In September of 2011, then 16 year old Mathew Robinson and his mother Eva were walking their dog in Dover Arkansas. Along the way, Mathew made the grave and fateful mistake of waving at a police officer, who was driving by. In spite of his later admittance that it is completely legal to wave at a cop, Deputy Marshall Steven Payton decided that doing so was “suspicious.”
This unfounded and ridiculous suspicion by Payton soon led to Mathew being beaten, kicked, tased (22 times), and arrested. In addition, Eva was also beaten, choked, and arrested. All of that was in spite of Deputy Marshall Payton readily admitting that there was no reasonable suspicion of any crime that would justify them even being detained.
According to ACLU.org:
Dover Deputy Marshall Steven Payton testified that he detained the Robinsons and their dog in the back of his patrol car, with the intent to take them to jail solely to identify them. When co-defendant Pope County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Kristopher Stevens arrived on the scene, he ordered Matthew to get out of the car. When Matthew was not able to get out quickly enough, the Pope County sergeant tased him twice inside the car.
Counsel for the officers claim that the incident would have been avoided if Matthew had said who he was or if he had gotten out of the patrol car when they said, maintaining that officers had “no choice” to use the taser.
As is typical, the travesties involved in this case don’t simply end with the physical beatings and unnecessary arrests. The police even admitted to lying on the police reports and evidence that should have been preserved was “lost.” Payton and Sergeant Stevens even readily admitted that their violent actions, especially the multiple tasings of Mathew, were violations of department policy. In addition, neither Mathew nor his mother were read their rights or even told that they were being arrested or why. In spite of that they haven’t been disciplined in any way whatsoever for their actions that day.
So, in the brilliant world of Cop Logic, something that anyone else on the planet would perceive as a friendly gesture isn’t only a justification for, but actually leaves them “no choice” except to harass, beat, torture, and kidnap a completely innocent teenager and his mother, who were simply out walking their dog. And those despicable acts, along with the laundry list of policy violations, some of which also violate constitutional protections, isn’t a reason for their respective departments to hold them accountable
It’s rather amazing at this point that they still have trouble figuring out why people have lost every bit of respect they once had for the police and why some are even starting to shoot back.