I’ve railed repeatedly in past posts about the unfairness and constitutional costs of MADD’s so-called “War on Drunk Driving”. See, for example, The Futility and Costs of the “War on Drunk Driving”; Another Weapon in the “War on Drunk Driving”: Forced Catheterization; and A Closer Look at DUI Fatality Statistics.
I’ve also written over and over about the deficiencies in police officers’s abilities to accurately and fairly detect intoxication. See The Police Officers as a Drunk Driving Witness.
The following news account represents an excellent example of the costs of this ubiquitous “rush to judgment” — due partly to the pressures on cops to make DUI arrests, and partly on their inherent lack of training or common sense…..
California Cop Busted for Beating Up Elderly Motorist
Sacramento, CA. June 19 – A jury on Wednesday ordered the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to pay $125,000 in damages over the drunk-driving arrest of a sober man. Harrison Orr sued after the August 6, 2013 incident left him battered and bruised.
Orr was on his way to Sacramento on Interstate 80 that day when Officer Jay Brame saw his gray 2005 Toyota and decided it was traveling too slowly. He signaled the Toyota to pull over, and Orr complied.
Orr had suffered a stroke in 2006 that left him with slurred speech and facial droop. Officer Brame assumed from these symptoms that Orr must be drunk. He ordered the 76-year-old man out of the Toyota to perform the horizontal gaze nystagmus and balance test, both of which Orr failed because of his neurological condition. Orr’s car had a handicapped license plate, but the officer refused to believe any explanation for the symptoms other than that Orr was drunk…
So Officer Terry Plumb was called and asked to bring a portable breathalyzer to the scene. Orr passed with a blood alcohol reading of zero, but Officers Plumb and Brame decided to arrest him anyway. When they said that he would have to be handcuffed, Orr informed the officers that he would not be able to balance if they put those on, as Orr could only walk with a cane. So Officer Plumb punched the 76-year-old man in the ribs, knocking him to the ground. He was then handcuffed and thrown in the back of a squad car.
At the police station, a technician ruled out the possibility that Orr was on drugs. He concluded that Orr’s symptoms were the result of his medical condition while confirming that Orr was “polite and cooperative.” So the officers booked Orr in the Sacramento County Jail for resisting arrest. He was not released until 1am the next day after being in custody for over fourteen hours….
So….A 76-year-old man was driving too slowly….Suffering physical symptoms from a stroke….Had handicapped license plate….Tested at 0.0% blood-alcohol….Needing a cane to walk, he was punched in the ribs, knocked to the ground and arrested…Drug expert at the station says no drugs, and noted that the man was “polite and cooperative”….With no evidence of alcohol or drugs, he was booked for “resisting arrest” and held for 15 hours.
Welcome to The War on Drunk Driving.
(Thanks to Joe.)