Can a police officer order a person out of his car during a routine traffic stop as a Texas trooper did to Sandra Bland, who was later found dead in her jail cell? And what about ordering the driver to put out a cigarette while he is still in his car?
Retired Los Angeles Police Capt. Greg Meyer said Bland's behavior led to the result, reports the Los Angeles Times.
"Officers have complete discretion to control the movements of the violator, including making them get out the car," he said.
Meyer said it is standard practice to have someone put out their cigarette.
"No one, including a police officer, wants to get a burning cigarette jammed into their face or eye; it's basic procedure," he said. "The officer asked politely if she would mind putting out her cigarette. The violator then raised her voice, actively resisted multiple lawful directions to get out of the car. The officer requested a backup officer to respond. The officer raised his voice several times in what turned out to be a futile effort to overcome that resistance."
In hindsight, Meyer said, it may have been better to wait for backup. "The lady seemed committed to her resistance to lawful detention and arrest, so the presence of a backup unit might not have made much difference," he said.
"This is yet another case of someone who chooses to illegally resist the directions of a police officer, thus escalating the situation," he said.