‘Americans are being shot, stripped, searched, choked, beaten and tasered’

The Rutherford Institute has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for help from the justices to protect the rights of a police-beating victim.

The case is over a beating inflicted by police officers in Oklahoma on Jeriel Edwards, who was in his parked car, inebriated, when officers from Muskogee, Oklahoma, confronted him.

He was complying with police orders but “was subjected to excessive force and brutality, including being thrown to the ground, tasered, and placed in a chokehold that rendered him unconscious and required his hospitalization for three days.”

Lower courts gave a pass to those officers.

“If you ask police what Americans should do to stay alive during encounters with law enforcement, they will tell you to comply, cooperate, obey, not resist, not argue, not make threatening gestures or statements, avoid sudden movements, and submit to a search of their person and belongings,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.

“The problem is what to do when compliance is not enough. How can you maintain the illusion of freedom when daily, Americans are being shot, stripped, searched, choked, beaten and tasered by police for little more than daring to frown, smile, question, challenge an order or merely exist?”

The case stems from the beating that happened on October 25, 2016.

“Jeriel Edwards was sitting in his car in the parking lot of a Muskogee Wendy’s restaurant in Muskogee, Okla., when he was approached by a police officer and ordered to put the car in park and provide his identification,” the institute noted. “According to body and dashboard camera video, the officer then ordered Edwards to exit the vehicle and remove his hands from his pockets. Edwards complied with all of the officer’s orders. A second Muskogee police officer arrived at the scene. Edwards was ordered to face the vehicle and place his hands behind his back. One officer grabbed Edwards’ right arm while the other officer shoved his head into the corner of the car door. Edwards was then slammed to the pavement. As the officers pushed Edwards’ head and neck to the ground, they also placed a knee on his body to pin him to the ground. Edwards repeatedly asked why the officers were abusing him, but got no answer.”

“Instead, the first officer fired a taser at Edwards as he lay on the ground. A third officer arrived on the scene and made two striking motions at Edwards, the impact of which can be heard on the body camera video. A fourth officer arrived at the scene and put Edwards in a chokehold. As the four officers dragged Edwards to the ground, another joined the fray and held Edwards down by digging his knee into his body. Edwards lost consciousness en route to the hospital, where he was admitted to the ICU.”

Video of the encounter:

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