In July 2018, police arrested 19-year-old Sarah Wilson and her boyfriend, 27-year-old Holden Medlin, at a traffic stop in Chesapeake, Virginia. The officers took Wilson out of the car and cuffed her hands behind her back. But after, the officers went after Medlin who tried to flee the scene. At this point, the report grows more controversial.
Whether you back the blue or think all cops smell like bacon, you probably agree that there is a time for violence and a time for non-violence. Across the developed world, there is a problem with police brutality. Officers are able to get away with horrendous crimes with termination, and sometimes rarely even that. The issue of police brutality transcends the borders of any one nation, and one of the causes may be a lack of sleep.
Last Friday morning, March 1st, Boulder police took aggressive action towards an unarmed black man. His crime: picking up trash from his yard. A squad of armed officers surrounded the man as he cleaned his property, many of them pointing guns at him.
By Andrew Lepore | United States
The Mesa Police Department from the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area is one of the most brutal in the United States. In just 18 months, Mesa police officers were involved in four incidents involving the use of excessive force that have made national headlines. All of them are now undergoing FBI investigation.
On September 4th, nearby Scottsdale Police declared the officers’ force in one case was within the bounds of legality. The incident involved four officers beating an innocent man in an apartment complex. This decision to clear the officers has ignited protests in the Phoenix suburbs and has many wondering just how unbiased and independent police-on-police investigations really are. Were the actions of these officers really acceptable for men whose job it is to protect and serve our communities? Or do the actions of these officers warrant nothing less than a formal criminal prosecution?
Just before midnight on May 23rd, 911 dispatch received a domestic violence call from a woman claiming her ex-boyfriend was breaking into her apartment. Four officers initially arrive at the scene.
The victim, neighbor Robert Johnson, and the suspect made contact with the four officers at the end of the hallway, near the elevator.
Police barked orders to both men to sit down. The suspect immediately complies. Johnson, however, leans up against the wall with his cell phone placed up to his ear. An officer then states, “ I’m not going to tell you again. Sit down”. Johnson once more fails to respond and looks down at his phone.
At this point, the three of the officers close in from all angles, Johnson remaining calm with his hands to his sides. The first officer, directly facing Johnson, attempts to kick his feet out from under him, then grabs him by the sides and knees him twice in the abdomen. At the same time, the two other officers rabidly punch the sides of Johnson’s head and body. The first officer then unleashes 5 haymakers on Johnsons unprotected face
Then, already seemingly unconscious, Johnson begins to slide down the wall as the first officer releases a powerful elbow blow to the side of the head, bouncing the victim’s head violently off of the wall.
Another officer yells “See, that’s what happens” as they rush to handcuff Johnson and zip his legs.
The video continues on for another 17 minutes until the officers disappear into the elevator carrying Johnson, who suffered a concussion and other minor injuries from the assault. After the officers took him into custody, he was charged with disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution. The court later dropped the charge at the prosecution’s request. In the police report, one officer claimed that “Johnson’s body language was projecting and he was preparing for a physical altercation”. Another described Johnson as “Verbally defiant and confrontational.
After the video become public, Mesa Police Department Sargeant Ramon Batista said: “I don’t feel that our officers were at their best”, and that he was “disappointed”. The chief put all four officers on paid vacation and submitted the video for Scottsdale to independently review.
Now, over 3 months later, the review cleared the officers of any criminal wrongdoing. A spokesperson from the department announced yesterday: “No criminal charges are warranted against the involved officers as the use of force was legally authorized and justified under Arizona State Law.”
Despite the disappointment of some, many police supporters are applauding the decision. The president of the Mesa Fraternal Order Of Police Officers, William Biascoechea, announced “We’re glad to see the decision not to charge police officers for doing their job. Charging police criminally for doing their job can negatively impact the decision-making process for all law enforcement who work to protect the community and must make split-second decisions. It’s important for the public to know that camera footage sometimes captures just one perspective without context.”
Since the officers’ clearing, Johnson’s lawyer, Benjamin Taylor, has come on the record and stated, “This is a sad day for the people of Arizona. When officers can get away with assaulting citizens, people in our community will lose trust in them and our justice system. The whole world saw the beating Mr. Johnson took…We will continue to fight for Mr. Johnson and justice will be served”
Many are calling this is a clear-cut case of police brutality. If these weren’t men in badges, nobody would deny this as a case of aggravated assault and battery, as well as kidnapping. Despite Johnson’s innocence and lack of criminal record, the police still violently beat him, tied him up, and carried him off. Though many departments have recently implemented body cameras to prevent this, they are not a foolproof solution.
Despite all of this, Johnson still has a chance at justice from an unlikely source. One day after Scottsdale cleared the officers, the FBI announced that they would investigate this case and several other incidents involving the department. But, only time will tell whether Johnson and other police victims will see justice.
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There is something fundamentally wrong with the United States of America. The time for patriotism, for honor, for pride, has long since run off like an embarrassed father of a financially failing family. Now, long since buried in a morose depression, it is time to weep. The economy, as it stands today, is in a simply excellent condition. Unemployment is low, incomes are up. Technology only continues to advance, as the quality of living increases for everyone across the globe. Our esteemed free society, in the eyes of many, is in the midst of some of its best times. This all matters very little.
In the grand scheme of things, most would agree that human life is the most valuable resource. However, it appears that the leaders of our society do not share this seemingly obvious opinion. For time and time again, they continue to violate the basic law of nature, compassion and morality, by assaulting the most innocent members of our society. Ladies and gents, the United States government, comprised of the professed rulers of a free society, is continually killing and assaulting innocent children. This is not compatible with the ideals of freedom and prosperity.
In the past week, two blatant violations of morality stand out, in particular. Many others have undoubtedly occurred and been forgotten like a high school outsider. The thing is, matters of life or death are more important than some American’s exclusion. All lives matter. Black lives matter, police lives matter, and foreign lives matter. None matter more than any other, and there is absolutely no need to senselessly politicize any of them, when the government respects none of them.
To the foreign soldiers killed by American soldiers this week, I am sincerely sorry you had to die, and wish you a gentle journey to the afterlife. I wish the exact same for American soldiers killed by foreign soldiers, and foreign soldiers killed by other foreign soldiers. Nationality does not define the meaning of a life. Thus, your badge and flag do not give your life any more intrinsic meaning than anyone else’s.
Coming back home, though, it is obvious that not only soldiers have a violence problem. Our free society’s very own police force has quite a lot of the same.
Just a couple of days ago, a tragedy occurred in Cincinnati. After an eleven year old girl stole small amounts of food from a Kroger, an unnamed, off-duty officer brutally Tased the girl, leaving gashes on her back. This is simply not an acceptable action. The girl’s mother, Donna Gowdy, states it perfectly. “If you can’t handle an 11-year-old child, then you really need to get off the police force.”
The fact that America needs to have this discussion at all is mind-boggling. The officer, it appears, will not be facing any charges for his actions. In fact, Cincinnati policy allows the police to use tasers on anyone between the ages of 7 and 70. In what world is it necessary or acceptable to use potentially lethal force on a seven year old child? Surely this cannot occur in a free society. Perhaps the world needs new standards on just what a free society really is…
Going beyond our own borders, the American trail of blood only deepens, both metaphorically and literally. More specifically, this week’s news moves from assault to death. Thursday morning in Yemen, the United States gave fuel, weapons, and mid-air support to planes in their coalition with the UK and Saudi Arabia. Their collective results? One of the planes hit a bus in the middle of a marketplace. The bus was carrying a group of children on their way to summer camp. Because of the ever so free society and their military coalition, dozens of children will never make it to summer camp.
Free societies do not kill children, and they furthermore do not call it collateral damage. But from Vietnam to the Gulf, both of those things are constant. The state dehumanizes these civilians, whittling away their lives one by one. The empire feeds on the blood of the innocent. The only way to end this is to end war and to bring back accountability. All lives matter, whether domestic or foreign, and a truly free society will always recognize this. America, it’s time for you to become one.
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