Appeals Court: Handcuffing A Compliant Ten-Year-Old Is Unreasonable But Deputy Had No Way Of Knowing That

from the those-without-common-sense-will-inherit-the-earth dept

Time and time again, courts remind officers of the law don't actually have to know the law to enforce the law. Yes, that's how it all works out for citizens, who are just as frequently reminded ignorance of the law is no excuse. This has lead to the prevalence of pretextual stops where minor traffic violations (that may not even be violations) are used to initiate long conversations with law enforcement officers with the end goal of obtaining consent for a search or to bring a drug dog onto the scene.

Qualified immunity, along with the good faith exception, have allowed an untold amount of law enforcement abuse. This has completely skewed judicial perception, turning law enforcement into noble fools and raising expectations of citizens' legal knowledge to that of seasoned criminal defense lawyers. Here's how occasional Techdirt contributor Andrew Norton breaks down the current state of judicial affairs:

2005, when [Tasers] were still being introduced to law enforcement at large, was a bad year for taser-victims, but not cops. In a California case, Bryan v. McPhearson, the court decided the officer’s actions qualified under the doctrine of qualified immunity (cops will only be responsible for excessive force if they act in a way that is so unreasonable any cop would have known such conduct was against the law – basically acting criminally) Since ‘the law on taser police brutality’ was still evolving when the incident happened in 2005 the cop should get a break from liability. You read that right, because no-one had told the cop, he didn’t have any notion of right and wrong. Ignorance is an excuse, if you wear the badge.

It’s this that characterizes many police brutality and excessive force cases. On one hand the police officers are professionals dedicated to knowing and enforcing the law, when they’re on the prosecuting side, their word is solid and their testimony is unquestionable. However if they’re a defendant, they’re amateurs who don’t know the law, can’t tell right from wrong, and whose training and instincts are so poor, that they can’t be held responsible for decisions made when doing their job because they have to do them quickly.

That's the ugly reality. Things that seem obvious to citizens are somehow inscrutable to police officers with years of legal training and, quite often, a degree in criminal law. Yet another "case in point" is this recent Fourth Circuit Appeals Court decision, in which something that seems obviously wrong is given a judicial hand-wave because the obvious wrong had not been "clearly established" by these judges in this circuit dealing with a carbon copy of these circumstances.

The civil rights lawsuit involves a minor who was in fourth grade at the time the violation occurred. E.W. is the minor suing. A bus surveillance camera caught her and another student fighting on the bus. Both were suspended by the school from riding the bus.

For whatever reason, the school didn't do anything about the altercation for 72 hours. Then they called in deputy sheriff Rosemary Dolgos, the school's resource officer. Dolgos questioned the other party in the fight and asked if she was injured. A.W. (the other minor in the altercation) showed the officer a couple of small bruises on her leg.

E.W. was summoned to the office. According to the deputy, E.W. didn't seem to care enough about the fight on the bus. From the opinion [PDF]:

Dolgos attempted to emphasize to E.W. the seriousness of the situation and the possible repercussions, telling her that adults could be jailed for such behavior. Still, in Dolgos’s opinion, “E.W. continued to act as if the situation simply was not a ‘big deal.’”

It wasn't a big deal. Or at least it wasn't something the school couldn't have handled without a law enforcement officer. But since a law enforcement officer was involved, law enforcement proceeded without any regard for the actual severity of the situation. Deputy Dolgos, presiding over an apathetic fourth grader, feared for her safety.

Dolgos placed E.W. in handcuffs from behind and reseated her. Dolgos inserted two fingers between the handcuffs and E.W.’s wrists to ensure that they were not too tight. In her affidavit, Dolgos stated that she was concerned about the physical safety of herself and the school administrators because of both the incident she observed in the surveillance video and E.W.’s apathy. Dolgos expressed concern in the affidavit that E.W. might act violently against her or someone else if she attempted to walk E.W. from the school to her patrol car.

Dolgos based these observations on her lack of knowledge.

Dolgos also admitted, however, that she had no idea whether E.W. had “any past or current behavioral issues or past involvements with law enforcement.”

She also likely could have controlled the situation without handcuffs, especially considering E.W.'s apparent compliance.

According to Dolgos, E.W. stood 4’4” and weighed about 95 pounds, while Dolgos stands 5’4” and weighs 155 pounds.

Once placed in handcuffs, E.W. began crying and apologized for the fight. She said she did not want to go to jail and promised she wouldn't hit A.W. again. Apparently this was the reaction Dolgos was looking for. Having been taken seriously enough as a law enforcement officer, Dolgos removed the cuffs and released E.W.

The school, however, remained unmoved. It contacted E.W.'s mother and told her they would refer the matter to juvenile services. E.W.'s mother responded with disbelief ("[s]o you're going to put my… daughter in the system when she's 10?") and came to the school to retrieve her daughter. The lawsuit followed.

The district court took a brief glance at Dolgos' motion to dismiss and sided with the deputy. The decision was, at best, perfunctory.

In a short paragraph, without citing any case law, the district court concluded that Dolgos’s actions did not amount to excessive force because E.W. was handcuffed for only two minutes and then released to her mother. The court further concluded that Dolgos was “at least” entitled to qualified immunity as to the § 1983 claim.

The appeals court disagrees with the will-this-do assessment of the lower court. It finds the use of force excessive, considering the surrounding circumstances. In doing so, it finds Dolgos' assertions ridiculous.

Here, Dolgos could not have reasonably believed that E.W. presented any immediate risk of harm to anyone. Like the adult suspect in Solomon, E.W. had no weapons and made no threats, see 389 F.3d at 174, and like the eleven-year-old in Sonora, she was calm and compliant as Dolgos spoke to her, see 769 F.3d at 1030. In fact, Dolgos recognized that E.W. appeared calm. See J.A. 23–24. Also similar to the suspects in Solomon and Sonora, E.W., at 4’4” and ninety-five pounds, was quite small relative to Dolgos, the arresting officer, who was a foot taller and sixty pounds heavier. See Sonora, 769 F.3d at 1030; Solomon, 389 F.3d at 174. Not to mention, E.W. was in a closed office and surrounded by two school administrators and a deputy sheriff. Given these facts, E.W. posed little threat even if she were to become aggressive.

The significant time that had elapsed—without incident—since the fight on the bus further negates any notion that E.W. posed an immediate threat. While the scuffle took place on Tuesday, January 6, East Salisbury Elementary School waited three days to even contact Dolgos. In the interim, E.W. was allowed to and did in fact attend school without incident, indicating that she did not pose a risk to the children around her, much less to the adults.

In addition, the ignorance of the underlying circumstances Dolgos admitted to (and likely hoped would weigh in her favor by making her unreasonable actions reasonable) only further adds to the factors weighing against handcuffing a compliant 10-year-old.

Moreover, Dolgos had no reason to think that the scuffle between E.W. and A.W. was anything but an isolated incident. E.W. had no prior behavioral issues or involvement with law enforcement, nor did Dolgos have any indication that she did. The use of force is an intrusion on Fourth Amendment rights, and an officer must have a reason for using or escalating force. See Graham, 490 U.S. at 396 (intrusions on Fourth Amendment rights must be reasonably necessary given countervailing governmental interests). Even as to the altercation on the school bus, E.W., while unjustified in retaliating, did not become violent without physical provocation by A.W. Indeed, even a child with a history of attacking school officials should not be handcuffed if, at the time of handcuffing, she did not present a danger.

The appeals court also points to plenty of precedent, finding that handcuffing children tends to be excessive force in almost any situation. It also notes that the use of handcuffs in a school setting tends to undermine the mission of schools and school personnel. Students who see other students handcuffed for behavior that could be addressed by parental or school discipline are far more likely to distrust school administration and will be less likely to bring disciplinary issues to their attention. In extreme cases, parents and students may decide to take their scholastic business elsewhere, leaving the school with fewer students.

The court finds Deputy Dolgos violated the Fourth Amendment.

Dolgos took a situation where there was no need for any physical force and used unreasonable force disproportionate to the circumstances presented. We therefore find that Dolgos’s actions amount to excessive force. As such, E.W. has demonstrated a violation of her constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment.

But here's where it all goes haywire. The court lists numerous reasons -- including circuit precedent -- why Dolgos should have known handcuffing children (absent extreme circumstances) would result in Fourth Amendment violations. It holds that this handcuffing was a Fourth Amendment violation. And then it goes on to declare that Dolgos can rely on her ignorance and her complete lack of better judgment to escape liability.

Conversely, it was not obvious that Dolgos could not handcuff E.W. here. Although precedent supports the conclusion that Dolgos acted unreasonably and violated E.W.’s Fourth Amendment rights, it did not put Dolgos on sufficient notice that her conduct was unlawful. Indeed, this Court previously stated that the use of handcuffs would “rarely” be considered excessive force when the officer has probable cause for the underlying arrest. See Brown, 278 F.3d at 369. And the parties do not point us to any controlling authority sufficiently similar to the situation Dolgos confronted. In fact, E.W. chiefly relies on Graham to define the clearly established law. Without more, we cannot conclude that it would have necessarily been clear to a reasonable officer that handcuffing E.W. would give rise to a Fourth Amendment violation.

This will help handcuffed students in the future, but it does nothing for E.W. And this conclusion comes after a lengthy diversion in the opinion in which the concurring opinion is called out for its willingness to say that handcuffing children reasonable.

The concurrence seems to suggest that elementary school children like E.W. are so inherently unpredictable and uncontrollable that officers would be reasonable in restraining them for our collective safety. Unsurprisingly, the concurrence’s authorities do not actually support that position or apply to this case. The concurrence cites to Knox Cty. Educ. Ass’n v. Knox Cty. Bd. of Educ., 158 F.3d 361 (6th Cir. 1998), for the proposition that young children are “unpredictable, in need of constant attention and supervision,” such that “[e]ven momentary inattention or delay in dealing with a potentially dangerous or emergency situation could have grievous consequences.” Post at 41 (quoting Knox, 158 F.3d at 378). What the concurrence leaves out is that Knox was discussing whether teachers may be required to undergo drug-testing in order to protect young children, who “could cause harm to themselves or others while playing at recess, eating lunch in the cafeteria (if for example, they began choking), or simply horsing around with each other.” See 158 F.3d at 378–79. Unless the concurrence suggests that we handcuff children as a reasonable method of “supervision” to prevent choking and horseplay, Knox has little relevance to the case at hand.

So, the concurrence is only right so far as it agrees with the rest of the court that Deputy Dolgos can walk into a school office and slap handcuffs on a ten-year-old without having to worry about being held liable for violating the student's Fourth Amendment rights. On all other points, it's somehow wrong, but only because it chose the wrong standard of law enforcement ignorance to cite. The concurring opinion somehow manages to be worse than the majority opinion, because it wouldn't even go so far as to establish the handcuffing of compliant prepubescents as "unreasonable."

This is a good decision as far as establishing a baseline goes, but the cases cited suggest the baseline had already been set, but only as to eight-year-olds (James v. Frederick Cty. Pub. Sch.) and eleven-year-olds (Tekle v. United States). Ten-year-olds are apparently in need of their own separate precedent. This is how much the doctrine of qualified immunity has erased the word "justice" from the justice system. Anyone who suffers a Fourth Amendment violation had better hope someone in exactly the same circumstances landed a appellate unicorn with their lawsuit, or law enforcement skates away with another win and a very slight narrowing of the scope of civil rights violations officers can get away with.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Feb 2018 @ 6:26pm

    So, how does one go about making decisions without detailed instructions?

    How does one spell anal retentively deficient? The court cites all the reasons one should not be allowed to do something, and then gives a pass because there was nothing on point due to the specific age of the child. 8, not OK. 11, not OK. 10, well there doesn't seem to be anything related to 10, so OK. Good grief!

    Then there is the whole 'good faith exception', 'qualified immunity' thing. Where is the good faith when reasonable people think that cops should not only know the law they were hired to enforce, but know HOW to enforce those laws. Where is the qualification in them not actually knowing their jobs. They claim to be professional. They have professional associations and for some seriously wacky reasons we let them have unions (aka benevolent associations), another form of professional association.

    Of course, there is also the double standard where we, not law enforcement professionals, have to know the law, but they, actual law enforcement professionals, are not required to. Is there anything out of line there?

    These things need fixing legislatively. The courts have screwed it up enough. Could there be a legislative fix in the offing? Not bloody likely, given the current state of legislative affairs. To boot, we would need 51 of them, apparently, 50 states and then separately federal. No breath holding, the funeral business will have their crack at you soon enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      anon phenom, 17 Feb 2018 @ 7:31am

      Re: legislative fix

      yy "These things need fixing legislatively. The courts have screwed it up enough."


      oh yeah, the standard cure all for any societal problem:
      "... there oughta be a law !"

      first off, the legislature and judiciary are separate independent branches of government.

      second, what makes you think legislators are more honest and lawful than the dishonest and non-lawful judges/police you are trying to correct?
      And just who do you think will enforce your magic new law?

      problem is that judges and cops are government employees on the same 'criminal-justice' team -- and they view themselves as team-mates fighting a constant battle against a general public they see as infested with wrong-doers.
      You bond with your team-mates -- and cut them lots of slack in any errors they make, because they are critical to your job. Team-mates develop a 'Them versus Us' attitude. You, Me, and American Public are the "Them".

      (P.S. legislators are government employees on that very same team -- they are entirely dependent upon police/judges enforcing their legislative dictates -- and are not interested in harassing those team-mate enforcers or restricting their unlawful excesses)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Feb 2018 @ 8:06am

        Re: Re: legislative fix

        If, and this is very very big if, legislatures made qualified immunity and good faith exceptions non viable excuses along with a requirement for law enforcement personnel to actually know they law they enforce, then the judiciary would have less wiggle room. They might come up with some new excuses, but these loopholes would be closed.

        At the same time, if we constitutionally require all laws to be sunset every 7 years, after some time we would have fewer laws, maybe even few enough that law enforcement personnel might be able to remember them.

        So, no, not just there 'ought to be a law', but adjustments to existing law so that justice actually happens.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          anon phenom, 18 Feb 2018 @ 8:01am

          Re: legislative fix

          well, the big problem with new or modified laws/constitutions is that we citizens have great difficulty getting our government public servants to obey 'existing' laws/constitutions. What's your plan to get compliance for your new or improved laws/constitution?

          (also, many state legislatures are now enthusiastically expanding police immunities ... not reducing them. The Feds just granted immunity to ordinary airport TSA agents)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Feb 2018 @ 9:01am

            Re: Re: legislative fix

            As I said above, I don't actually expect it to happen. What my 'plan' is, is to wait for the electorate to be fed up sufficiently with our current 'system' to do something about it. No breath holding though.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Feb 2018 @ 7:54pm

    "Although precedent supports the conclusion that Dolgos acted unreasonably and violated E.W.’s Fourth Amendment rights, it did not put Dolgos on sufficient notice that her conduct was unlawful."

    I would like this court to hear my case when I rob a bank.
    I didn't know robbing a bank was wrong, I saw it on tv and in movies. I did not have sufficient notice it was illegal and fucking stupid.

    So until we sue them for it, cops aren't on notice their actions are unlawful. We shouldn't punish them until the notice is enough. It is unreasonable to think a cop might think handcuffing a CHILD who just isn't responding in a manner the officer would like is a bad idea. It is unreasonable to think an officer would hear one side of a story & make a decision based on half the facts. It is unreasonable that hauling a child before a police officer 3 days latter in an adversarial setting might upset the child who might act out of character when feeling attacked by adults who are supposed to protect them.

    Where would we be without courts who see no problem putting people in jail for not knowing the law, but give the cops the ability to be ignorant bumpkins about how to treat people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      carlb, 16 Feb 2018 @ 8:18pm

      Re: I didn't know robbing a bank was wrong

      Indeed, the banks rob me every day and call it a "service charge" but too big to fail is too big to jail, as the Great Recession of 2008 made clear.

      I didn't know robbing a bank was wrong. Odd double standard if it were.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 8:01am

        Re: Re: I didn't know robbing a bank was wrong

        How does that saying go ...

        Give a man a gun, he can rob a bank.
        Give a man a bank, he can rob the world.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 7:51pm

      Re:

      The problem is that humans are broken to be exactly opposite of what makes sense and is fair with power or privilege. Instead of holding people with power to higher standards they are usually held to lesser standards - and it seems to be everywhere. This isn't just mundane corruption - the people uninvolved judge them less harshly too.

      Rich kid commits crime? He is troubled. Poor kid? He it a thug try him as an adult and throw away the key! Low level individual inadvertently leaks information. "He should have known better! Jail time." Higher level person screws up and results in the whole system being vulnerable? "It was unforeseen."

      I suspect it is probably evolutionary psychology due to egalitarianism much less democracy being a blink in the eye evolutionary speaking.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2018 @ 8:16pm

    Oh, Techdirt! It's TOO LATE for you to talk about common law and common sense! You've disparaged those so often, now no one should regard this as anything but your usual attack on police.

    You shall henceforth never hear the words "obvious", "common law" or "common sense" from my lips. I wash my hands of you, especially finger tips that are on keyboard and so nearest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Feb 2018 @ 8:44pm

      Re:

      I wash my hands of you

      Oh, if only you would.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2018 @ 9:06pm

      Re: Oh, Techdirt! It's TOO LATE for you to talk about common law and common sense! You've disparaged those so often, now no one should regard this as anything but your usual attack on police.

      I don't think we've EVER heard common sense from you.

      Based on your IP and post history, you seem to believe in a police state where the rich can do whatever they want to "the peasants" without fear of punishment.

      You're basically a grovelling lickspittle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rosie-Redstar (profile), 16 Feb 2018 @ 9:19pm

      Re: Oh, Techdirt! It's TOO LATE for you to talk about common law and common sense! You've disparaged those so often, now no one should regard this as anything but your usual attack on police.

      Except TD already talks about common law on a regular basis...

      That's when they bring up past cases, especially when those past cases conflict with the current judgement.

      If you feel the idea of common law was 'disparaged', maybe this should point out that there might be good reasons for doing so.

      Common law is the idea of using past cases as a standard to the current case at hand. The problem with that idea is often times past case results conflict with each other. This problem worsens when a judge outright ignores past cases.

      Given those problems, wouldn't the results undermine the very idea of common law?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 3:49am

      Re:

      You shall henceforth never hear the words "obvious", "common law" or "common sense" from my lips

      Someone's gunning for funniest comment of the week...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 2:22pm

      Re: Oh, Techdirt! It's TOO LATE for you to talk about common law and common sense! You've disparaged those so often, now no one should regard this as anything but your usual attack on police.

      Vegas odds are you fail inside a week.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2018 @ 2:37am

      Re: Oh, Techdirt! It's TOO LATE for you to talk about common law and common sense! You've disparaged those so often, now no one should regard this as anything but your usual attack on police.

      "no one should regard this as anything but your usual attack on police"

      Yeah, people who abuse children generally deserve to be attacked, even if they wear the kind of badge you bow to. As ever, I'm glad the real world isn't the fascist hellhole you wish it was.

      "I wash my hands of you"

      Please do. We've been showing you the door for a very long time now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2018 @ 9:05pm

    TBH, I'm surprised the officer didn't yell "I fear for my safety" and shoot the 10yr old girl through the window of her classroom as she concentrated on her work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 18 Feb 2018 @ 12:12am

      Re:

      These court statements start to remind me of the My Lai investigation:

      Q: What did you do?

      A: I held my M-16 on them.

      Q: Why?

      A: Because they might attack.

      Q: They were children and babies?

      A: Yes.

      Q: And they might attack

      A: They might have a had a fully loaded grenade on them. The mothers might have throwed them at us.

      Q: Babies?

      A: Yes.

      Q: Then why didn’t you shoot them?

      A: I didn’t have no orders to kill them right then.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 18 Feb 2018 @ 12:14am

        Re: Re:

        Probably should add that bit:

        Q: What were the children in the ditch doing?

        A: I don’t know.

        Q: Were the babies in their mother’s arms?

        A: I guess so.

        Q: And the babies moved to attack?

        A: I expected at any moment they were about to make a counterbalance

        Q: Had they made any move to attack?

        A: No.

        Q: When you left the ditch, were any of the people standing?

        A: Not that I remember.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      wshuff (profile), 18 Feb 2018 @ 6:28am

      Re:

      Is there a case on point saying that you shouldn’t? Because if not, I guess it was on the table.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 16 Feb 2018 @ 10:51pm

    Okaaaaaay

    I agree the courts got it wrong. Super wrong. Waaaaay wrong. Because it should have gone a little something like this...

    Officer Dolgos: "The child seemed not to be taking the situation seriously. So I decided to intervene now while she was young and give her a small example of what could be in store for her if she continued to get in trouble, by putting her in handcuffs just tight enough to restrain because I am not a monster. That broke her rebelliousness and she began to cry, at which point I removed the handcuffs. All that other BS is on the school district and administration."

    Judge: "So, much like the Scared Straight programs?"

    Officer Dolgos: "Yes."

    Judge: "Case dismissed, with prejudice. Thank you Officer."

    The only thing I see the officer did wrong was trying to justify it in court according to what an epic idiot of a lawyer told her to say. The courts are wrong to waste time on this non-issue. She didn't beat the kid, she didn't tase the kid, she didn't force her to the ground and kneel on her neck while applying the cuffs.

    "It wasn't a big deal. Or at least it wasn't something the school couldn't have handled without a law enforcement officer."

    Wrong. Simply wrong. Fighting is the biggest deal. Say one kid knocks another's tooth out cause they hit a bump in the road and slammed into a hard surface? Who pays? Victim's parents? The School (which is all of us)? The other kid's parents? How about a broken nose? Broken arm maybe? You might say those are wild assertions but they were on the bus, not solid ground. And even on solid ground, I saw plenty go wrong in fights when I was growing up. I do not agree with zero-tolerance policies about fighting, I believe aggressors should be punished and not victims, but I understand also kids lie and finding the truth takes work, (sarcasm)and administrations apparently no longer have time for anything but grading papers so all non-passive behavior must be eliminated (/sarcasm).

    Schools today use the law, and that would be fine if, and only if, officers had special training in dealing with children, and laws were updated for doing exactly that. Until then, we get stupid cops, stupid lawyers, stupid judges and stupid lawsuits, because stupid school administrators no longer think they have a duty to teach children anything more than is contained in overpriced yet oddly near-worthless books.

    That said... I bet that kid don't fight on the bus anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 7:12am

      Re: Okaaaaaay

      So this is a total nonissue and unimportant, but fighting is super important that must be dealt with as harshly as possible by cops, to the point of making children cry, and not by the teachers, who you simultaneously say aren't doing enough.

      And kids fighting is a Serious Issue because you're worried about stupid lawsuits, and the problem is the fights, not the lawsuits...?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 18 Feb 2018 @ 2:07am

        Re: Re: Okaaaaaay

        Do try to keep up. Kids are not supposed to vent their emotions with something as preindustrial as fists. We have automatic weapons for stuff like that.

        This is the U.S., not some backwater country.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 12:55pm

      Re: Okaaaaaay

      >Fighting is the biggest deal.

      Abuse of authority to intimidate a child is worse, especially when it is because the child is not giving the officer the respect they demand.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 3:43pm

      Re: Okaaaaaay

      Scared straight programs? The ones that, if they have any provable effect at all, actually cause more crimes? Traumatizing kids isn't even effective, let alone moral.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scared_Straight!#Criticism

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 4:09pm

      Re: Okaaaaaay

      I hope that you get treated like you would like these cops to treat these kids.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 3:10am

    I was going to make a comment...

    ... but I couldn't find any information on whether that's unreasonable, so I think I'll refrain. I'm not a 5-year-old-mental-capacity deputy on a power trip, after all. I could go to jail*!

    * I'm not sure I'd be able to cry convincingly when they handcuff me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Feb 2018 @ 4:59am

    Two down, how many to go?

    Ten-year-olds are apparently in need of their own separate precedent.

    So between the two cases eight and ten-year-olds are covered, now we just need cases for five, six, seven, nine, eleven and, twelve, and however many other age ranges for cops to 'know' that handcuffs, much like guns, are not just tools you can use to make a point.

    ...

    Which of course will be ignored by the courts because really, how could a cop know about that sort of thing unless they themselves specifically have been taken to court for something before?

    I mean honestly, expecting them to have even the slightest bit of common sense is an absurdly high bar to set, it's not like we're talking about people that are given guns as standard gear for their jobs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 6:49pm

      Re: Two down, how many to go?

      So between the two cases eight and ten-year-olds are covered, now we just need cases for five, six, seven, nine, eleven and, twelve,...

      Then they start refining it to ten years and a day, ten years and two days, etc., etc.. It's unlikely any two kids are ever going to be exactly the same age.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 17 Feb 2018 @ 6:13am

    It is truly fucked up in the courts now. Unless the courts state explicitly - and apparently in excruciating detail - that some act is verboten, it is allowed. So until some judge says that no, you can't pull a Louima on some poor bastard, hey, grab that broken broomstick.

    Apparently the best thing that police departments can do is hire congenital defectives, and ensure that they have no real knowledge of the law. After all, if you don't 'know' it is wrong, its not. Nice to know that every cop out there is allowed to use the Nuremberg defense. All you have to do is claim (i.e. lie) that you acted in 'good faith' and the courts are required to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Feb 2018 @ 6:18am

      Re:

      Offhand I cannot think of another profession where the less you know the better off you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 18 Feb 2018 @ 4:50am

      Re:

      It is truly fucked up in the courts now. Unless the courts state explicitly - and apparently in excruciating detail - that some act is verboten, it is allowed.

      Nope. You got that wrong. It is allowed unless the courts stated this explicitly and in excruciating detail to the officer in question already recently enough that even a total moron can be expected to remember.

      Everything else is covered by qualified immunity: the only safe occupation for a complete moron is Law Enforcement because in every other profession ignorance of the law is no excuse. There is a reason that your intelligence must not be above the admission bar for becoming a police officer since you'd be much less eligible to qualified immunity, setting yourself as well as your department up for legal trouble.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 12:44pm

    Qualified Immunity is just another way of saying "We are above the law" and is only needed when they screw up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 3:50pm

    For once I actually agree with the cops. I wish I could've summoned a uniform to scare the shit out of kids who beat me up in school and treated it like nothing.

    Glad an actual case of assault -- you know, REAL bullying, not this "cyberbullying" crap that only happens to pretty, popular blonde girls -- was handled for what it is.

    Also, how the hell was this ten-year-old "compliant"? Sounds like she was being an obstinate little shithead, not giving any fucks about assaulting another student and acting with such an attitude around a cop.

    The cop cuffed the shithead, put the fear of God into her, and released her. Shit, Tim, you're reacting like the cop shot her or something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 6:06pm

      High-beam projecting

      Assault? Bullying? Mate, this kid was not a bully. The other student kicked her FIRST. She was retaliating, in a rather immature way.

      Of fucking course she didn't think a mutual scuffle in which "SHE started it!" was not a big deal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 9:26pm

      Re:

      The shithead is TEN years old. You piece of shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2018 @ 6:48am

      Re:

      In her affidavit, Dolgos stated that she was concerned about the physical safety of herself and the school administrators because of both the incident she observed in the surveillance video and E.W.’s apathy.

      According to her statement, she wasn't trying to scare the kid. The cop was the one who was scared. Those were her words.

      Concerned about her physical safety.

      Intimidated by a 10-year old.

      A 10-year old that was a foot shorter and about 60lbs smaller.

      Let that sink in for a minute.

      If a 10-year old scares her, what would she do if real danger presented itself, other than shit her pants and hide in the corner?

      If you're trying to argue that handcuffs are the only way to deal with an apathetic 10-year old, then I'd suggest if any of your neighbors are reading this, to call CPS immediately. Because you're unfit to be a parent in any capacity whatsoever.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DB (profile), 19 Feb 2018 @ 7:14am

      Re:

      Growing up I frequently heard "it takes two to fight" as the excuse to punish all involved in a fight.

      That is, of course, wrong.

      It takes two to brawl. It takes only one for a beat down.

      It's usually one person that starts the fight. The target has the choice to fight back then or be assaulted over the long term until they do fight back.

      It's easy to forget that children in school or on the bus are forced to be there. They don't have luxury of avoiding the situation or walking away. The instigators know not to start the assault when an adult is watching. Adults rarely intervene in a just way, and are usually only there to punish the disruption.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 3:59pm

    There was no need to mention taser abuse from 11 years ago in this article, either. No tasers were even used in this incident.

    It's like this article was prepared in a way to make us remember the worst things about cops before telling us about a non-issue, in order to psychologically influence our reaction and bias our viewpoint, making it harder to take this in on a case-by-case basis.

    Tim, there are plenty of examples of bad cops. Try finding a better one next time. This is the journalistic equivalent of complaining about cat calls in the office when there are gang rapes still going on in India.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 4:00pm

      WHAT YEAR IS IT?!

      13 years, not 11. Oops. Obviously school failed me at math.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wronski Feint (profile), 17 Feb 2018 @ 6:48pm

      Re:

      I have to agree. The policewoman was just trying to have an influence on the kid, she put on the cuffs and that worked.

      If they felt they really had to do something, the parents here should have gone after the school, not the policewoman. They were the ones that escalated the issue.

      When I was ten, I once shot some chocolate drops at cars with a rubber-band slingshot (I know...). A local parole officer saw me and took me to the police station to teach me a lesson. The police didn't really know what to do with me and ended up putting me in a cell. I thought it was pretty cool, but then the parole officer said I had the mind of a criminal. My dad eventually freed me later that afternoon and got really pissed off at the parole officer. No further consequences. Just one of those life experiences, nothing to engage a lawyer about.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 7:16pm

        Re: Re:

        In your case at least the slingshot usage was current and not from days ago. Did you even need to be cuffed along the way?

        Handcuffing people is not justified by the intent of 'influencing' people, let alone terrifying them to the point of tears in some sick power-tripping attempt at attitude-adjustment. It's supposed to be for restraining criminals under arrest who would be a violent danger without cuffs to stop them.

        Cuffing someone not even for the scuffle committed 3 days ago, but for having the wrong emotional attitude when lectured about it, is just ridiculous.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 17 Feb 2018 @ 7:25pm

        Anyone can swing a stick or throw a punch

        I have to agree. The policewoman was just trying to have an influence on the kid, she put on the cuffs and that worked.

        Why yes, threats and forcibly restraining someone does work... to make them fear what else you might do to them. It's trivial to 'influence' someone via force and threats of more, and if that's the only thing she could think of then clearly she has no business working a job that requires interactions with the public, including children, on a regular basis.

        If they felt they really had to do something, the parents here should have gone after the school, not the policewoman. They were the ones that escalated the issue.

        They were the ones who decided to, after three days, call in the cop, but the cop was the one who decided that she wasn't being taken serious enough and cuffed the kid.

        Last I checked(and contrary to what some courts like this one seem to think) the brains of police continue to work even after putting on the uniform, such that she is the one responsible for what she did, and while the court gave her a pass due to assuming she was an idiot without any common sense, even they admitted that she stepped well over the line here.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2018 @ 7:08pm

    had bad years and good years in school

    good year: one school yard fight
    bad year: three school yard fights. and not all of them in the school yard
    Don't recall anyone getting handcuffed, or called the police either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 18 Feb 2018 @ 9:56am

    Where's the safety in handcuffing a child?

    How about rewording the statement slightly:
    _According to onlookers, E.W. is a 10 year-old child with a child's level of fight-training, while Dolgos is a licensed law-enforcement officer who presumably has had training in martial arts and controlling suspects._
    Yet this 10 year-old child was so dangerous that Dolgos had to put handcuffs on her?
    I think Dolgos should be fired if she's that afraid of children. After all, what happens when she faces a real criminal with a weapon?

    I can maybe, sort-of see putting the child in handcuffs to teach her a lesson, but then Dolgos shouldn't claim that she did it out of "safety for herself and school administrators".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2018 @ 12:03pm

      Re: Where's the safety in handcuffing a child?

      Handcuffs is teaching some one a lesson ...
      what's next,
      taser? ..
      waterboarding? ..
      gotta teach 'em a lesson - oh yeah, a psycho's wet dream.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 19 Feb 2018 @ 12:23pm

    Poorly Trained Dunces, Direct Deposit and Constitutional Policing

    Conversely, it was not obvious that Dolgos could not handcuff E.W. here. Although precedent supports the conclusion that Dolgos acted unreasonably and violated E.W.’s Fourth Amendment rights, it did not put Dolgos on sufficient notice that her conduct was unlawful.

    Golly-Gee-Wilikers, the the poorly trained dunce (ie deputy sheriff Rosemary Dolgos) does not know she acted unreasonably when she handcuffed a 10 year old child?

    However does such a poorly trained dunce (ie deputy sheriff Rosemary Dolgos) cash her pay check on Fridays without problem?

    That's right the poorly trained dunce (ie deputy sheriff Rosemary Dolgos) has direct deposit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 20 Feb 2018 @ 8:56am

    So....

    1) This is exactly why Cops have no place in schools, their take on reality is up their ass
    2) This cop should be fired plain and simple
    3) The school should be sued into oblivion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 9:36am

      Re: So....

      Except that number three does little to discourage future assholes from doing similar stupid shit. Do school admins have immunity?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 2:42pm

    Yes these treasonous govt employees have brought back the dictatoriial exploits of the kings posse and roman and dark ages and inflict the sovereign nation with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NaBUru38 (profile), 23 Feb 2018 @ 4:43pm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignorantia_juris_non_excusat

    Apparently it only applies to normal people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Stephens, 25 Feb 2018 @ 5:04am

    Handcuff Kid?

    Here in Columbus, GA we had a police officer that was involved with a 12 year old kid doing some crime like shoplifting. No charges were to be filed but the officer took the kid home and was going to talk to the parents. As the officer was walking towards the kids front door the kid shot him in the back of the head. I can understand that cops are cautious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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