attacked and arrested the Good Samaritans are Officers Gerrans and Andreott.
I imagine you would be (rightfully) all over any prominent blogger that unequivocally assigned guilt to an individual suspected of a crime without any investigation, much less trial... unless the individual was a police officer, or a right wing politician, or a tycoon, etc. Be patient. Be better than them.
And steering people away from 911 in the case of an emergency is bad. Very bad. Don't do that. It probably sounded like blatant sarcasm in your head, but it doesn't necessarily come across that way for many readers.
I believe that face-butting an officers fist constitutes assault.
From the article “Ah, you’re one of those billionaire wannabees in this neighborhood.”
I'll bet a typical SFPD Officer earns a lot more than the median startup employee.