Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cop tases and pepper-sprays stroke victim

This guy suffered a stroke. But he made the mistake of being black, so instead of helping the man, the police shot him with a Tazer, pepper-sprayed him, and then drove over his foot (that last was an accident, admittedly).

This video was posted on the Russia Today YouTube channel, but it's raw footage from the police cam. Here's an article about the incident, in case you think it's just Russian propaganda.

The black driver was charged with several crimes (hit-and-run, reckless driving, and driving on a suspended license), all but the last apparently a result of the stroke.

The police weren't charged with anything, though one officer resigned after his superiors concluded that he'd used force that was "not appropriate."

But seriously, can you even imagine this happening to a white driver? Maybe it does. I have no doubt that white people face problems sometimes when dealing with the police. But the automatic assumption of guilt that black people face is just something else.

There was another recent incident in Cleveland, where the police shot 137 bullets into a car at an unarmed black couple. Apparently, it started when the car backfired while driving past a police station. OK, I can understand the concern.

But 137 shots? Both people in the car - unarmed, remember - were shot more than 20 times each. One cop jumped up on the hood of the car and pumped 15 shots through the windshield, after the car had already stopped (and the rest of the officers had stopped firing).

Even that man was found "not guilty" of voluntary manslaughter. None of the other police officers were even charged with anything.

Do you wonder why African-Americans get angry at this stuff? I don't.

Here's another thing: There was a recent shootout among gangs in Texas where 9 people were shot to death and 18 were injured. Hundreds of guns were found at the scene - more than 300, apparently - with plenty of other weapons, too.

Scary stuff, huh? But these were white gangs:
The prevailing images of protests in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, over police killings of black men were of police in riot gear, handcuffed protesters, tear gas and mass arrests. The main images of a fatal gun battle between armed bikers and police in Waco, Texas, also showed mass arrests — carried out by nonchalant-looking officers sitting around calm bikers on cellphones.

There's more:
The firefight in Waco is raising questions about perceptions and portrayals of crime in America, considering the vehement reaction that the earlier protests got from police, politicians and some members of the public.

Unlike in Ferguson and Baltimore, where protests went on for days, there was no live news coverage of the Waco shootout. And yet the incident at a Texas restaurant hasn't been used as a bridge to discuss other issues about families, poverty and crime, media critics, columnists and civil rights activists say.

They complain that there appears to be little societal concern about the gunplay at a restaurant in Texas, whereas politicians — including President Barack Obama — described violent looters in Baltimore as "thugs," and the media devoted hours of television and radio airtime to dissecting social ills that affect the black community. ...

Civil rights attorney Charles F. Coleman Jr. said only minority communities get blamed for violence, while no one blames white families or white communities for fatal violence by white men, characterizing such events instead as "isolated incidents."

Coleman noted that protests, some violent, that flared up around the police killings of black men, most of which involved an overwhelmingly black crowd, were called "riots" while college and professional sports championship celebrations and losses that turned violent, most of which involved an overwhelmingly white crowd, are not.

"But when you look at Ferguson, or you look at a Baltimore, when you look at these sorts of incidents, we have a tendency vis-a-vis the media to actually question why it happened to the victim, and we go further and then we impute liability on the entire community and sort of do this systematic victim blaming of black America," he said.

Make no mistake, I'm not excusing riots. I'm not saying that people should run from the police, either. (Having a stroke, though,... that's hardly criminal activity.) But look at the differences in how these incidents are treated and in how various people are perceived.

We have a problem with racism in America. A big problem. Yes, we've progressed. It's better than it used to be. But "better" isn't "good."


Anonymous said...

What's interesting is the missing facts, and the beginning of the video. You should be ashamed making this a color issue when in truth it is nothing other than officers miss using tools, power and authority. Why cut the part of the video with the woman officer who tazed this man first? Oh I know why, she was black.
How sad is it that with no provocation this took place at all. The rest of the video shows no movement of any kind from this man, and the officers should NEVER followed this line of action. But making it out to be intentional against "blacks" is pathetic, unnecessary, fueling the fires and blowing a bad thing out of shape.

WCG said...

I didn't cut anything, Anonymous. And it really makes no difference if one of the police officers was black. This would not have happened to a white man suffering a stroke.

"Intentional against blacks"? No, I never claimed that, and I didn't mean to imply it. But it's a fact that the police treat black people differently than they treat white people. All of the statistics bear that out.

These examples I've posted are just isolated incidents. I don't say "fact" because of isolated incidents, but because of the research that's been done about this.

But it's incidents like these which should make us angry. It's incidents like these which should make us realize that we have a problem.

Do police officers misuse tools, power, and authority with white people sometimes? Absolutely. I have no doubt we could find examples of that. But, again, I'm talking about a pattern of behavior that's backed up by research.

This is simply a far greater problem for the black community. Denying that is ignoring reality. Would these police officers have treated a white stroke victim in this way? I strongly doubt it.