Teens and Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights

          As an American we have many rights. We also have many laws we need to abide by and police officers are given certain powers and rules to enforce those laws. In this day and age, police officers have gotten caught going above and beyond the power they are designated. Officers often abuse and even go on to kill some of today’s youth just because said officers know they have a portion of authority in our government. These situations often start off with an officer violating our human rights, particularly the rights granted by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. I believe officers that do this sort of abusing have totally missed the fact that teenagers have the same rights as adults, when it comes to dealing with the law and its enforcers, despite the age of that person.

          In the case of Darren Manning V Philadelphia police (2014), Darin Manning was charged with a misdemeanor having to do with an incident in which he was stopped and frisked by a police officer due to the fact that he was wearing ski mask. She didn’t have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to search him because it was winter and that is when a ski mask is primarily worn; also it wasn’t like Manning was messing with anyone. He did not feel it was necessary to get frisked so he refused the search and the officer not only decided to searched him but then she proceeded to assault Manning by squeezing his testicles to the point where he believed he needed surgery and it was caught on film. Not only was this unnecessary in my opinion but it was an unlawful search according to the court and it violated his rights but the court still decided to exonerate the officer on any charges she had in this case. The fact that the officer got off for treating the teen like that angers is what angers me most about this situation because if she wasn’t an officer, she would have faced all the charges they could put on her.  It seems like this officer ignored this teenagers rights just because she assumed she had the power to do so,

         In cases where teens are being arrested for something reasonable, there have been many times when an officer does not explain to them their rights or violates their Miranda rights, which in turn violates the rights given in the Fifth Amendment. A prime example would be in Madison, Wisconsin where there is actual video footage of family members and attorneys being denied access to the teens being investigated by a police officer and criminal investigation agent after they were taken into police custody. This is a violation because when an attorney shows up to represent someone, after being requested by someone in police custody, they are being denied due process. I feel this is a very important aspect of the Fifth Amendment and it is not really fair that a teenager is denied this right. If you look into the case more, you will see that the police officers are arguing heavily that the two students said, “they didn’t need a lawyer… they could handle everything themselves” yet the officers didn’t want to prove this by letting the two students out, or the attorneys and family in, to verbally state that the teens did not want a lawyer which I consider very suspicious and shifty.

          With these two examples in mind, hopefully you can see why I would believe officers ignore the rights of teenagers just because they believe they have the power too since teens are not technically adults yet. With both cases, the officers ignore the teenager’s rights and continue abuse the power they have. I believe that we should teach and train officers better when dealing with the rights of today's youth to prevent, as much as possible, situations like this from occurring as often as they do because even though it does not get reported, it happens on an everyday basis.

Tianna Vanrossum

Young journalist that currently attends Euclid High School.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 5:32 PM, 10.12.2015