Resisting Arrest

Resisting Arrest

 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?” (John 18:10-11)

Read: Acts 15:22 – 17:15

Relate: [This was originally written days after the NY incident with Eric Garner. I have added and edited some to include more recent incidents]

 It happened in Ferguson Missouri. Riots ensued. Then Eric Garner, after breaking up a fight, was arrested in New York City. He was angry and yelling but he was not being violent. They took him down. As they were cuffing him at least eleven times he cried out, “I can’t breathe!” Eric was choked to death. The whole thing was caught on video, but a grand jury once again refused to indict the officer who choked him to death because there “wasn’t enough evidence.” Dontre Hamilton, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile… the list just keeps growing.

Illegal, unjust, brutal arrests are nothing new. Jesus Himself was caught up in one. When they came to take Him away, it was Peter who tried “resisting”. Jesus response was to immediately stop Peter from his actions. He did not deny that this arrest was unjust. He did not deny that He was within His “rights” to resist and to protest. The actions of those coming to arrest Him were cruel, They were unjust. They were evil. Jesus simply said, “this is the cup of suffering from which I must drink.”

React: I’ve seen and read conflicting accounts of what happened in the Ferguson case. I’ve watched the video of what happened in New York City. I have seen the footage from the traffic stop in Minnesota. There is no other word to describe what the cops did than “murder”. I don’t know the full story in any of these cases. I don’t know what happened in that “fight” that Eric Garner broke up. The thing is, none of us ever will know the whole story because we cannot enter the minds of the murderers to know exactly why they did what they did. All we can know for sure… injustice abounds.

But that does not, ever, give license to riot. That does not ever give license to return harm for harm. There are other ways to give voice to our anger. There are other ways, good ways, to shine light on the darkness that is the police state here in America. Doing violence, doing harm, and that on neighboring business and individuals who have absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand has never been and will never be productive. When this evil happens, we need to remember that we should we lift our voices up and put our swords down.

Respond: 

God, forgive. For the times I have been angry, or frustrated, or felt powerless enough that I just wanted to break something, to lash out, to destroy. Forgive those times when I allowed my anger, even if it was just, to lead to sin. I am imperfect. I know it. You know it. Yet you love me anyways. Help me, even in times of anger, frustration, and injustice, to always radiate You.

God, I also pray for the families and friends of the victims of these atrocities along with other forms of injustice that happen around the world where similar things might have happened but without so much media coverage. Give them peace. Show them love. Draw them closer to You in their time of mourning. I pray for the policemen and women who, usually, are doing their very best in a very difficult career. Keep them from becoming jaded. Help give them wisdom even, especially in those when it can become very easy to make a very dumb choice in the heat of a moment. I also pray for our judges those who find themselves on a jury. Help them to find truth and execute justice no matter what slick talking or legal loopholes overpaid lawyers might find to twist and warp Your truth. In all things show us grace for those times when justice has not triumphed.

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Resisting Arrest

  1. I have to say, your post is very unfair to the police. If you are not familiar with what you are watching in the video of Mr Garner’s death I can understand that.

    As a police officer for over 28 years The Garner death was not as you put it “choked to death”, the man had a heart attack. The choke hold was removed within 2 seconds of the first statement by Garner that he couldn’t breath. Watch the video closer. It is tragic yes. Murder, No.

    There are grand juries and they look at the evidence, and in the Garner case and the Brown case (which I’ve read all the testimony) the officers were found justified in their actions.

    Grand Juries unlike trials actually get to see more evidence than a trial will,because in jury trials, the defense tries to obfuscate the truth of the case, by blocking evidence, that is background information or that could be prejudicial…… by prejudicial I mean can inflame a jurors sensibilities (like really gory pictures of a crime scene) …… is that fair, and does that lead to justice.

    I don’t know about NY, but in Ferguson, they saw all the evidence and got to hear from all of the witnesses.

    Officer Wilson in Ferguson, was justified to use deadly force, as Mike Brown had already attempted to take his gun from him and try to shoot him with it. Wilson followed all police officer’s Use of Force protocols.

    The police in NY, were justified to arrest Garner, it just so happens that Garner had a heart attack during the arrest. A coroner said it was murder, but that doesn’t make it so…… It was a coronary, brought on by a lawful arrest. He did fight the officers as they tried to handcuff him.

    People fail to realize the damage a large man can do with his body if they get violent. Guns, and knives, and bombs are not needed to kill.

    Officer Wilson obviously was in fear for his life. The police in NY, once Mr. Garner refused to go peacefully, tried to handcuff him and then were faced with a 400 lb angry man, who yes can seriously injure and or kill the officers. SO they subdued him.

    The one officer used a choke hold that was not sanctioned by NYPD and has been fired, but he didn’t break the law. He broke a departments policy. It would even be fairer to say he was trying to get the man to the ground. To say he desired to choke the life out of him is pushing it.

    I assure you …..as unpleasant as that video was,…… restraining a person….. that doesn’t want to be…. is alway unpleasant.

    But those situations are only as violent as ……the one getting arrested …..decides it will be….. at least in the 2 cases that you mentioned that was the case. I’m not so naive to think there aren’t some bad cops out there.

    But if we’re going to crucify the police, they actually should be the abusive cops, not the ones forced into physical confrontation.

    Jesus had a great lesson that he shared at the moment of his arrest, but you didn’t mention it.

    “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. ~ Matthew 26:52

    I wish these two deceased men would have considered that, before they decided to test the officer’s authority.

    I agree there is a problem, with trusting police in these communities, but only 123 black men were killed by police officers, the last year stats were available (2012), and that same year there were 326 white men killed by police. It is not a disparity.

    I have my feelings, i suppose you may disagree, but I would appreciate it if you read my post and give me feed back. I don’t and have never seen cause for the hate I see being sent the police officer’s way, by minority communities. It is disheartening.

    http://stuffedsock.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/sensationalizing-the-sad/

    • Eleven times. At least. That is how many times Eric Garner said he could not breathe as the officers were on top of him and the one choking him was squeezing for all he was worth. After the first couple times it is clear that each time his complaint is becoming more faint. I do not know how many more times it was said because officers stepped between the “arrest” and the recording and their speaking prevented hearing his steadily weaker requests for air.

      Twenty feet. That is about how far away Michael Brown was away from the vehicle when he was shot and killed. Yes, there was a tussle and allegedly he did attempt to take the gun. Since he is dead we only have the officer’s word that this was the case. But when Michael Brown was shot and killed, he was about twenty feet from the vehicle. There is no possible way anyone can claim, at that point, that he was a threat. A flight risk, clearly, but you pursue a runner, you don’t murder them.

      • Here’s the video, because you are either purposefully misleading or you haven’t actually watched it.

        #99 provides the choke hold. My count is (video time 37) 17 seconds Garner fought them, he went to the ground approx 10 seconds later (vt 47). 99 is clearly seen with a choke hold. Garner says he
        can’t breathe……for the 1st time, at (vt54), 17 seconds in to the struggle AND at (vt55) #99 is no longer choking him he is pushing down on him which is absolutely legit.

        He may say he can’t breathe another 10 times, but that’s not due to a choke hold.

        It’s due to him having a heart attack, because that’s what killed him, not a crushed air way, and he wasn’t being choked anymore.

        The coroner said he died of a heart attack.

        Surely you can see that is the case……. because otherwise you are being disingenuous. I even gave you the video.

        Do you actually understand what police officers are allowed to do to protect themselves, and to effect a lawful arrest?

        This video shows nothing improper except for the choke hold,which is not a crime, but a policy infraction for NYPD.

        Where are they committing murder? The man said he couldn’t breathe, the officer stopped.

        The man was clearly in poor cardiological shape. His own actions brought on a situation which caused him to have a heart attack.

        And in Ferguson………Brown was not running away….. but running as if to attack the police officer in Ferguson. Read witness #10’s testimony, to the grand jury (you can find everything they considered on line). But maybe you know better?

        Brown had already shown his intent to harm the officer, and several other witnesses testified to the fight in the vehicle.

        The ones that said differently were discredited by the evidence.

        So you know more than the grand juries? You understand what you are watching better than a 28 year retired police officer?

        2 grand juries looked at the totality of the evidence and concluded differently than ….. the media/social media informed masses…… who like you……. in your own words…… admitted you didn’t know all the facts…….. would have concluded. AND yet you still conclude…….not knowing all the facts…… the grand jury did…….. that what you are watching is a murder.

        Then an obviously, more experienced individual, regarding police use of force explains to you what you are watching. That….that is typical of what happens when people resist arrest, as per the force used.

        He tells you that it is always ugly, but that is the guy getting arrested’s fault. You just dismiss that out of hand?

        what people reject due to the unseemliness of what they’ve been told or seen on social media doesn’t make them right. There is always more to the story……

        The grand jury in both case reviewed the evidence…ALL OF IT, and accepted the experts information provided and came to the conclusion that both cases were justified.

        THEY, unlike you and everyone else crying for justice, know what happened. ALL of it

        But you dismiss their findings? Why?

        Does truth not matter to you?

        It is sad that both Garner and Brown died, but the were not innocent in their own deaths. The police have the authority to to effect lawful arrests and when people decide they are going to resist that….. bad things can and usually do happen.

  2. I hate that this sounds contentious, but I believe my perspective on this could grant you some insight into things you don’t understand about these types of tragedies. At the same time,in stead of crying injustice here I would rather you explain, why besides what I’ve already addressed in my post, are issues that I’m not considering.

    Twas the whole point, for my original reply.

    You also said that the officer’s word is all we have about the fight for the gun, BUT that’s not true!

    Brown has injuries to his hand consistent with grabbing a gun and being cut by the slide of the gun. This had to have happened in the car, where his blood (DNA) was found on the officer’s uniform, the gun and the inside of the car. This is consistent with Wilson’s testimony and no contrary testimony or statements given by others.

    All of the forensic evidence matches up with Wilson’s testimony, and statements.

    Tell me if the fight for the gun didn’t happen, then why would the police officer shoot a hole in his door?

    Makes no sense.

    Why would a police officer pull a 300 lb man into his safe space? Trust me no cop likes his personal space being violated, we certainly aren’t going to do it to ourselves.

    Evidence verifies testimony and eyewitness accounts. In the Ferguson case it is overwhelmingly shown the officer is being truthful.

    If you believe our God is just, and I believe you do, you must also believe that He wants justice, not only for Mike Brown or, Mr Garner, but also for the police officers as well.

    I personally am glad our God doesn’t demand justice for my crimes anymore, as I’m sure so do you. He has, praise God, already enacted His justice meant for us, upon his son, and granted us mercy and provided us grace

    • In that same video, that I saw long before you posted it, it is clear that at no point does the victim, the murdered man, act aggressively toward the police. Yes he is upset and angry, but his posture is never threatening. He does tell them “don’t touch me” when they first try to cuff him but he is not acting in violence or aggression. As soon as the murderer, #99, begins choking him, both his hands are in the air. (At thirty seconds) At 40 and 42 seconds he is trying to say something but it is garbled most likely because he cannot get air. At 45 seconds out, on the ground still being choked, he has his arm out in a gesture that looks an awful lot like pleading or a gesture to help. By 48 seconds he is clearly subdued but still being choked. At 55 seconds the chokehold is finally released and at this point Eric finally has enough wind to be able to begin saying, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe…” At this point the officer’s knee is still on his back and his face is still being shoved into the ground. As a former asthmatic I can tell you with certainty that pressure on the chest if he is having an asthma attack is just as effective at choking as the arm around the neck. I couldn’t tell you if him having a heart attack would have the same effect. What I can tell you is that none of the officers seem to show any concern to the fact that he is saying, with a steadily weakened voice, that he cannot breathe. None of them care. There’s a half dozen other officers at the scene and none of them… nobody… does anything to put an end to this overly aggressive, unwarranted takedown.

      What is worse, the officer choking Garner has had a history of questionable behavior in arrests. It isn’t like he was a model cop who has never stepped wrong before. There is another case pending against him and a third was settled out of court against two other victims. All of this happened within a couple years of each other. So what is it, as long as a cop commits less than one crime a year he can continue to harass other citizens with impunity?

      • He doesn’t have to throw a punch and the police don’t have to wait, when it is obvious he is not going to allow them to handcuff him.

        The “murderer” was trying to put handcuffs on him peacefully and Garner flung his arms up and away.

        That is all it takes.

        I’m not trying to pick a fight, I’m trying to point out the point of view of police and BTW the LAW.

        But you obviously don’t care about that.

        The truth is, the attitude you are displaying understandable until educated to the other side….. is going to……….. if followed by the very minorities you don’t want harmed in any way, let alone killed, as do I will ,,,,,, lead to more of the same.

        OK….

        thanks for chatting… your mind is made up.

      • If He had all those problems Mr Garner should have not resisted.

        And just because an officer has a history, it can’t be applied criminally here

        God Bless.

      • You know….. I’m not going to defend the cop with the record, but in this case it still isn’t murder.

        The cop has been fired if he’s bad, may he never get another position.

        Three problem really is two opposing forces are going to keep banging heads.

        And the law…… And law enforcement will win in almost all these cases…… Because they aren’t going around just killing minorities on the streets with impunity.

        I’m only telling you that…. No court would be able to find any of those officer guilty of murder.

        Could they be civilly liable

        Absolutely…….

        But… What is going to happen if batter young black men keep being told not to trust the police……

        And they resist…..

        The will be more tragedies.

        There JUST will.

        Calling the cop a murderer will not help the situation it will only intensify it. The distrust and hate.

        So…. What is the solution.

        Because I obviously am not from those neighborhoods?

  3. A very thoughtful reflection and beautiful prayer.
    We live in a fallen world and there are no easy answers to such tragedies.
    As a Christian, however, I am bound to a different ethic. As Bible scholar Clarence Jordan put it, “Love has no rights, but the right to give itself away.”

  4. I often wonder why we don’t hear people asking the question: How many of those who were shot and killed by police would still be alive is they had shown respect for authority!? We need to rethink our attitude toward those who are there to protect us even if we question why they might be stopping us. It is often a matter of life and death!

    • I recently heard someone tell me, “If they became Muslims ISIS wouldn’t have killed them.” In this person’s mind converting to Islam is the right thimg to do. While I obviously disagree with him the line of thinking that if they do the right thing they wouldn’t have died runs parallel to yours. One person’s bad behavior never ever excuses another’s evil actions.

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s