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Jack Dunphy

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November 28, 2013 - 12:01 am
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Some advice to holiday travelers: If you find yourself driving through New Mexico, be warned that when the sign says the speed limit is 55, they’re not kidding.  And if you get stopped for going 71 in a 55, it’s best to sign the ticket and continue on your way, with your foot eased back on the gas just a bit, of course.  So discovered one Oriana Farrell of Memphis, Tenn., last month.

Farrell was driving with her five children near Taos on Oct. 28 when she was stopped for speeding by Officer Tony DeTavis of the New Mexico State Police.  The encounter, which was captured on the police car’s dashboard camera, was unremarkable — up to the point Farrell decided to make it otherwise.  In the video, we hear DeTavis tell Farrell he has cited her for speeding and explain that she has the option of appearing in court or paying a $126 fine by mail.  Farrell can’t make up her mind, and she and DeTavis discuss the matter for more than four minutes.  Exasperated, DeTavis tells Farrell to turn her engine off while he goes back to his car.

But Farrell does not turn the car off.  Instead she drives away, with DeTavis soon following behind, lights ablaze and siren wailing.  And then a bad situation gets worse (but not as bad as it would get later).  Farrell pulls over and stops, and DeTavis walks up and opens the driver’s door of the minivan, telling her to get out.  The kids can be heard screaming as DeTavis tries to pull her from behind the wheel.  During the struggle, Farrell’s 14-year-old son gets out of the front passenger seat and walks around the front of the minivan as if to challenge the officer, but he retreats when DeTavis draws his Taser and aims it at him.

If only that were the end of it.  Farrell then tells DeTavis she will sign the ticket, but by now, unbeknownst to her, that is no longer an option.  After trying unsuccessfully to pull Farrell out, DeTavis abandons the tactic and tries his power of persuasion.  This too is fruitless.  He calls for backup and continues and continues and continues to order her out.  At long last she gets out and walks to the back of the minivan, but when it dawns on her that she is about to be arrested, she makes a break for the driver’s door.

And then things really go south.  DeTavis grabs Farrell and tries to keep her from re-entering the minivan, bringing a chorus of screams from the kids inside.  The 14-year-old boy gets out and circles around the back of the minivan before rushing at DeTavis.  DeTavis again draws his Taser, at the sight of which the boy runs away and gets back in the minivan.  Amid much continued shouting, two more officers arrive, each in his own car, to find DeTavis trying without success to open the minivan’s right-side sliding door.  DeTavis then uses a collapsible baton to break a side window, but before he can reach in to unlock the door, Farrell drives off.  As she does so, Officer Elias Montoya fires three pistol shots at the minivan.

Driving at speeds up to 100 mph, Farrell then leads the police on a four-minute chase, during which she ran a red light and at times drove on the wrong side of the road.  She finally pulls into a hotel parking lot and gives up.  A grand jury charged Farrell with 12 counts, including intentional abuse of a child, aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Her son was charged with battery on a police officer.

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Top Rated Comments   
What we have here is a case of black privilege. Black people get extremely upset when they bothered by "the man". Whether this upseted-ness is justified or not is arguable. However, the scale of black privilege has escalated and been sponsored by none other than Barack Hussein Obama, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm who breaks the law regularly and has never had to be confronted about it.

Therefore, it's logical to assume that other black lawbreakers in the nation feel empowered to do likewise; Adding to the already put-upon feeling they have when subjected to being caught for minor offenses.

In other words, they feel because they're black, they are owed the "right" to be excused and should not have to be held accountable in today's society for wrongdoing. That's for white-folk 'cause it's THEIR laws, not blacks'.

I'm not kidding. This is the thought-process, for lack of a better term.

Go ahead, call me a racist. But here in SC, I dare you to find me one black person who doesn't think this way, especially those who are 50 years of age or younger.

And I believe, thanks to the scofflaw in the president's chair who does this regularly, that the attitude has grown and magnified.

Yes, the police acted stupidly by shooting at the minivan. Inexcusable. But Ms Farrell, upon finding out she was to be held accountable by having to pay a fine did the typical african-american dance of outrage that I've seen so many times. The average white dude would be annoyed, and even angered that they got nabbed but would pay the fine and make it a priority. After all, the signs are there, clear as day and the cop was just doing their duty.

But blacks have this underlying outrage fostered by their "leaders" name of Jackson and Sharpton and reinforced by a president who doesn't seem to have to obey the laws and no one in the nation wants to call him on it because they'll be called a racist.

Yeah...well....at least in the US, it's a problem of our own making and it was allowed to happen, thanks again to our ridiculous media and idiotic talking heads who have laid the foundation for Farrell's poor behavior for decades.

I say let her go and, like the nappy headed ho from the frat-party-gone-wrong in North Carolina, she'll eventually wind up where she belongs. Why? Because they continue to break the law, unaccounted for until they do something so heinous that they have to be incarcerated.

It's a typical behavioral trait that is so deeply ingrained to their habits that they cannot and will not break it. They feel perfectly justified. It comes down to individual responsibility and Ms Farrell isn't about to blame herself for anything because Jackson and Sharpton won't let that happen.

Enablers, poor behavior reaps the eventual reward of the society we currently inhabit.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tell you what. Let Officer Montoya experience the exact same consequences a concealed carry holder would experience if he had popped a few rounds in an identical scenario.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This article reads so well the only real question is, what's the lesson for the future?

This Thanksgiving my family will be arguing whether the quickest and most satisfying way to restore the primacy of Truth, Justice and the American Way is for every gun owner to take three shots at every passing media vehicle.
And to keep at it until the problem is solved.

We're certainly not alone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (91)
All Comments   (91)
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The police had her car registration and almost certainly her name and address. He had enough time to see that she was not drunk or drugged. All that remained was that appear or pay-by-mail option--perhaps just checking a box on the ticket. By leaving, a sensible cop could have assumed she'd opted to pay-by-mail.

There was no need for a chase, with the accompanying danger to those children, and no need to create a situation that brought on all those other charges. The cop should have let her go, perhaps tacking on some additional charge to be paid by mail. And if she doesn't pay, it's not the end of the world. Whatever happens that chase and its aftermath will cost that police department far more than one unpaid ticket.

Sadly, all too many cops are control freaks who go nuts when someone doesn't do as they say. If this cop had been a real professional, he'd have let her go. She wasn't a danger to anyone. It's the cop who created the danger by losing control and giving chase.

A professional is someone who knows how to handle complex, difficult situations with skill, including those involving people with emotional issues. And when things go wrong--as they certainly did here--they don't blame others. They examine how they could have behaved differently. In this case, a real professional would have let her go.

I faced similar situations working in a hospital when one of my patients refused to comply with a doctors order. I didn't get belligerent. I didn't call security. I just warned him of the consequences and went on. And in over two years on the job that teen boy was my only non-compliance issue. Why? Probably because I didn't play power games. Power games only make certain people more resistance. Give people the chance to go along and they typically will. Attempt to bully, and they'll resist just because you're bullying.

And bosh on those who blame the woman for being black. You can find Youtube videos and news stories of whites behaving equally badly in these situations. The question isn't 'Do people do stupid things?" It's how the police respond to their stupidity. Do they show good sense or do they counter stupidity with stupidity?

I should comment on this closing remark in the article: "Let the officers’ conduct be investigated and judged appropriately, but so too let Farrell answer for her own."

That precisely illustrates my point. The issue is not making Farrell answer for her behavior. It's no even investigating and judging the cops. That's the folly of waiting for bad things to happen and then fighting over who gets blamed and punished. It's far better to learn how to prevent trouble in the first place and for that ALL the responsibility rests on the cops.

There's no way we're going to get rid of people in the public who do stupid things. We can't throw them out of the country. We'd can't make everyone attend classes. But we can change cops. They're the professionals--or at least they should be. They're the ones who can be screened and trained.

Those who'd like to explore this in more detail might look at Youtube videos by those who challenge border patrol stops. They take care to assert precisely what their rights are in a court-approved manner. Some cops recognize what's going on and realize that they have no 'probable cause' to detail and politely concede. Others become belligerent and demanding, clearly losing control and making themselves look foolish.

And that, on a larger scale, is what happened here.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
No one also mentions the behavior by the 14 year old. He is already in a Trayvon Martin mentality. Violent and itching to express that violence. No one is also talking about the attitude and contempt for the law that black people express routinely. It is clear that Farrell did not think the police had any autority over her because she is black.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The first cop didn't know how to handle the situation knowing damn well the kids where in the car, they were scared and terrified. All of them should get fired. I hope she wins lawsuit, all these cops walking around like they have power over everything and they can't even do their job! Smh any kid would defend their mother when they feel they are in danger. He should had did more for the safety of those kids since the mother was being reckless get the kids off the car and call for help. Instead he breaks the window? Really idiot and the cop pointing the gun on the child they should come to Chicago if they really want to see some action and discharge their weapons on real criminals not on a traffic stop! The racist comments here are totally irrelevant to this scenario.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Crazy talk. The police can't issue speeding tickets to a driver if there are children present? It was the mother's responsiblity to behave not the officer's responsibility not to arrest her for her crimes. Having a child in the car does not give you immunity from the law.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why is it that I do not need to watch the video to be absolutely certain of the sub-culture from which this woman springs?

It's not the color, it's the values, stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The color creates the values.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So...an idiot didn't want a ticket for going 71 on a highway almost certainly designed for 75mph traffic and then reduced to 55 so that local jurisdictions can use passing citizens as ATMs...well big deal, we all get screwed. She then flips out and endangers her kids...I am 100% on the side of the officer right up until he fires on a vehicle with kids in it for speeding.

IF his life was in immediate jeopardy, then lethal force is totally justified, but he seems to be trying to "control the situation" with gunfire. Once again this is that "always control the situation" hyper-militarized "I don't give a crap about you I'm coming home" garbage that has infected the police and rendered them "the bad guys". I like the idea of simply treating the officer like a CCW holder who did the same thing. As to the woman...normally I'd say jail, pure and simple, but that was back when I trusted the police.

She probably deserves jail, but at the end of the "Lawful but Awful" comment barrage a cop wrote in to explain that I should shut up and never call if my home is broken into because I no longer supported law enforcement with the unequivocal devotion I used to...that was when I realized to my horror that I would never want to call the police for any reason. Even justifiable self defense is a means to get their arrest stats up.

The police are not our friends or public servants, they are at best revenue collection agents and at worst the foot soldiers of petty tyrannies. I suspect the lady thought the cop was going to find a pretext to take her away from her kids, just like I would assume if I shot an intruder in my home at 2am, that the only thing on the cops mind would be how to twist any statement I made into an arrest and felony case clearance. This sucks. The bad guy (or girl) in this case has to get a pass in my mind because my faith in the police is zero...I can't stand this. I *hate* not trusting the agents of one of the actual, legitimate functions of government...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You shouldn't call a cop if your home is broken into in any case. Property crimes are the lowest level priority of the police nowadays. Private property rights mean nothing to them. "You can always buy more stuff," is their constantly-repeated mantra. Many local police jurisdictions, intoxicated by the river of federal money that drives the War on Drugs, will not accept property crime reports, even if you bother to write one.

Police get no federal funds for solving property crimes. Why bother investigating a home break-in or a stolen lawnmower and maybe clear one felony crime, when in the same amount time invested you could have arrested 500 or even 1,000 marijuana users? And by arresting 1000s of marijuana users you just earned generous millions in federal funds, along with swag like retired armored vehicles, automatic weapons, night vision goggles and so on?

Coupled with drug forfeiture laws, policing has become strictly a for-profit business.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All the lady had to do was sign the ticket and leave, period. But she decides to make an issue of it. Should the policeman have fired at the van?? No way but all in all our state police, yes I am from New Mexico, is a good and competent organization. The situation down in Deming, anal drug search, was done by local cops and the City of Deming and Luna County need to be sued big time for that miserable farce. Big difference in this state between local law enforcement and the state police.

Some of the posters here seem to not realize that New Mexico is a state in the US, not the country of Mexico.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"All the lady had to do was sign the ticket and leave,"

Lady?

Where?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I know what you are saying and agree but I was just trying to keep it civil.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There's nothing uncivil about the word, "woman", which is accurate.

No need to dilute the value of the word, "lady".

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not only could the "lady" have just signed the ticket and left, but absent that the police could have also just sent a summons and notice of court hearing and should she have failed to appear, a default would have entered. 99 percent of the time, a person like that never appears in court, so everyone wins.

How's that for an alternative to shooting into a minivan with five kids?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Some of the posters here seem to not realize that New Mexico is a state in the US, not the country of Mexico."

The way some cops in your state act, that's an easy mistake to make.

I've traveled extensively in New Mexico, and find the scenery striking, and in many cases, beautiful. But the "local" law enforcement shenanigans would certainly deter me from risking a vacation there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The way some cops in your state act, that's an easy mistake to make."

One might say that about some cops in any state or locality. I bet you have bad apple cops in your state.

And, if you really think that the cops in New Mexico are the same as in Mexico try doing what that woman did in that country. Probably cost your family thousands to get you out if you are lucky. By the time the Mexican cops got through working you over with electric prods while they had you stand in tubs of water you might think different.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You are correct about bad apples in all states. You have to admit though the anal search is going too far, though, right?

In my state (Idaho), a pregnant woman arrested on a misdemeanor warrant was rushed to the hospital and went into labor. She was handcuffed and leg-ironed to the hospital bed during the delivery, with armed male cops standing over her with guns drawn, leering over the procedure.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My wife and I were heading through Wyoming two years ago. I watched her on the bike in front of me stop at a stop sign, put her kickstand down, adjust her helmet visor, put the bike in gear and go. At that point, a female Wyoming cop pulled her over, and tried to pick a cat fight with her. My wife simply stood mute with her license and registration in her hand. The lady cop winked at me on her way past me to harass my wife.
She handed my wife a fake, madeup, BS ticket, and said, "That's gonna cost you $100!" My wife just replied, "Well, I guess I have to put in an extra hour at work."
That was fun to hear. Later, in Cody, Wy, we walked around town as Wyoming's finest pulled over every out of state car they could. We heard them on the radios saying, for example, "We got one from Pennsylvania!"
Those cowboy pricks then proceeded to "mishear" my order at their local restaurant and give me extra food, and charge me for it too.
Finally, in Yellowstone, I was drinking with some folks from Wyoming, and I asked, them, "Why do you guys ticket everyone from out of state?" And they replied, "We don't like y'all!"
Funny, ha? So it's not Dick Cheney I dislike, it's the parasitic police departments around the country who use driving as a revenue tool. In my town, White Plains, NY, they will ticket your ass for parking for one minute without feeding the meter. They made $28 million bucks last year, I heard, in parking fees. Don't quote me on the exact number.
But as far as dealing with the cops, the lady in the video is just another example of poor judgement. Some cops suck. If you have to deal with one, be quite, be polite, and either pay the fine or appeal. Taking off in your car is just plain stupid, no matter what color you are.
Oh, by the way, there appear to be no police at all in Phili, so enjoy!


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Mexico it is possible that when driving cross country like this family that the police could stop you and sell you to a kidnap crew. New Mexico might not quite be Switzerland, but it is not the corrupt hell hole portrayed by some commenters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Exactly, when it comes to corruption we are not even in the same league as the real pros in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and California.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Arguing that New Mexico isn't as bad as Mexico is not going to help its horribly-tarnished image. Your cops had already given the state a massive, probably irreversible black eye with the colonoscopy search, and that was before this latest round of insane cops in a ultra-hyper blood frenzy over two marijuana pipes. Everyone that I know that has seen the anal search story just SHUDDERS in teeth grinding, gut wrenching horror..

New Mexico probably needs to understand that two states have already legalized marijuana (Washington, Colorado) with two more likely to follow this year (California, Vermont).

Weed smokers should have an extraordinarily easy time planning their vacation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The right or wrong of the anal search has NOTHING to do with whether or not pot is legal elsewhere, or should be legal anywhere or everywhere.

There is nothing about the severity of the crime that either excuses OR condemns the conduct of the police.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The point is everybody should stay away from New Mexico until it gets its extremely appalling police under reign.

You can avoid the forced-colonoscopies, multiple anal searches and having your children shot at by vacationing in Colorado or Washington.

Like it or not, legalized pot is going to be a colossal economic boom for the tourism industry in both states. Likewise, New Mexico's sickening human rights violations, especially the way that cop supporters are defending such actions, should lead to a steep drop off in tourism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Then let them go to Washington and Colorado. We don't need them here in New Mexico. We have enough trouble with far left California and East Coast imports as it is. I bet Wyoming feels the same way.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"What's going on with NM?"

Whats going on?

Same as everywhere...Union Bums, with guns.

Nuff said
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'll agree with the author in this instance, to a point, in that the woman was in the wrong in many ways on multiple levels.

However, I'll also holds that the officers involved were likewise in the wrong.

In the initial stop, the officer rightly had no inkling this were about to go crazy. I'll give him that much of a pass. The problem I have is with how he handled (mishandled? ) everything that followed.

The driver obviously has issues - what else kind of person just drives off like that? The officer rightly pursues her again and pulls her over a second time.

All justifiable.

One issue for me is why he didn't pull his car in front of her? That may have prevented the second attempt at fleeing. Beyond that, it should have dawned on him that something was badly out of killer here with the woman.

Clearly drugs were involved - but what if she had come off of medication and that was what was triggering the bizarre behavior? What if she were in the middle of a nervous breakdown? Multiple reasons could explain her behavior absent the fact of drugs - which he would not have initially known about.

Blocking the car in and calling for backup - AND THEN SEEKING TO CALM THE SITUATION DOWN - may have allowed him to take her into custody peacefully and that would have been the end of it.

Instead, he didn't exercise self control either and things degenerated until he was bashing the Window in with a Baton.

Yeah, someone unstable is really going to respond appropriately at that point.

The barney fire shooting at the tires - he needs to find another line of work. That just goes beyond stupid and other commentators are right that he should face the same repercussions as a concealed carry person for recklessly endangering innocent lives.

The 14 year old - cut him slack.

In his world he saw his mom being attacked. He needs someone to intervene and explain the ramifications of his actions and maybe get him on the straight and narrow.

The woman - she deserves every charge posed against her and she needs to lose custody of those kids.

As for me, that state is definitely off my list of vacation destinations.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"As for me, that state is definitely off my list of vacation destinations."

Don't let this make you not want to visit New Mexico. It is a beautiful state with a long and complex history and as long as you don't think you can drive 71 in a 55mph zone and then basically give the finger to the cops you will have no problem.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No doubt it is.

But between the anal probing and the shooting at cars full of children, I'm sure you can understand why the rest of us might be more than a little circumspect about traveling there regardless of driving ability.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I guarantee you are a whole lot safer driving in most areas of New Mexico than in most areas of say Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, Detroit, etc.

How about your state? Law enforcement conducts no illegalities there?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"One issue for me is why he didn't pull his car in front of her? "

In such a position he would have been a sitting duck since he is directly in front of a potential attacker. You approach from the rear so as to have time to react to an attacking occupant who has to make considerably more motion in an attempt to face you and make a move on you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not sure I can agree here.

If he pulled in front, placing his vehicle diagonally so the body of the car was between him and the driver he had just pulled over, then he would have cover in case someone opened fire or just hit the accelerator (whether deliberately or in a panic confusing it and the gas pedal.

The fact remains he screwed up, and by his inability to control not only the traffic stop but also his own reactions to how this crazy woman reacted, you ended up with him bashing the window in with a baton and his cohort shooting at a vehicle full of innocent children.

I'm not saying the woman was not in the wrong - but that doesn't absolve the police from their own over reactions either.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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