Police Defend the Right to Choke Marijuana Suspects

Submitted by smorgan on

Watch this video of Mount Juliet, TN police officer Bill Cosby choking a marijuana suspect into unconsciousness during a traffic stop.

Officer Cosby apparently believed the suspect was trying to swallow marijuana, however nothing was found in his mouth and he subsequently passed a drug test, proving that he didn’t eat it. He just never had marijuana in his mouth. The video is so disturbing, a local judge refused to hear future cases brought by Cosby and the police chief had no choice but to fire him.

So you’d think that gratuitous police violence against a non-violent marijuana suspect would find no apologists. You’d hope that other officers would be universally disgusted by Officer Cosby’s deplorable example and support his dismissal. And you’d be wrong. I reviewed a comment thread on the case at PoliceOne.com and found that many officers believe choking non-violent marijuana suspects is necessary and even commendable:

The charges for the suspect should be reinstated and the officer should be commended for doing his job in a professional manner.
This is ridiculous. The officer did nothing wrong and a judge, prosecutor and chief are looking to hang him. It's no wonder we're losing cops by the dozens. Who wants to put their butt on the line when no one appreciates the job you do.
After viewing the video, the officer is not out of control or doing anything that isn't called for.

These comments imply that you could somehow die from eating marijuana:

The officer probably didn't want the guy to die over something as stupid as swallowing some dope.
Another Police Officer abandoned by his department because of fear of legal action from a criminal. Of course had he swallowed it and then died the family would have sued because the Police didnt choke it out of him.
I hope the Officer is cleared and gets a job at a real department. Also let the bad guys swallow the dope. With luck he will croak and save court costs.

This one admits that the choking appears malicious…then wishes the officer well.

That appears to be choking. The fact that it was called a vascular restraint makes it appear as "creative report writing." I pray for Cosby that he makes it through this experience.

This one recommends turning off your camera:

It has become an awareness to me that these dashcams are causing good cops to get into trouble or fired, so boys turn the damn things off.

This one endorses choking and stomping suspects, as long as they're out of the camera frame:

Hey brother...choke the asshole out if you are so inclined...stand on his trachea if you want...but how about bringing him to the back of your RMP [squad car]? Could you actually think that was something to get on film? Did you forget about the camera?

All of this really speaks for itself. To be fair, some comments were more reasonable, but the overall tone was that the officer shouldn’t have been disciplined. That is what real police officers believe, up to and including some of the violent and scary sentiments outlined above.

It is really just remarkable to imagine that those who would jettison any accountability for their own violent actions remain steadfast in their insistence that people who use marijuana for fun are dangerous thugs who deserve no mercy. That is the gaping chasm that often separates law enforcement’s self-imposed moral standards from those they apply to everyone else. It is a perfectly horrifying thing to behold, more so when one realizes that no effort was even made to conceal these vile sentiments from the public they serve.

Update: Chokings, mistakes, and misconduct aside, the fact that people commonly panic and eat their stash at the sight of police is troubling, isn't it? This needs to stop and I might be the only person who's taken this issue on, by writing Why You Shouldn't Try to Eat Your Marijuana If You're Pulled Over. Unfortunately, more dangerous drugs carry harsher sentences and a greater incentive for desperate people to risk an overdose rather than face prison time. Police use this as an excuse to choke us, but it's actually an exhibit in the absurdity of our drug policy.

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Source URL: https://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2008/sep/30/police_defend_right_choke_mariju