speeding

(EDITOR’S NOTE, 7/31/19, 11:57 AM ET: An earlier version of this article indicated that the officer drew his sidearm. Further review of the video shows the officer drawing what could be a Taser device. The police report does not indicate whether or not a weapon was drawn on Morton. We’ve reached out to the Mississippi Highway Patrol for a statement on this incident, and will update the article in the event of a response.)

A video spreading rapidly on social media shows two Mississippi Highway Patrol officers violently arresting an unarmed black man for speeding.

In the video, the man — identified in the official police report as 34-year-old Robert Morton — is seen arguing with state trooper Brandon Berry while his friend, Porsha Shields, records the interaction. Trooper Berry informed Morton he was being detained, and Morton repeatedly asked him why. Then, Berry told him he was under arrest, and to put his hands behind his back.

Morton refused, and again asked why he was being arrested. Berry told him he was being arrested not only for speeding, but for resisting arrest. Morton again refused to put his hands behind his back, and pulled away when Berry attempted to apprehend him. At that point, Berry appears to draw what could be a Taser on Morton, while he waited for backup.

Backup arrived in the form of Mississippi state trooper James Scott, who almost immediately choked Morton after he arrived on the scene. Then, Scott and Berry are seen throwing Morton to the ground and violently arresting him.

“Get your fuckin’ hands behind your back,” Scott is heard saying as he puts his hands on Morton’s neck.

“Oh my goodness!” Shields yells as Morton is arrested. “You guys gotta do all that? You guys gotta do all that?”

(The video erroneously states that the officers were from Texas, rather than Mississippi.)

Morton’s booking sheet confirms that he was charged with multiple traffic-related offenses, like driving in excess of 20 miles over the speed limit, a seat belt violation, and violating the state’s child restraint law. Morton was also charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The police report filed by Trooper Scott shows that Porsha Shields was also arrested.

speeding

In Mississippi, driving more than 20 miles over the posted speed limit is an arrestable offense, though the crime is only a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $100 for first-time offenders. Trooper Berry’s police report states that Morton was driving 101 miles per hour in a 65 mile-per-hour zone.

Twitter user @_SJPeace_, who posted Shields’ video, pointed out that officers treated the gunman behind the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina better than Morton was treated for a simple speeding offense. The Charleston shooter was indeed taken into police custody without any violent confrontation, and police even bought him a meal at Burger King after he was jailed.

“Don’t EVER ask me why Kaepernick took a knee and why I kneel,” he tweeted. “BLACK LIVES MATTER!”

 

Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.

Comments

  1. They didn’t mention his exact speed in the video therefore it’s safe to assume that he wasn’t 20 over. Wheres the proof? I wanna see it!
    They didn’t have to ruff him up especially the second cop that just flat out did his BS!

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