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Cops should use more discretion, less violence

BY GUEST OPINION | SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 7:20 AM

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On the night of Sept. 22nd around 2 a.m., I was walking home with a group of friends. As we were walking home we saw a man passed out on the side of the road, face first. We were concerned about his safety, so we flagged a cop down who happened to be driving by.

The cop asked the man if he could stand up, and the man responded no. Then, without further communication the cop grabbed the man's arm and physically tried to lift him up. The man was so inebriated he had absolutely no idea why this cop was physically pulling him up. The man asked the cop to get his hands off from him. The cop began to get angry, and without any communication of what he was trying to do, flipped the man over face first.

At this point, there were two other cops there. These other two cops piled on top of the man and were trying to handcuff him. The man was screaming in pain and asked my friends and I to help him. There was nothing we could have done because we were so afraid of the cops.

Experiencing this brought me to tears because it was like watching someone get beat up.

The two other cops were not necessary to be piled on this man. He was not fighting back. He was so intoxicated that he didn't understand what they were trying to do. If they had just said he was being arrested before they physically attacked him, I think things would have played out a lot more differently. I understand the man should've gotten arrested because he was publically intoxicated. However, I think the way the cops arrested him was almost dehumanizing. The man was screaming in pain and so baffled by the cops' attack. Things didn't need to be handled this violently.

It's so unfortunate that in cops' trainings they aren't taught a middle step of dealing with certain situations. Cops should be trained to take into consideration the circumstance at hand and act accordingly. If the cops were thinking logically in this situation, instead of going off the training they've been taught, they would have realized that attacking a very intoxicated man would only worsen the situation.

Instead, the cop at first should have announced that he was planning to arrest the man for public intoxication. The cop should've announced that the man needed to stand up to be cuffed and that if he doesn't cooperate the situation would only get worse. Instead, the cop jumped the gun and attacked.

After witnessing this, I find it wrong that cops are able to do this to people who don't know all their rights. I think all freshmen entering the University of Iowa should have some information on their rights and how to deal with the Iowa City cops if being taken advantage of. All freshmen has to take an alcohol.edu course before the year starts. I think there should also be a course created to show students their rights.

Megan Cerney is a sophomore at the University of Iowa.


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