Citizens in this country have a constitutional right to verbally oppose or challenge the actions of a police officer. As the U.S. Supreme Court has declared, "The Constitution does not allow such speech to be made a crime. The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state." CITY HOUSTON v. HILL, 107 S. Ct. 2502, 482 U.S. 451 (U.S. 06/15/1987).
On September 4, 2013, University of Central Florida (UCF) College Student Victoria King was driving on the UCF campus to an emergency doctor's appointment. Ms. King was severely bleeding and believed she may be having a miscarriage. She was driving her mother's car.
She was pulled over by UCF Police Department (UCFPD) Officer Timothy Isaacs because one rear tail light was out on the car. Ms. King advised the officer of her medical emergency which was ignored by the officer.
The officer took Ms. King's driver license, returned to his patrol car, and immediately began writing Ms. King a ticket for the bad tail light. This officer did not even consider giving Ms. King a verbal or written warning that is standard practice in Florida. One officer in Panama City, Florida, has commented that it is "common decency" to issue someone in Ms. King's situation a warning to get the tail light fixed, particulary considering the medical emergency.
When this officer returned with the ticket to the driver's side window of the car Ms. King, for her safety, rolled her window half-way down, more than sufficient for her to (1) communicate with the officer and (2) receive her yellow copy of the ticket. However, at this time the officer became obsessed and increasinly incensed with Ms. King not rolling the window "all the way" down and refused to conduct business with Ms. King though a half open window. Ms. King, a young female, posed no danger to the officer at any time and simply asked, "why."
The officer dishonestly responded that it was for his safety because (1) he had to "reach" into the window to (2) have her "sign" the ticket. Under Florida law a citizen does NOT have to "sign" a traffic ticket for a bad tail light, a minor noncriminal violation that does not require an appearance in court. Nor did this officer have to "reach" into the vehicle but only had to hand Ms. King her yellow copy of the ticket. In fact, Ms. King reached out through the window to receive the ticket which the officer refused to give her.
Ms. King defensively rolled her window up and the officer directed her to roll it down which she did part way. At this point the officer reached with his hands to the top of the window, grabbed the top of the window, and explosively shattered the window.
Ms. King was dragged from the car, thrown to the pavement, handcuffed, arrested, and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor resisting charge. The two felony charges have recently been abandoned by the prosecutor in Orlando, Florida. Only one misdemeanor charge of resisting remains to be considered and resolved.
"But for" this officer's obsession and incensed conduct Ms. King would not have been threatened, assaulted, battered, and arrested. This officer is under investigation by UCFPD and should be disciplined and better trained.
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