United States law enforcement never ceases to disappoint.
While the outrageous shootings of people of color continue to make national headlines, we can’t forget about the smaller scale incidents of police misconduct that also warrant shame and criticism.
Three Phoenix, Arizona police officers resigned on Thursday due to their alleged involvement in forcing a teenager to eat a gram of marijuana during a traffic stop.
Officers Richard Pina, Jason McFadden, and Michael Carnicle reportedly pulled over a 19-year-old motorist for speeding last week.
When they found that he was in possession of marijuana — which is only legal for medicinal purposes in the state of Arizona — Pina and McFadden commanded him to eat it or go to jail.
The teen obliged and consumed a gram of marijuana, which later made him temporarily ill, according to Mic.
After humiliating the teen, the officers wrote him a traffic ticket and sent him on his way. Later that day, the teen filed a complaint against them.
Police Chief Joseph Yahner said during a press conference that he intended to fire the three overzealous officers, but they resigned instead.
“The allegations against these former officers are compelling, appalling and extremely unprofessional," Yahner reportedly said. "Appropriate action has been taken."
The lieutenant who supervised the officers, Jeff Farrior, was demoted as a consequence for not taking immediate action upon learning of the incident.
"This conduct is contrary to everything we stand for and it undermines the good actions of the men and women of the Phoenix police department," Yahner reportedly said.
In addition to losing their jobs and soiling their reputations, Pina and McFadden could face criminal charges in connection with the incident. Although Carnicle was also present, he did not take part in his colleagues’ harassment of the teen.
This serves as yet another example of police abusing their authority and taking advantage of those they assume to be weak or vulnerable.
They came across a young man — who was probably scared and nervous — and took the opportunity to flex their power by forcing him to do something ridiculous and illegal.
Little did they know, they messed with the wrong kid. He did the right thing and reported them instead of quietly taking the abuse as they likely expected him to.
Banner Photo Credit: Flickr user Edward Kimmel