COUNTY AGREES TO PAY $390,000 TO STUDENTS ARRESTED BY A SHERIFF 'JUST TO PROVE A POINT' | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


COUNTY AGREES TO PAY $390,000 TO STUDENTS ARRESTED BY A SHERIFF 'JUST TO PROVE A POINT'

Back in September, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unshockingly decided that it's illegal to arrest schoolchildren just to "prove a point." The Fourth Amendment demands probable cause for an arrest, even an arrest of students who have (slightly) diminished Constitutional rights.

This was Deputy Luis Ortiz's solution to a problem he shouldn't even have been attempting to solve. Ortiz decided the students he was speaking to about alleged bullying weren't taking him seriously enough, so he tossed a few in squad cars and took them to the Sheriff's office. Nothing about this was legal, but the county decided to defend this all the way to the appellate level. The Ninth Circuit's assessment of Ortiz's actions was harsh but far more fair than Ortiz deserved.

Deputy Ortiz clearly stated that the justification for the arrests was not the commission of a crime, since he did not “care who is at fault,” nor the school’s special need to maintain campus safety, but rather his own desire to “prove a point” and “make” the students “mature a lot faster.” The arrest of a middle schooler, however, cannot be justified as a scare tactic, a lesson in maturity, or a chastisement for perceived disrespect.

Deputy Ortiz faced a room of seven seated, mostly quiet middle school girls, and only generalized allegations of fighting and conflict amongst them. Even accounting for what Deputy Ortiz perceived to be non responsiveness to his questioning, the full-scale arrests of all seven students, without further inquiry, was both excessively intrusive in light of the girls’ young ages and not reasonably related to the school’s expressed need.

It appears this loss has finally pushed the county to accept the inevitable outcome of Deputy Ortiz's unconstitutional behavior. The Daily Bulletin reports taxpayers will be paying the arrested students for Ortiz's illegal bullying.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Good; perhaps this case will prove "inspirational" for preventing other "school based police" from doing the same thing.

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