You may be suffering under the misnomer that you have the right to dance on public property.
Basically, you do.
Unless law enforcement tells you that you don’t.
Let me give you a for instance…one that can be viewed on video at, among other places, the Huffington Post.
The issue of dancing at the Jefferson Memorial dates back a few years. Folks went to the Memorial to commemorate the president’s 265th birthday by dancing silently, while listening to music on headphones.
Park Police ordered the revelers to disperse. When the dancers apparently mocked the officers and refused to stop dancing, they were arrested.
Rather Forcefully arrested.
A lawsuit resulted in which the dancers sued on free speech grounds. However, the appeals court ruled that the dancing was indeed prohibited “because it stands out as a type of performance, creating its own center of attention and distracting from the atmosphere of solemn commemoration” that Park Service regulations are designed to preserve.
The reaction to the ruling? A dancing protest which, naturally resulted in more arrests…a bit more controlled this time.
Given that a purpose of this blog is to reflect the reality of the criminal justice system and warn you about certain risks of getting pulled into it, you may be wondering what the big deal is. What is the point?
Stay with me here.
You have already probably heard about the high speed police chase from Massachusetts to New Hampshire last week. It has been well covered… video and all. In the event, however, that you were asleep last week, through now, let me recap it for you.
The event began Wednesday when 50-year-old Richard Simone, of Worcester, Massachusetts (hereinafter, the “Driver”) refused to stop for state troopers when instructed to do so. While I am not clear about the basis to stop the Driver, what type of criminal investigation was going on, it might have had something to do with the outstanding arrest warrants for him in his warrants out of Worcester and Millbury, Massachusetts, on larceny and assault with a dangerous weapon charges.
According to the Boston Herald , the chase began when officers tried to pull him over in Holden, MA.
He apparently did not comply.
The chase continued for about an hour and into the state of New Hampshire.
In New Hampshire, the matter took a particularly ugly turn… and not on the Driver’s part.
News helicopter video of the pursuit show the Driver stepping slowly out of his truck in Nashua, New Hampshire, kneeling and putting his hands on the ground.
Then, once apparently seeing the situation was safe, several officers (apparently from both New Hampshire and Massachusetts) proceeded to pummel him mercilessly.
Attorney Sam’s Take On The Best Ways To Protect Yourself From Being Pummelled By The Police.
“Okay, Sam, two totally different instances of abusive cops and law breakers, right?”
Well, yeah, but that is not the point of it.
First of all, let’s be clear. There is really no excuse for the use of excessive use of force on the part of law enforcement. Officers are expected to conduct themselves professionally. Period. As a result, there are investigations going on as to the beating of the Driver.
However, reality being what it is, police officers are, in the end, human beings. Human beings do not always act as they should…no matter what awards and expectations our society puts on them.
We have discussed many times the fact that an officer’s job is a tough one. It is also made tougher by the reactions they sometimes get from people when they are trying to do what they believe their job is.
Given the inherent dangers in the job…they cannot afford feeling like they are losing control of the situation. As a result, questioning an officer’s authority is one of the worst things you can do.
It’s likely to end poorly…for you.
We will continue this subject in my next blog. I may even give you some experiences I have had in handling such matters.
In the meantime, a little homework for you.
Check out a video by the comedian Chris Rock on the subject.