Posts tagged ‘Dibor Roberts’

The State Protects Itself

Dibor Roberts was convicted, somehow, for being attacked by a police officer.

The jury in the Dibor Roberts case returned a verdict that I can only describe as contemptible, finding her guilty
of resisting arrest and felony flight from a law officer as a result of
a brutal attack upon her by Sgt. Jeff Newnum of the Yavapai County
Sheriff's Department.

Greg Nix of Larson newspapers has an interesting insight,
suggesting that the trial could have come down to the prosecution
painting a picture for the jury of "'angry black woman' v. 'respectable
white officer.'" He adds, "I grew up in the South so running the 'angry
black woman' strategy is nothing new and generally works for getting

Perhaps he's right, and the decision was
essentially racist. Or maybe the prosecution succeeded in picking
jurors who bow down and bang their heads on the floor every time they
see a uniformed government employee. Or the result could have resulted
from a little bit of both factors.

I Wanted to Get Control

Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh tells motorists that may be concerned with the authenticity of a police officer asking them to pull over at night in a deserted area that they should continue on to a more public, well lighted place.  Sgt. Jeff Newnum of the same police department says that he would give his wife the same advice.   There have been several well-publicized incidences in Arizona of people being attacked by criminals impersonating an officer making a traffic stop.

But when Dibor Roberts attempted to follow this advice, officer Newnum ran her car off the road, broke the window of her car with his nightstick, and grabbed the cell phone she was using to call 911.  Now, it is, incredibly, Ms. Roberts who is on trial for her actions.   All because she was driving 15 miles an hour over the limit on a deserted rural road.  The post title comes from the Sgt Newnum's explanation in court of his aggressive tactics.

Wild West Mentality

Unfortunately, Arizona Sheriffs, including out own egregious Joe Arpaio here in Phoenix, still have a wild west mentality:

On the night of July 29, 2007, Dibor Roberts,
a Senegalese-born American citizen living in Cottonwood, Arizona, was
driving home from her job as a nurse's aide at an assisted living
center located in the Village of Oak Creek, an unincorporated community
near Sedona. Along Beaverhead Flat Road, an unlit, unpopulated route
through the desert, she suddenly saw flashing lights in her rearview
mirror. Fearful of stopping on a deserted stretch of pavement,
especially in light of reports she'd heard of criminals impersonating police,
she decided to proceed to a populated area before stopping the car, the
nearest such area being Cornville, an unincorporated settlement along
the road to Cottonwood. She slowed her car to acknowledge the flashing
lights and continued to drive. Her decision wasn't especially unusual
-- in fact, it's recommended by some police departments....

On Cornville Road, well before the populated area, Sheriff's
Sergeant Jeff Neunum apparently tired of waiting for Roberts to reach a
settled area. While he was, in fact, a police officer, he now proceeded
to justify every fear an American may have about rogue cops. He raced
his cruiser in front of Roberts's car, forcing her off the road. He
then smashed her driver's-side window with his baton and grabbed a
cellphone she was using to check his identity. Accounts vary at this
point. While police deny it, the press has reported that Neunum dragged
Roberts from her vehicle, threw her to the ground, and handcuffed her
while driving his knee into her back.

All of this because she was going 15 miles over the speed limit on a deserted rural road.