Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fight The Ticket In Court Next Time

Yesterday everyone kept passing around this video clip of the Seattle police officer punching a teenage girl in the face during an altercation with her cousin. I know everyone is not going to agree with me on this because I have already had a few heated discussions about it. I’ll admit that it’s not a good thing for a grown man to punch a girl in the face unless his life is in danger. It didn’t look like she was doing anything overly threatening to the officer so maybe he could have handled it a different way. That’s what the rational politically correct side of me thinks.

The side of me that grew up on the avenue looked at that same video and thought she got off pretty easy for stepping into a situation where an officer is trying to arrest someone. I was thinking she was lucky she was in Seattle because she and the friend and everyone they were with would have been going to jail with a knot upset their heads especially since the friend was fighting the officer tooth and nail to keep from being arrested. Seattle must not have the same tension in the streets like some other cities because that officer had a lot of patience with the girl he was arresting. I'm not picking on the New Orleans Police Department but if this would have happened down here there wouldn't be many videos because they would have cleared that entire block. I’m not condoning the police hitting anyone. Police brutality is wrong but if two people confront an officer like that there’s nothing much he can do without using some kind of force. I hated to see the young sister get punched in the face like that but who knows what a taser or billy club to the body could have done to her health long term. We have to try and eliminate all the incidents we can through our own actions. Next time just go to court and fight the ticket.


bayoucreole said...

I'm with you on that, just go pay the darn ticket. Do like I do...fight it out at the courthouse until they reduce it down to almost nothing :)

K. said...

I know that area well. It's just south of downtown in an ethnically mixed blue collar neighborhood -- African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and white. The girls look like they may be students at Franklin High School.

The Seattle PD isn't known for harsh tactics. Not to make excuses, but earlier this year -- within a couple of days of each -- five SPD officers were murdered in two separate incidents. One happened at night during a training exercise. A veteran office was showing a rookie how to conduct night surveillance when a man walked up to the car and shot the officer in the head. A couple of mornings later, a man entered a coffee shop known to be frequented by the police and shot four officers about to go on duty. So the SPD is a little tightly wound right now.

I'm usually very critical of police violence, but that blow looked more reactive than deliberate. My feeling is that it will be honestly investigated.

Anita said...

That video was indeed hard to watch. As a woman who not a person of color, my reaction was different, as were my conclusions.

I'm sure I'm not the only woman to whom It sounded very like a familiar panic reaction, hearing this woman shout 'get off of me' over and over and watching her struggle to get away, seeing the blow to her friend and watching the officer come back and actually grab the woman's clothes in the struggle. Without the soundtrack, you could have been watching an attempted kidnapping or worse.

To anyone who thinks the officer was following training, I truly doubt he was trained to attempt an arrest of so many people without backup or that his best learned Plan B was to punch somebody in the face. If he had not been doing his job poorly, this debacle would not have happened.

It was also a failure of leadership to address this hazardous jay-walking situation by sending a single officer to arrest people at a targeted location near a school, if that is what the assignment was. Obviously nobody thought through the likely scenarios. Surely, if they had, they could have predicted multiple, simultaneous violations among such a notoriously rowdy bunch as high-schoolers are. Their safety, after all, together with that of the rest of the public, is ostensibly what is being protected here. If, instead, what happened was abuse and traumatization of a couple of schoolgirls and an onslaught of bad publicity for the department and the city, I hold this officer and his commander responsible for that.

In the end, however, it is the citizens who are unwilling to see and denounce the racism, sexism and other abuses carried out by those sworn to protect and to serve, who bear the responsibility for this. As long as the privileged folk in town don't have a problem with the immensely different treatment meted out by the police toward those who are not privileged, it won't change.

Nothing is easier than going along with the majority, not questioning, not taking a stand. Nothing is easier than accepting platitudes rather than truth, choosing inertia rather than action, ignorance rather than reality.

It is easy remaining comfortably cloaked in privilege but those who have that unearned privilege must commit to the urgent push for change because it is exactly the people who do not have obvious privilege who are getting the hell beat out of them every time they try. Unless we who are never the targets of such treatment are actively trying to right these wrongs, we are complicit in the abuse being carried out in our name.

Beauty Jackson said...

Cry me a river. If you put your hands on a cop, something's going to happen. As one of the YouTube comments went, it was a case of an idiot versus two morons. He didn't handle it well, but she inserted herself in a situation that was none of her business. She wasn't being arrested, her friend was. How many women with good sense (and I recognize this is in short supply) would run up to any strange man and physically confront him? Give me a break.

There are a bunch of people today who are douchebags, and they are unfortunately raising little douchebags, who do things that they shouldn't, cuss out the cops and resist arrest. Sorry. I'm not picking up my liberal mantle for that dumbass. There are far too many people who have legitimate beefs with brutality to speak up for someone too lazy or stupid to walk at the cross walk and get pissed off because a cop is lecturing them.