Oklahoma Federal Court Rules That Trouble Understanding Police Orders Constitutes Resistance, Justifies Use of Excessive Force (Taser, Chokehold)

An Oklahoma federal court has refused to hold police responsible for brutalizing an African-American man who, despite complying with police orders during an arrest, 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.

In granting the police officers’ motion to dismiss a Fourth Amendment lawsuit filed by attorneys for The Rutherford Institute on behalf of Jeriel Edwards, the court ruled that Edwards’ confusion and trouble understanding police directions constituted “resistance” that justified the force used by the four police officers involved in the violent arrest. Institute attorneys argued that, as shown by dash cam video of the arrest, Edwards was peaceful, did not defy police orders, and did nothing to provoke the clearly unreasonable and excessive force employed by the police.