Martin van der Kroon
In July of this year, Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff Payne arrested Alex Wubbels, nurse at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, who was on duty at the time, for refusing to draw blood from unconscious patient William Gray of Idaho.
(Source: Salt Lake Tribune via YouTube)
This could have been considered obstruction of justice were it not for the fact that Police Detective Payne had no warrant of any kind to have blood drawn, patient Gray was not in any state to consent, nor was Gray actually suspected of having committed any sort of offence. Patient Gray was actually the victim of a car crash from a car being pursued by police at high speed. Furthermore, Police Detective Payne, who was part of the police’s blood draw program had no authority to demand a blood draw.
As Police Detective Payne stated, the drawing of blood was meant to help victim and patient Gray by checking for drugs, but it was, and is entirely unclear how exactly this would help him. What is clear is that Police Detective Payne was attempting to violate patient Gray’s Constitutional Fourth Amendment right of being protected against unlawful search and seizure. The U.S. Transhumanist Party fervently supports citizens’ constitutional rights, including the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure. This support to uphold citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights is outlined in Section LVII [Adopted by a vote of the members during June 18-24, 2017]:
“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to restrict and limit civil asset forfeiture laws, and other laws that assist law-enforcement agencies in circumventing the Fourth Amendment, such as asset seizure, or detainment or arrest in situations where no criminal charges have been filed, except as part of an active interrogation of a person suspected of a crime or unless the person detained or arrested poses a clear and probable danger of inflicting physical harm upon others or their property.”
We furthermore place great emphasis and importance on people’s individual privacy and liberty, both of which Police Detective Payne was attempting to compromise. We outline this in our very first United States Transhumanist Platform Plank, Section I [Adopted by a vote of the members during January 15-21, 2017]:
“The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.”
This incident involved the drawing of blood, but considering how unscrupulously this was requested without probable cause, or any legal documentation, we have to wonder whether such demands could unlawfully be made regarding people’s prosthetics, nano-bots, or artificial eye- or hearing-replacement or enhancement in the future, with such requests being accommodated out of fear for reprisal. Indeed, for the most part we do not live in this future quite yet, but it is an important aspect to take into consideration. The scope of privacy invasion could be astronomical if such unlawful activities go unchecked. Stored images or video from an artificial eye could be demanded wholesale, including intimate encounters, for the sake of “protecting” someone, or pacemaker data to check if the victim’s pacemaker was functioning properly. The excuses made could be endless, especially when made with an argument of fear for the unknown or irregular. This is why the U.S. Transhumanist Party places importance on being pro-active in raising questions and issues that might not be of immediate concern, but may become of concern tomorrow or the day after, rather than being reactive.
Although Section XXI was conceived of, and adopted by members in the Zeitgeist of police brutality towards primarily African-American citizens in the Spring of 2017, we can observe that the police was using unlawful force to obtain blood, as well as engaging in violence by arresting a law-abiding citizen. Section XXI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]:
“The United States Transhumanist Party supports a concerted effort by governments and by public opinion to eradicate police brutality against peaceful citizens, such that violent force is only utilized against individuals who actually pose an imminent threat to human lives.”
Luckily this attempt at coercing a law-abiding nurse was well-documented with video and audio. There is, however, no telling if such unlawful activities by those supposed to uphold the law happens more often, and with which frequency. In order to improve public interaction through accountability, and decrease the chances of police acting unlawfully, we have adopted Section XXXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]:
“The United States Transhumanist Party holds that sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.
The United States Transhumanist Party supports the use of technologies which increase monitoring of police action and policing activities, with expressed goals of increasing policing accountability.
The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a requirement that data pertaining to recordings of police action be transmitted and recorded beyond police control, so as to be protected from falsification, deletion, and selective curation by police.”
The newspaper The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Salt Lake Police Sgt. Brandon Shearer stated that the department launched an internal investigation into the matter. The U.S. Transhumanist Party does not object to internal investigations, but does consider an internal investigation alone to be insufficient as detailed in Section LIX [Adopted by a vote of the members during June 18-24, 2017]:
“The United States Transhumanist Party considers it important for impartial, objective investigations of alleged police and other law-enforcement misconduct to be pursued. While law-enforcement agencies should not be prohibited from internally investigating potential abuses within their own ranks, such investigations should never be considered exclusive or conclusive, and further external checks and accountability should be instituted. As part of providing such checks and accountability, investigations regarding police misconduct, criminal activity, felonies, and misdemeanors should, in addition to any internal investigation, also be investigated by a different source – for example, a different police department, or a district attorney for a different area assigned to lead the investigation. The intent of this requirement is to limit the possibility of favorably biased or preferential treatment of a member of a given law-enforcement agency by that person’s colleagues, and to restore confidence by the public that an investigation into police misconduct is done as objectively as possible.”
Not only does the United States Transhumanist Party want people to have privacy and liberty, but to be able to enjoy these rights, and feel assured that their rights are upheld by being free from fear of representatives of the government without due cause.
Martin van der Kroon is Director of Recruitment for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.