Washington Shooting – Police Brutality Becoming Routine?

Police brutality

The latest incident of police violence – perpetrated on a frightened young mother in Washington, DC shooting, appears to be have been made out to be just another routine occurrence – protecting the public from a crazed, dangerous maniac. But was it really another incident of police brutality?

This woman was on psychiatric drugs which accounts, most likely, for her erratic behavior. But there’s a huge difference here; she was unarmed. Doesn’t that get figured into the computation anymore? Couldn’t they simply have shot the tires to get her to stop? Or fired warning shots?

Sure, she drove through a barrier and slightly injured a secret service man and then gunned it down the street. That was definitely not rational behavior. But still this was no cause to go trigger-happy.

Yes, there’s national security to consider and it was happening at the White House. Those are still not justified rationalizations, however, for gunning down a fairly helpless young woman – with a baby in the car no less. It is entirely possible that child could have been shot or killed, regardless of how accurate their aims were.

Could it be they didn’t have time to go to the shooting range for target practice and conveniently used her instead? That sounds blasphemous, yes, but not necessarily unlikely, considering the senselessness of the whole tragedy.

The famous Rodney King beating, caught on tape in 1991, was one of the first of brutal, unfair violence against unarmed victims of the police to hit the news on a national scale. What sparked the public uproar and massive property destruction and looting afterwards was the fact that the three officers involved were acquitted.

Despite the huge protest at that time, could this have set a precedent of leniency in the courts when it came to police crimes against the public?

In 2005, a young man named Patrick Lee was tasered 19 times for simply behaving a bit strangely. He died from the wounds. The court later acquitted the police officers; the jury decided they did not use excessive force.

In May 2009, a 15 year-old boy was shot in the upper body by a policeman because he refused to drop a toy gun he was playing with in a game of cops and robbers.

A college student named Derek Copp, unarmed, was shot at his home by police on a drug arrest for marijuana. The police officer was put on paid administrative leave. Does that men police brutality has become routine?

In a well-known case in 2006, Sean Bell was shot dead in front of a nightclub on the eve of his wedding. Fifty shots were fired with no warning from the police. The judge ruled in favor of the police, despite witness testimony to the contrary.

Not long ago, thanks to a youtube video, a police officer was charged with assault after he pushed a man off his bike for no apparent reason. The policeman claimed otherwise and arrested the man. The officer was later accused of filing a false report and put on administrative leave while the bicyclist was acquitted.

In September 2013, a police officer in North Carolina shot and killed a man who appeared to be a burglar. He was banging on a door for help after an accident in his car. He did charge at the police but he was unarmed – very similar to the Washington shooting. The incident was noted by police simply as imperfect self-defense. Was that term a piece of poetic license as the policeman filled out his report but when translated into a less fanciful language, means murder?

In Galveston, Texas, a 12 year-old girl was beaten in the face by three officers outside her home, calling her a prostitute; the attack was done after she screamed for help. It turns out they had the wrong house but even if they had the right house, how was that OK? Not only that, they later came to the house and arrested her for having allegedly assaulted them.

In January 2012, a man named Sebastian Prevot stopped just past the white line at a stop sign. Frightened he would be arrested, saying he was black and the two officers in the car behind him where white, as well as it being 3 AM, he continued home at the speed limit and stopping at every stop sign correctly. Ten police cars were waiting for him at home; he was severely beaten while they also went after his wife.

This occurred in Houston, Tx where 588 incidents of police brutality were reported in the past six years; all but four were dismissed.

What is occurring when the very people who are given the responsibility to protect citizens from criminals are criminals themselves? Of course, criminal police officers are still a minority but that percentage is growing, due most likely to their acceptance by fellow police, judges, juries and their unjust acquittals of some police officers who are clearly guilty.

Aside from this Washington shooting, more and more scenes are appearing in the news and online of rows and rows of police decked out like Nazis or from some galactic patrol, armed to the teeth. It is simply another sign of the general moral decay of society when police brutality becomes routine. Are they afraid of us? All bullies are.

(op-ed)

Written by Lucille Femine

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