Riverside, OH — In the state of Ohio, it is unlawful for police to demand your identification unless the officer reasonably suspects you are committing, have committed, or are about to commit a criminal offense or if you witnessed a party committing a felony. It is not a violation of the law to refuse to identify yourself if you do not meet the above criteria. The scenario below shows the chaos and violence that can happen when a person feels this reasonable suspicion has not been articulated.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Riverside police officers responded to a report of domestic violence. When the officers arrived on the scene, they approached a man they believed to be involved in the incident. However, as he was not charged with domestic violence, it appears from the court records that they had the wrong man.
Claiming not to have committed a crime, the man police approached, Christopher McClinton refused to hand over his identification. The woman in the vehicle with him also claimed McClinton had done nothing wrong, however, police continued to escalate the situation.
The video released by the department from one of the officer’s body cameras does not show them presenting reasonable articulable suspicion. Instead, it starts with the officer threatening to arrest McClinton for “failing to identify yourself to a police officer.” The actual law, however, is called Failure to disclose personal information and requires the criteria mentioned above.
The officers gave McClinton several more warnings that if he did not hand over his identification that he would be tasered and arrested. After he refused one more time, the officers moved in to taser and arrest McClinton.
This is where the story takes a dramatic turn. When the officer deploys his taser, the prongs split. One of the prongs goes into McClinton while the other goes into the officer’s partner. As the officer is hit with the taser, he seizes up and falls to the ground in agony, hitting his head in the process.
Before the body camera footage was released, local news ran stories of “an officer injured while responding to a domestic dispute.” They noted that the officer was “wrestling with a suspect when he fell backward and struck his head.” There was no mention of the taser at all.
For what he thought was a lawful refusal to identify, McClinton was subsequently tasered and arrested. He has now been charged with obstructing official business, failure to disclose personal information and resisting arrest — nothing in regards to the alleged domestic incident. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday, according to records.
Below is a video highlighting the extreme escalation of force and the danger it presents to all involved when someone attempts to assert their rights and police respond.
As TFTP has reported in the past, cops needlessly escalating violence often ends with innocent people getting hurt. The family of an innocent 10-year-old boy filed a $4 million lawsuit on behalf of their son last year after he was shot by a trigger-happy Georgia cop. The boy, Dakota Corbitt was shot in the back of his leg while officer Michael Vickers was attempting to kill his dog.
Like McClinton claims, Dakota Corbitt and the rest of his family had done nothing wrong when they were swarmed by cops who held them at gunpoint before shooting the child.
The incident happened in July of 2014 when officers were looking for the suspect of an armed robbery and police shooting. The suspect, 19-year-old Christopher Barnett had fled to the woods near Corbitt’s home.
During Barnett’s apprehension, all hell broke loose as this innocent family had their rights violated at the hands of public servants.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants, Coffee County, Sheriff Doyle Wooten and deputy Michael Vickers, “jointly and severely deprived the plaintiffs and plaintiffs’ minor children of their rights secured by the 4th and 14th Amendments of the United States and as a direct and proximate result of said deprivation defendants’ negligence, gross negligence, and the wanton and willful indifference to the rights of the plaintiffs individually and the rights of the plaintiffs’ minor children, caused the physical pain, suffering, mental anguish and ultimately the permanent restriction of one minor’s right leg.”
Luckily, in the Riverside instance, no innocent children were present to be struck by the officer’s taser.