The U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion released Monday in the case involving the arrest in St. Louis of Nicholas Gilbert and his subsequent death while in a prone restraint imposed by police officers, has put officers on notice about the procedure.
Article by Bob Unruh from WND.
The issue has become a flash-point across America since the death a year ago in Minneapolis of George Floyd, who was placed in such a restraint on the ground and subsequently died.
One police officer, Derek Chauvin, has been convicted in that case and sentenced to 20-plus years in prison. Several other officers still face charges.
But the question of how much force to apply, and how to apply it, remains controversial today.
The Supreme Court said there are significant questions when officers apply such force that include whether the targeted person already is restrained with handcuffs or the like.
Further, what do law-enforcement protocols require.
And, the justices, in a per curiam order that returns the Gilbert case to the lower courts to “employ an inquiry that clearly attends to the facts and circumstances in answering those questions in the first instance, had a warning.
“Guidance further indicates that the struggles of a prone suspect may be due to oxygen deficiency, rather than a desire to disobey officers’ commands. Such evidence, when considered alongside the direction of the restraint and the fact that Gilbert was handcuffed and leg shackled at the time, may be pertinent to the relationship between the need for the use of force and the amount of force used, the security problem at issue, and the threat – to both Gilbert and others – reasonably perceived by the officers.”
The court explains Gilbert was arrested for trespassing and traffic ticket charges in 2015. He was jailed, and when an officer saw him tie a piece of clothing around the bars of his call and putting it around his neck, six officers went into his cell.
He struggled and the officers handcuffed him with his hands behind his back and put him in leg shackles. Then they put him in a prone position, face down, and held him down at the shoulders, biceps and legs, and “at least one other placed pressure on Gilbert’s back and torso.”
Gilbert complained, “It hurts. Stop,” and after about 15 minutes his breathing became abnormal and he stopped moving. The officers turned him over and found no pulse, and he was pronounced dead.
Gilbert’s parents sued, claiming excessive force, but the district court said the officers were immune and the 8th Circuit claimed there was no unconstitutional excessive force.
The high court ruling noted “St. Louis instructs its officers that pressing down on the back of a prone subject can cause suffocation,” and police procedures recommend officers get a subject off his stomach as soon as he is handcuffed “because of that risk.”
Such factors need to be addressed because they all contribute to the perception of what force is required against a prisoner, the court said.
Three of the court’s conservative justices said the proper action would not be to just return the case to the lower courts for further review, but to have the Supreme Court itself review the facts.
The dissent, by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said, “That is the course I would take … A decision by this court on the question presented here could be instructive.”
The dissent found: “Without carefully studying the record, I cannot be certain whether I would have agreed with the Eighth Circuit panel that summary judgment for the defendants was correct. The officers plainly had a reasonably basis for using some degree of force to restrain Gilbert so that he would not harm himself, and it appears that Gilbert, despite his slight stature [5’3″ and 160 pounds] put up a fierce and prolonged resistance. … On the other hand, the officers’ use of force inflicted serious injures, and the medical evidence on the cause of death was conflicting.”
New Conservative Network Seeks Crowdfunding Help
They say we have to go big or go home. We’re trying to go big and bring the patriotic truth the the nation, but we need help.
Readers may or may not realize that over the past year, we’ve been bringing more conservative news and opinion outlets under our wing. Don’t take our expansion as a sign of riches; all of the “acquisitions” have been through sweat and promises of greater things to come for all involved. As a result, we’ve been able to bring together several independent media sites under a unified vision of preventing America from succumbing to the progressive, “woke,” Neo-Marxist ideologies that are spreading like wildfire across America.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $3000-$7000 per month. In other words, we’re in the red and hemorrhaging.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring the truth to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going.
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One Sick Day Proves We Need More Voices in Truthful Media
On October 19, I was sick. It crossed my mind that I had finally gotten the ‘rona, but my wife’s cream of chicken soup and a few extra hours of sleep into mid-afternoon had be back up and running after a sleepless night before.
When I finally stumbled over to my computer in the evening, I was met with a deluge of concern from readers. They asked what had happened as only one article had been posted that day. Generally, we post between 10-20 daily between all of the sites, not included curated and aggregated content. Seeing that we’d only posted my super-early morning article before taking the rest of the day off had readers assuming the worst.
We have a wonderful and talented group of writers who volunteer their time for the sites and their readers. Sharing their amazing perspectives has always been a blessing to us because we cannot afford to hire anyone at this time. But having great writers is meaningless if we don’t have great editors, or at least one additional. My wife helps me read and edit stories from time to time, but I’m a one-man show when it comes to getting the stories posted.
Whenever I highlight our desperate need for donations, I note that we do not receive money from Google ads even though most in conservative media are beholden. I often ambiguously note that the money donated will help us grow. Today, I’m highlighting a specific need. We must get an editor to help take some of the load and to expand on our mission of spreading the truth to the world. One sick day proved that.
The great news is that there is no shortage of people who CAN help. I am emailed variations of resumes every week by people who are much smarter than I am. As much as I’d love to hire some of them, we simply cannot. That takes money and as blessed as we’ve been to receive donations and collect ad money (though not from Google or Facebook), we have still fallen short.
Those who have the means, PLEASE consider donating. We have the standard Giving Fuel option and people can donate through PayPal. We are also diving into what we believe is extremely disruptive technology at LetsGo.finance, the world’s first major donation portal for crypto. I’ll be talking a lot more about them in the near future. Those who prefer Bitcoin can send to my address here: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
We can get the voices out there and we’re willing to shine a spotlight on new talent. We just need the resources to make it happen. If you can help, we would be extremely grateful.
Thank you and God bless!