GunPundit points to a picture I’ve seen making the rounds through forums and what not. It shows an Iowa police officer holding a gun on a driver. I’ve variously seen this attributed to police enforcing a checkpoint with excessive force. Didn’t blog about it when I first saw it, because we had no context. Well, here’s the context:
After being denied re-entry to a flooded neighborhood, Rick Blazek, 53, returned to his vehicle as a state trooper used his police vehicle to block the checkpoint, according to the news release.
“Blazek drove his vehicle toward the state trooper and struck the state trooper three times with his vehicle,” the release said.
Police told Blazek to get out of his vehicle, and when he refused, “the driver’s window was broken out because the doors were locked and Blazek was removed from his vehicle,” according to the release.
The trooper was not injured. Blazek, who was arrested and charged with assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The trooper in question was fully justified in drawing his pistol on the driver as they took him into custody. Cars are deadly weapons. Whether or not the police were justified in keeping a man from his home isn’t material. You’re allowed to use force to overcome an unlawful restraint (different from kidnapping), but not deadly force.
Whether or not one can be kept from one’s home is a matter of emergency powers provisions under the Iowa Code, which seem to allow for “Control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the occupancy of premises in such area.” and “A peace officer, when in full and distinctive uniform or displaying a badge or other insignia of authority, may arrest without a warrant any person violating or attempting to violate in such officer’s presence any order or rule, made pursuant to this chapter. This authority shall be limited to those rules which affect the public generally.”
So under the Iowa Code, the governor can prevent persons from entering a declare disaster area, and the police are empowered to enforce edicts issued under the Governor’s disaster powers.