Orlando, FL — Viral video uploaded to Instagram on Saturday shows an arrest gone awry, which — though both the suspect and two officers were lucky to escape with their lives — proves the absolute folly of the State’s war on drugs.
Two Orlando bicycle officers were patrolling downtown when they passed by Antwan James Jordan and a friend sitting on the trunk of Jordan’s car. Using the alleged odor of marijuana as a reason for the stop, the two cops approached the pair and frisked them for substances the State deems illegal.
According to an arrest report cited by the Orlando Sentinel, one of the officers discovered a baggie containing about nine grams of cocaine in Jordan’s front pocket. When the cop tried to remove the stash from the man’s pocket, he bolted for the driver’s side door — but the two officers then pulled him to the ground.
At this point, bystander Charles Fernandez wisely began filming.
“I’m in downtown Orlando enough to know that when someone is struggling with cops, it’s time to start recording,” Fernandez said, according to the Sentinel.
As a crowd of onlookers gathered around, Jordan can be seen in footage wrestling with the two officers — even managing to break one’s grasp, rising to his feet while the other cop hangs onto his back.
Jordan shortly shakes both of them and jumps into the driver’s seat — as the two cops try to pull him back onto the street. Suddenly, Jordan slams the accelerator and begins to speed off — dragging the two zealous cops a few feet before they break free and roughly hit the pavement, as the video ends.
“I thought it was just going to be a typical arrest,” Fernandez said. “Maybe he’d struggle a little, but then he jumped in his car. I couldn’t believe it.”
Jordan’s high-speed escape ended not far from the scene when he crashed into golf cart serving as a taxi — seriously injuring the driver.
After that crash, Jordan was arrested and police recovered a handgun, about $2,000 in cash, and a drug scale.
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“Our officers were in a great deal of danger,” asserted Orlando Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Guido in the Sentinel, adding the situation could have been even worse had Jordan drawn his weapon.
Indeed, the situation could have been worse for everyone involved.
Jordan, like so many other black males, could have been fatally shot had the officers shown less restraint as has become commonplace in the U.S. in recent years.
Either or both officers could have been run over by Jordan’s car as he sped away — causing serious or even lethal injuries. They could have come under fire by Jordan as he defended himself with his weapon, as happened to Officer Sean Bolton, who lost his life in Memphis one year ago.
The wholly innocent golf cart driver could have been killed, a victim of Jordan’s desperate escape attempt.
Or, in a sane world, where substances which harm no one but the user are legal, the odor of a plant would be something to smile about — rather than a cause to aggressively detain someone before locking them in a cage.
Whatever alleged cocaine the officer found, would not only not have been discovered — triggering the violent incident — it would not have been an additional cause to generate revenue and put someone behind bars.
In fact, if it weren’t for the war on drugs — a proven failed attempt to regulate nonviolent, so-called crimes in the name of power, control, and funding for local, state, and federal government — no one in this situation would be the worse off.
Guido’s officers would have no reason to put themselves in harm’s way; Jordan would have no reason to initiate a desperate escape attempt; indeed, bystanders wouldn’t instinctively know to pull out their cameras because so many needless arrests turn brutal and violent.
But while the State can make profit from ticketing people for a plant, or from court fees essentially extorted from otherwise peaceful people, or from private prisons which house the world’s largest percentage of supposed criminals on the planet — most of whom have committed no crime of injury to another party, at all — then the drug war will continue to make victims where none should exist.
For the police to say they are put in danger on a regular basis isn’t entirely untrue; but it misses the point that neither they, nor the people they target, should ever have to face such danger — danger wholly manufactured around personal vice.
It’s time to stop changing the conversation to fit the government’s narrative — ending the war on drugs would go a hell of a long way to ending all this unnecessary violence.