Recently, Prairie View, Texas City Councilman Jonathan Miller is seen on videotape allegedly resisting arrest when several Prairie View police officers attempted to arrest him. Afterwards, the officers tasered him. The officers claimed he interfered with their official duty. I’ll withhold comments on whether the officer’s decision to use the taser was appropriate as well as their interference claim. I will take this opportunity though to remind people once again strongly that resisting arrest is dangerous.
Ironically, Prairie View is the same city where state and city police officers manhandled Sandra Bland before arresting and placing her in the Prairie View jail where she died. Jail officials claimed she committed suicide, but her family refuted this claim and filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The county investigation into her death is in tatters. The Huffington Post reports of conflicts of interest and other problems with the investigation. We await the outcome of Ms. Bland’s sad case anxiously. Moreover, I wrote a lengthy article that detailed how the police mishandled her arrest.
Meanwhile, the Councilman surely knows resisting arrest is dangerous when the examples are numerous of cops killing black men for resisting arrest. Thankfully the Councilman did not suffer the fate of Eric Garner and Walter Scott. And do not misunderstand me, had the officers killed the Councilman for allegedly resisting arrest, they would have been wrong, as were the officers who killed Mr. Garner or Mr. Scott for allegedly resisting arrest. Their deaths were unjustified based on videotape footage I watched. Moreover, as an African-American criminal defense attorney, I know quite well that capital punishment is incongruent with selling loose cigarettes or resisting arrest. On the other hand, resisting arrest is dangerous for black men, for which there is no debate.
Admittedly, it is difficult to comply with the commands of police officers when they act rudely or unlawfully. A sense of justice rises in you when they disrespect you. Naturally, you want to fight back and stand up for yourself. I understand that since it has happened to me on a few occasions. Nevertheless, fighting police officers on the side of the street is very ill-advised and usually will not end well. In light of obvious safety concerns, the United State Supreme Court has empowered them with near carte blanche authority on the streets. Moreover, they are heavily armed and can have many other heavily armed police officers at their sides in seconds. Therefore, fighting them is best done in court, not on the street, especially if you are a black man. Quite frankly, many people will deem it a type of suicide if you fight them on the streets.
I am not naïve. I know black men can behave admirably during a police stop, and the police still kill them. There are many examples of that too. Nevertheless, I stand firm in my argument that the chances of the police killing someone decrease if the individual handles the encounter smartly as I suggested in an article I wrote shortly after Ms. Bland’s death.
Lastly, it is worth stating that I intend the esteemed Councilman no disrespect, and I applaud him for his commendable accomplishments. Moreover, this article is not really about him. It is about warning young black men (and women) that resisting arrest is dangerous and poses potentially serious life changing consequences. It is the lives and futures of these young people I am trying to save.