It’s easy to assume racism when watching the video footage of Sandra Bland’s arrest. Admittedly, the first question that entered this writer’s mind when watching it was, “Would a white woman have been treated this way during a routine traffic stop?”
I believe the answer is “yes,” if the white woman committed the cardinal sin Sandra Bland committed. It wasn’t her being black that started the tragic chain of events. It was refusing to follow a police officer’s orders.
At some point between ratification of the Fourth Amendment and the death of Sandra Bland, the entire principle underpinning that constitutional protection has been lost. The Fourth Amendment assumes armed agents of the state can’t be trusted to issue their own orders. That’s why we have warrants in the first place. They are permitted only to enforce the orders of an impartial judge, who authorizes them to apprehend suspects upon the judge’s determination of probable cause.
That’s not to say many or most officers aren’t well-intentioned or trustworthy. But their job is to use force. That role must be separated from the issuance of orders.
Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.