Yesterday, Ms. Yates was charged with resisting arrest, failure to obey law enforcement officers and disorderly conduct. Here is what the Department Of Justice alleges:
On August 31, 2013, at approximately 3:25 p.m., NPS Ranger Eli Bowers, on duty and in uniform, approached a woman who was standing on federal property in Independence National Historical Park (“the Park”). The woman was standing in an area closed to the public inside the Park… At that time, the area was fenced off with “bicycle rack” fencing and closed for emergency use by the NPS and Philadelphia law enforcement officers to process evidence seized, if any, at an unpermitted marijuana legalization rally that was to take place later that afternoon. In fact, later that day, officers used the closed area to catalog the seizure of marijuana from several people who openly smoked marijuana at that rally.
When Ranger Bowers approached the woman who was standing in the closed area he asked her to leave the closed area. The woman refused to leave. Ranger Bowers repeated his request and the woman again refused to leave. Ranger Bowers then ordered the woman to leave the closed area and gave her one minute to comply with his order. The woman did not comply with his order and did not leave the closed area at the conclusion of the one minute.
Ranger Bowers and United States Fish and Wildlife Service Officer Derik Pinsonneault then took hold of the woman’s arms to escort her from the area. The woman actively resisted the officers by tensing her arms and fists and by trying to pull away. As Ranger Bowers attempted to place her in handcuffs, the woman leaned over a bench and began kicking Ranger Bowers and other officers who came to assist. The officers had to restrain each of her legs in order to control her. The officers eventually handcuffed the woman and carried her to a more secure area approximately ten yards away where officers checked her for weapons.
The woman continued to kick at officers and scratched NPS Ranger Layla Schade, who was trying to control the woman’s hands. Schade ordered the woman to stop scratching, and other officers ordered the woman to stop kicking. The woman responded to these orders with screams and expletives and she continued resisting. After an officer had checked her for weapons, officers carried the woman ten more yards to an NPS patrol car while she continued kicking at officers.
Officers placed the woman in the back seat… As Ranger Bowers was leaning in to secure the seatbelt, the woman spit in Ranger Bowers face, spraying saliva on his face. The woman then attempted to bite Ranger Juan Ibanez who was trying to restrain the woman…
There can be no denying that Ms. Yates was indeed in a restricted area and the wise course of action on her part would have been to simply leave. With that said, it was the police who slammed her against the bench, she was clearly not resisting arrest and struggled only after she was being hurt.
I don’t usually post controversial items such as this, but sometimes you have to delve into the uncomfortable. There are some who think that the police have the right to use any amount of force while arresting someone and there are others who believe people have the right to do anything they wish without the police “cracking down.”
Most of us know the truth lies somewhere in between. Looking at the video, I clearly see the police overstepping with the amount of force they initiated. The complaint states: “the woman leaned over a bench and began kicking” the video clearly show this not to be the case. The police forced her into the bench.
There are many videos of the incident, two of which can be seen from my previous post. To see the police carrying her into the police car click here. Warning! Very profane language. This video appears to contradict the complaint too.
I guess the question is how much force is to much force when the perpetrator is a non-violent one.
We will see how this plays out.