29 May 2003

Only the innocent need fear

Remember the Oliviero Martinez story I mentioned back in January? Well, the Supreme Court has ruled on the case.

Just as a recap: Martinez was riding his bike past a drug bust when police ordered him to stop. He complied. The cops searched him, and found a pocket knife, at which point they wrestled him to the ground and then shot him five times, in the eyes, spine and legs. One of the cops later claimed that he had started shooting because he had seen Martinez reaching for his partner’s gun.

While Martinez lay bleeding in an ambulance for 45 minutes, the cops interrogated him, at no point informing him of his Miranda rights.

Martinez: “I don’t want to say anything anymore.”

Cop: “No?”

Martinez: “I want them to treat me, it hurts a lot, please.”

Cop: “You don’t want to tell what happened with you over there?”

Martinez: “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die.”

Cop: “Well, if you are going to die, tell me what happened, and right now you think you are going to die?”

Martinez: “No.”

Cop: “No, do you think you are going to die?”

Martinez: “Aren’t you going to treat me or what?”

Cop: “Look, think you are going to die, that’s all I want to know, if you think you are going to die? Right now, do you think you are going to die?”

By the customary 5:4 Republican:Democrat ratio, the Supreme Court has ruled that since Martinez was never charged with any crime, his treatment is not illegal under the Fifth Amendment.

Yes, that’s right: The police can beat and torture you as much as they like, ignoring your constitutional rights, so long as you aren’t charged with a crime.

© mathew 2017