Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You Make the Call: Seattle Cop Punches Young Black Woman in Face During Altercation

You don't mess with the police. And lest we not forget that I am no fan of the police either. Most importantly, I am also not afraid of them. In fact, one of my earliest memories was my mom yelling at the Hamden police for viciously assaulting a gay couple outside of our house. Often, parents do not realize that they teach lessons even when not intending to do so. My mom doing her best/worst Thurgood Marshall impression yelled at the cops about the Constitution and that they were violating the inalienable rights of the American people. Funny, said police stopped, looked embarrassed, and the two men (guilty only for loving each other) came over and sat on our porch as my mother called 9-11.

In that moment I learned that cops are people too--both good and bad. I also learned that the police have the power of the State to take my life and that I should be weary of them.

I also remember my "don't fight with the cops or else you get killed" talk. My parents, god parents, and even the white fathers of my friends had some version of this teachable moment. They would relay (quite sternly I am may add) in keeping with this rite of passage that inducts young men of color into adulthood--and some white men as well--that you never fight the cops. Never. Ever.

Why? Many police officers are tired, exhausted, poorly trained, and perhaps even racist. Ultimately, and as I am so fond of quoting Morgan Freeman's great movie Nurse Betty, the police are the garbage men of the human condition. Thus, do not trust them to have patience or mercy. That is not their purview, temperament, or intent.

In watching this clip I have mixed feelings. I do not want to give into the official side of the story that exonerates the police and the powers that be. But, as a respectable negro I am dedicated to fighting stupidity wherever I find it. As I noted in this post, there are many reasons to put on the racism chasing shoes where necessary. Here, I do not choose to don them.

Moreover, and this may upset some, I think the police officer in this clip is not entirely wrong. Now, I do think he exercised poor judgment. He is surrounded by a hostile crowd. The offense is likely not worth the potential for violence. A call for backup would be necessary and should have been made from inside the protection of his vehicle. To boot, given the repeated physical assaults by the young women in the video, and the potential that his weapon could have been taken in the struggle and much more violence done, said officer exercised much restraint. Many police, and I would have thought this better than punching his assailant, would deploy either mace or a taser. In my opinion, and please feel free to disagree, that would have been a better tactical choice than what was demonstrated here.

Should said officer lose his job? Absolutely not. But again, that is for his review board to decide.

Ultimately, I have come to the following conclusion (and please tell me if I am arrogant, entitled, "respectable," and/or have social capital that blinds me to the struggles of the "ghetto underclass"): I don't care how this fight started. I don't care if the young black women in question were "right" or "wrong." You never, ever, put your hands on a cop. Why? because you could very well get shot. As my dad, mom, grandma, and others told me, "behave, listen, get the badge number, do what they say, and we will take them to court. Don't die out there."

So then, what explains the behavior of the young black women in the video? Is this a lack of home training? Do the young women in the video have a deep historical memory of slave patrols, white supremacy, and the role of police in the Racial State, and are thus fighting against their historical oppression? What in turn would explain their resistance? Or more cynically, is their behavior proof of a lack of home training amongst the ghetto underclasses, and the rise of some twisted mix of hyper-masculinity, femininity, and violence that fights all things and all people? In total, is this what happens when grandma is 30 years old?

Just being real. Politically incorrect or not. What are your thoughts on the behavior of the police officer in this video? And would this incident have not occurred if said young women acted more like ladies?


jacked UP jazz said...

Treat her like a perp. Clearly the cop inappropriately escalated the situation by hitting the cohort in the red top in the face. However, Red top was interfering with the administration of justice (whether that justice is correct and proper is a matter for the courts not your road dogs).

But beyond that these ladies were clearly resisting arrest and engaged in combat with the officer. This chivalrous bullshit that is perpetuated in society about never hitting "a lady" is just that bullshit. These "ladies" were clearly "bringin it" to the officer. I don't know about where you live, but where I'm from "ladies" don't get busy with the cops.

If either one of these "ladies had been armed would that change your perception of events. How would this officer know they are not armed. What about the surrounding crowd? Are any of them armed? Do you see any of the brothers getting involved? Or do they have the good sense to know how that is going to end.

Now if these "ladies" are declaring that the revolution is on that is one thing. But short of that there are two and only two phrases that you say to the cops on the street, "yes sir" and no sir"

Home training, there is no substitute!

Sergio Salazar said...

I would like to know the reason of them being arrested clearly these girls felt that it was unfair... it's obviously not intelligent to fight a cop back but at the same time one as an individual has a right to ask for an explanation or defend your self... cops are not the authority there is a thing called "the constitution" and cops, majors, presidents respond to that to, that IS the law and the authority not the police their job is to ensure it's being respected... on the other hand yeah the girl in the red top should have stayed out of it and called 911, but nonetheless the cop used poor judgement having a batch doesn't give you any rights over others

Dr. PFunkenstien..."achieving Funkentelechy for all humanity!" said...

I've read this blog plenty of times over the past year but I don't think I can appreciate the tone of what is being discussed. Am I, a black man, to accept the outdated teaching by my older generation that "you don't argue with the police or you might get shot mentality?" That may have been an acceptable way to deal back in the day but I say today is a new day and we have every right to question anyone's action or motives, law enforcement or otherwise. A badge doesn't give absolute authority to accost and arrest at will. I wonder if white folks tell there children such bull, I know the answer is a NO! I have seen whiets outright curse the police to there faces and not be arrested but because I'm black, I'm suppose to play the "step 'n fetchit" roll and just get a bagde number and get home safe, hogwash!

Now I can't vouch for what provoked this incident but I for one don't care! To make a case that she wasn't taught right at home sounds sort of sinister, kind of like something an uppidity, looking down your nose at the "other" type of negro would posit.I don't believe anyone has a right to handle a woman in an aggressive manner and law enforcement is much quicker to violently restrain a black woman as opposed to a white one. In the adapted immortal word's of Sojourner Truth, "Ain't she a woman?"

Big Man said...

Unlike your family, I doubt this young woman believes "taking them to court" would result in any reasonable resolution.

I would wager that she feels that this officer wronged her and her friend, and thus it was her "right" to seek immediate, satisfying retribution.

You or I have decided that the best way to seek retribution is through official channels because we have looked at the possibility of death and decided it wasn't worth it. She obviously either did not do that same cost/benefit analysis, or she arrived at a different conclusion when she did it.

I wouldn't call it a lack of home training, but rather an acceptance of a different set of rules and reality. This woman, like many black folks, reject conceding authority to police except for in the most dire of circumstances. In my city, police are shocked at the brazen nature of criminals and their willingness to react violently to officers. I am not shocked.

The police do not have the benefit of moral authority in the black community and many black folks only concede physical authority when officers make a serious show of force. This officer employed poor technique, he made an unnecessary arrest and given the manner he was restraining that black woman and the history of the Seattle police, I'd wager there was a racial angle.

Thus the situation we see on this video.

chaunceydevega said...

@Jacked--I cosign that one.

@Sergio--I don't know. Having a badge gives one the power of the State, rightly or wrongly to decide whether to restrain you, shoot you, or make your like much more complicated than it need be.

@Dr.Pfunk. All hail the funk btw. I don't disagree. I am a huge fan of observing the police, challenging them where need be, and as I said, I am no fan of the cops in general. But, I am more concerned about how so many of our young get killed over nonsense. It doesn't need to be that way. Young girl should have confirmed why she was being arrested, been polite, shut her mouth, and let an attorney sort it out. By her and her friend acting so foolishly--and yes what they did was stupid--they risked their lives over what supposedly was a jaywalking ticket. Bad play.

@Bigman--I agree there is likely a racial angle in most interactions between police (of any color) and non-whites, and the poor more generally. You are spot on about abstract moral authority. But you hit on something else that I was trying to tease out above, why the emphasis on "immediate retribution?" This seems to be at the heart of so many problems among the black poor (and in differing ways in American society more generally). Why this lack of impulse control?

Joanna said...

First of all, the girl was not THREATENING a police officer. She was not HITTING him, she was simply trying to GET AWAY from him... not necessarily the wisest choice, but her actions DID NOT endanger him in the SLIGHTEST way.

Now, my opinion is that police should be held to a HIGHER standard than "civilians". So, turn the situation around a little bit. If this police officer had witnessed a man on the street trying to restrain a young girl while she was telling him to leave her alone, THEN witnessed her friend try to get the mans hands off of her, THEN saw the man punch the friend DEAD IN HER FACE, who would be the one at fault?? The girl who was trying to help her friend, or the man who punched her in the face?? I bet the man who PUNCHED her would be arrested, since SHE WAS NOT A PHYSICAL THREAT to him!! There was NO REASON for him to PUNCH her! Whether or not he had the right to attempt to RESTRAIN the girl in the first place is up to debate (to me, there is no reason he should have made such a big issue out of jaywalking, but some might see it differently.) The point is that HIS REACTION was WAY out of PROPORTION to the situation. There was NO NEED for him to PUNCH a woman who WAS NOT A PHYSICAL THREAT to him!
Just out of curiosity, what made you draw the conclusion that this child was part of the "ghetto underclass?" Is it more respectable and ladylike to allow a police officer to assault and restrain you for doing nothing wrong? Also, I do not see a "hostile" crowd surrounding the officer... yes, they were upset about the situation, but no one in the crowd was resorting to any type of violent or uncalled for action, they were simply telling the officer to calm the hell down and stop treating the girl like she was a nobody.

Dr. PFunkenstien..."achieving Funkentelechy for all humanity!" said...

I agree with your point bruh....somebody should've hit him with the "bop gun" and made him dance.....

But seriously, I've been young and in that sort of a situation before myself. Once I was in Florida with a group of friends, we had traveled there in 2 cars. We didn't know that the week before in that town had been a gang related shooting and since we had arrived from out of state, when we got to our hotel, a group of squad cars all swooped on us in the parking lot and demanded that we get out of our vehicles and get face down on the ground. This angered me for the simple fact that even though I was a law abiding citizen and member of the armed forces, here I was being treated like a criminal, and I refused to comply until I was given reason as to why we were being treated this way, I was alone in this decision as all my other friends readily obliged. Mind you there were at least ten cops, weapons drawn, all trained on me to make a move. I knew we had done nothing illegal and continued to ask why, without complying to the order. I guess like Big Man stated, I did an assessment and concluded that at loss of life, my self respect was worth dying for at the time. After several minutes, threats from the police, and my friends begging me to get down, I eventually gave in.

Joanna said...

Just wanted to add: If your mother had done as you suggested, and decided to not confront the police officers who were harassing the couple, would she have been making a better choice regarding personal safety? Maybe so. But, would she have been doing the just thing? Perhaps not. Sometimes accepting the unacceptable because someone has a gun and a badge is NOT the best response, IMO. A friend of mine went to a rally after an incidence of police brutality in his neighborhood. He stood up and told the crowd that if they decided to FIGHT the cops instead of allowing them to run them over, the police would eventually be FORCED to change their tactics.

CNu said...

uh..., does it matter that all this drama and violence ensued because officer ian walsh was detaining these girls for jaywalking?



anyway, as a practical matter, one should always submit to authoritarian subjugation and violent coercion unless one has an overwhelming tactical advantage and is unhesitatingly and lethally prepared to use that advantage in furtherance of one's dignity and civil rights.

RiPPa said...

I'm from the "shut your mouth and don't say shit to the cops when directly encountering the," school.

Like Dave Chappelle cleverly said:

"There are so many amendments, to the constitution of the United States of Americaaaa, but I can only choose oneeeee... I plead the fif!"

No but seriously, I agree with this post entirely. I can't really say specifically whether in this case the actions of the girls are a direct result of no home training.

If anything, I would say it largely lies in the anti-police culture that permeates the black community.

In short, I think this attitude is unproductive. And I also think we would be better served if we armed ourselves with the knowledge of our rights per the constitution. A good place to start would be with the 4th and 5th amendments which covers "Terry Stops" as well as search and seizure.

Joanna said...

You know, I have been sitting here contemplating my second comment regarding this situation, and have realized it is really coming from a skewed perception. It is easy for me to say "Oh, yeah, everyone should protest unjust police actions, and not fold under police commands", BECAUSE I will likely never be put into a situation where the police are threatening my life and safely because of the color of my skin. So, I can sit here and talk about promoting justice and standing up to the police, because, in this world, I COULD stand up to the police without reprisal because of white privilege. In other words, my opinion about what to do when confronted by police means ABSOLUTELY nothing, since the perception of any of my actions is looked at differently by the police based on my skin color. I don't know if I am being clear, or just rambling.

Big Man said...


Impulse control is something possessed by those convinced that there will a later time to sate their desires.

Many of the urban young are not convinced they will in fact live to see tomorrow, thus they don't really think it's a good idea to put off dealing with their problems today. What you see as a lack of impulse control, they see as a responding to the realities of the life they live.

Young peope in general downplay the dangers associated with their behaviors, whether it be binge drinking, drunk driving, random unprotected sex or many of the other crazy youthful activities. It's not just about home-training, in some ways it's about being young.

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu--I agree. Unless one is such a situation and are ready for the consequences it doesn't make sense to resist...rightly or wrongly.

@Joanna--Citizens should make the State fear them not the other way around. That is great in theory but harder in practice. I think that folks should know their rights, hold the police to the fire, and confront them--intelligently, reasonably, and with the full expanse of their rights. These young women did exactly the opposite.

For example, I will never let a cop search my car without a warrant and without other officers present--I would tell them that I am calling 9-11 and that I would like a supervising officer present. If they ever asked to enter my home I would say the same thing. No warrant, no probable cause you are not entering. Nor, would I ever leave my house with a cop to talk outside so that they could get me on a disorderly charge. Nope. I would also not submit to a stop and frisk without being charged first.

I am just asking that we have an inter-generational talk with the younger folk about how to stay alive. There is a crisis in mentoring and role modeling out there for both girls and boys. We talk about the latter, but not the latter.

@Rippa. Cosigned. We need to be educated about our rights and to use them.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why there is even need for discussion here. The young lady in red clearly, CLEARLY, shoves/punches the police officer.

In fact both of these women are, insanely, attacking an armed officer of the law. (Actually, since there were so many witnesses to the altercation, it would have been smarter to simply comply with the officers orders at the time knowing that you could disprove any false charges afterward.) That the one woman was punched in the face is the least of their worries.

There's no doubt that she (perhaps both of them) is facing an assault charge. And honestly, if I'm on the jury, faced with that video evidence, I have to vote to convict.

Relax and Aspire said...

Ok having dealt with SPD before I can honestly say that the officer above was operating in a known gang area where the incidence of girl gangs is rising rapidly and the department's leadership isn't very clear on how to deal with such.

However the guy did just punch a woman in the face for shoving him. And not a very forceful shove at that. Cop or not, would you really excuse that behavior in any man? How about in a man who you know is trained to subdue people larger than him and is supposed to keep his damn cool in tense situations?

Whether or not she was in the wrong for her use of confrontation, he was certainly in the wrong for his terrible judgement and use of force, especially for letting things get out of hand without backup present (in an area with a high police presence no less). We may need to be more careful around police given the history, but we also have to expect more out of them than this.

CNu said...

overwhelming tactical advantage and the willingness to unhesitatingly and lethally respond is the antidote to the thin blue line gone wrong.

Hemet CA can become commonplace after all....,

Anonymous said...

hey Dr.Pfunk, there's alot of white people who do the "don't fuck with the police or you could get badly hurt" talk with their kids. And I've been harrassed by the police many many times. I'm white and I've had cops:

-hint to me that they were gonna frame me for burglary if I didn't stop loitering
-check me for ID for no reason (this always happens while I'm on foot, not driving)
-pull me over while I was riding my friends moped then accuse me of stealing it so they could search me (oh you fucked up now buddy, we've been looking for this one for a long time)

Anyways, I think that this lady deserved to get punched in the face. She shoved a cop.... 'Nuff said. But I don't think she get charged with assault. I don't think you should be charged with assault if you don't physically hurt someone.

gordon gartrelle said...

I'll concede that the cop shouldn't have hit her (he should have hemmed her up--tasing or macing probably weren't the best options in that situation); however, she's lucky she didn't get her dumb ass shot.

Folks want the freedom to act a damn fool, but don't want to face any of the consequences.

She was bad and bold when she was shoving the cop, but when he checked that chin, all of a sudden, she's a delicate flower. Get out of her with that bullshit.

aside: notice the black dude trying to save her from herself.

Bryan said...

Sorry, the only thing I can think of when watching this video is how weak this officer is. It took him almost 2 minutes to subdue a riled 17 year old. Are you friggin kidding me?

This officer would not last a minute on the real streets. If this was someone that really wanted to do him harm, the officer would have been pulverized.

TMA said...

This would be one of those situations when it would be helpful to be an attorney, so I could quote some arcane ruling to show how wrong this was. Alas, I am not an attorney. However, after watching this video, I definitely believe that the officer's response was not commensurate with the situation.

My mother taught (and still instructs) me to obey pretty much all authority figures. "Don't get involved in any political causes. You could lose your job." (I'm a licensed physical therapist, for what it's worth.) However, despite my mother's best efforts, as a 35-year-old black woman, I might have "talked back" to that officer. From what I've read, these women (one of them?) was charged with jaywalking. I once got a ticket in a NYC subway station for opening a handicapped door without permission from the station agent (who was ignoring me). I challenged the officer verbally; he appeared to get really irritated because I challenged him. Mind you, this was all verbal; I didn't touch him. He gave me a ticket and made some smarmy, smart a** comments as he wrote it.

All that to say, while these young women were definitely "talking back to" and even physically touching this officer, I don't think busting this young woman in the face was warranted. I have very little respect for police even though I was "raised correctly." Again, I wouldn't touch an officer. These women did touch him, but I don't think this response was appropriate and the officer should be disciplined.

I'm not a racism chaser, but as a (somewhat, sometimes) respectable negress, even I have a hard time determining when and to what extent my race/phenotype is a factor in situations such as this one. As I'm disinclined to give the benefit of the doubt to police officers (because there's been sooo many documented instances of them doing dirt and going relatively accounts I've read and in the personal experience and those of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances), I'm throwing my support behind the young women in this video clip.

(Aside: I never forget reading various slave narratives and/or historical accounts of women would be whipped when they were pregnant. Yeah, they would dig a hole for their tummies full of child, make them lie prone, and whip them. I know it's not quite like that out in today's streets...but still waters run deep.)

Anonymous said...

TMA: you claim to not be a racism chaser but you can't resist tacking onto the end of your post a graphic anecdote of slavery era horrors. "It's not quite like that in today's streets." Talk about the understatement of the year right there....

And I think its funny that the seemingly best example that you could come up with of an instance where you've been the victim of police oppression was 'that time you got a ticket from a transit cop.'

Get over it! The cops mess with me all the time and I'm white. So what? Scroll up and read the post under "Anonymous." That's me and it's all true! That's just the way that the police are. They think that they are god and all "civilians" are scum or potential terrorists.


Joanna said...

Ever notice how whenever there is an incident of a police officer abusing a Black individual, all these anonymous white people who "get harassed by the cops ALL THE TIME" pop up out of the woodwork???

CNu said...

Moreover Joanna, that they pretend it's right and proper to accept egregious authoritarian abuses like the one displayed in this video, on the basis that bad and stupid shit happens to them too!!!

But then, CD is pretty much touting the authoritarian party line that it's right and proper (not merely necessary sometimes) to accept egregious authoritarian abuses from popo gone wild too...,

Anonymous said...

Has the "Black-women-are-never-victims" poison (heavily ingested by CNN, Black rappers and MCs, Black athletes, and a certain comedian radio host cum author) hit the blogger and those posting comments?

My only "opinion" on this video is this: what if "Becky" and her friends were inserted? Somehow, I suspect that the (lack of?) "looks" of these women is bringing down the "you crazy, fool" and "insane" comments.

Anonymous said...

yeah Joanna, I'm just lying to you. Sure. Whatever helps you sleep at night. And if I shoved a cop, he'd probably just politely ask me to stop. Yup. I wouldn't get laid out on the concrete or anything.

-JT (The white devil)

CNu said...

JT, if you're not the cop whose behavior is in question, why are so identified that you accept him as a proxy for your own mentality and behavior?

Why-oh-why are po-po-gone-wild ALWAYS the proxy for unintended group self-disclosure?

Anonymous said...

Man I dont know. I just get mad when people tell me I haven't seen this and I haven't had this happen to me because I'm white.

I'm just gonna leave it be and move on. I know what I've seen and experienced, and I'm not gonna argue about it.


CNu said...

Man I dont know. I just get mad when people tell me I haven't seen this and I haven't had this happen to me because I'm white.

so we have common ground, and the focus needs to be on unprofessional and excessively abusive po-po-gone wild behavior.

Joanna said...

JT- I am not saying it NEVER happens... but honestly, do you REALLY believe that the police harass white people to the same degree as they do Black people??

I am a white woman. The ONLY time I get harassed by cops is if I am WITH a Black man, OR I am in a predominantly Black neighborhood (where I am told I do not belong).

Yes, I HAVE heard of cops harassing white men. BUT, it is not a widespread phenomena like police abuse of Black men and women is. In ALL the cases of police brutality that have been "caught on tape" how many of them have been WHITE victims??? Personally, I have only seen ONE. If this cops harassing white people phenomena was as common as you claim, wouldn't we see videos with white victims at least as often as we see them with Black victims?
And another thing, instead of getting ANGRY that you have been harassed by the police, you are JUSTIFYING their actions. So, I find it hard to believe you have actually experienced it. I do not know too many victims of police harasment with come away saying "oh they were just doiing their job!"

chaunceydevega said...

@CNu--You wrote: But then, CD is pretty much touting the authoritarian party line that it's right and proper (not merely necessary sometimes) to accept egregious authoritarian abuses from popo gone wild too...

Not true. What I am saying is that folks need to be more calculating in how and when and the fashion in which they resist the police. Those young woman could have been shot and killed over a jaywalking ticket. And even if "wrong" for being ticketed by an overzealous cop, it is not worth your life. Go lawyer up, fight back, and save your life.


TMA said...

@JT: You're correct; I'm not a racism chaser. I mentioned how black women's bodies were devalued during slavery because black women's bodies are still largely devalued today. I don't know if the officer would have punched a young white woman in the face. I really don't. However, that officer, like everyone else who grew up in America, has grown up in a white supremacist society. In such a society, black women are among the least valued as they are *female* and *black*. It's very likely his actions were consciously or subconsciously influenced by the types of beliefs about black women that are common in our society (aggressive, loud, strong, bitchy, not feminine, criminal, lazy, etc.). I do not know this definitely, although it is likely. That's why I included that bit in my first comment.

I referenced the story about my experience with the transit cop as a counterpoint to the OP's suggestion that these young women talked back to the officer due to lack of home training. I did not mention that incident to present myself as a victim of police brutality.

Reading is fundamental and reading comprehension is key, JT.

CNu said...

What I am saying is that folks need to be more calculating in how and when and the fashion in which they resist the police.

you not seeing me,

and since you asked us to make the call - at what point in the continuing economic and civic collapse does it become meet, right, and salutary for the popo to begin to recalibrate their role as public servants - and actually embark on a bit of community policing type public service, rather than, redounding to stereotypical, authoritarian (racist?) serving with no regard?

cause bottomline, officer walsh clowned himself, clowned his department, and stained the already beleaguered reputation of the seattle popo just a little bit more with these now virally propagated vignettes of discourteous, unprofessional, and unwarranted behavior.

chaunceydevega said...

That last paragraph was a quotable! I like it...and agree.

And you are onto something with the breaking point of the public and the abuse of authority. When will the machine have to be reoriented?


Shady_Grady said...

Once she laid hands on him/shoved him she was in the wrong. At that point she's assaulting him and interfering with a lawful arrest/stop.

Would she have gotten the fist in the face if she were white? Maybe, maybe not. But since we know (or should already know) that cops in general have a pretty low threshold to escalate things to another level where black folks are concerned, why would anyone be STUPID enough to lay hands on a cop or push a cop. That's insanely and magnificently mindless. Take the ticket/citation and fight it in court. Few cops are going to sit there and let people resist arrest, interfere in an arrest or actually physically assault them. That's not the way cops are made.

The cop has superior capacity for violence and is backed by the state. Unless you're ready to kill or be killed at that moment, starting a physical confrontation with a police officer is pointless.

CNu said...

And you are onto something with the breaking point of the public and the abuse of authority. When will the machine have to be reoriented?

well.., I'm sure you noticed that talibagger father and son who killed a pair of officers in Memphis Arkansas a couple weeks ago - then there's the Hemet CA amateur IED efforts - I sincerely believe that given the extent to which America is awash in weaponry, like no other time in U.S. history - and the Greatest Depression if full effizi, that unless this thin blue line wants to take on the role of counter insurgents on multiple fronts - they better commence to elevating their community policing and relationship management game, or, face the very real possibility of having to go to war like the popo in Mexico...,

gordon gartrelle said...

It's very likely his actions were consciously or subconsciously influenced by the types of beliefs about black women that are common in our society (aggressive, loud, strong, bitchy, not feminine, criminal, lazy, etc.)

Hmmm. Running up on a cop and getting into a shoving match with him as he tries to subdue your friend.

Aggressive? Check
Loud? Check
Strong? Check
Bitchy? Depends on your definition
Not feminine? See Bitchy
Criminal? Check
Lazy? N/A

The cop may very well have stereotyped her before the incident, but he didn't force her to live up to the stereotypes.

The problem with most public discussions of these kinds of incidents is that people want a clear cut victim and villain. They want to attach all the blame to one party and absolve the other party of all wrongdoing. As in this case,it usually doesn't work that way.

TMA said...

I acknowledged in my original post that the women were definitely "talking back" (and then some) to the officer. However, I have to wonder if the situation would have even gotten to that point at all if the women had been non-black. I really don't know. Again, I acknowledge that in my original comment as well. It's almost like a chicken and egg question in my opinion. Did the cop give them a harder time for jaywalking (jaywalking!) in the first place because they were black? Or did they bring this upon themselves for talking back and pushing Officer Friendly? I. don't. know. for. sure. However, I'm disinclined to side with the police. I'm a law-abiding citizen, but I don't generally don't trust officers of the law. I just don't. That's based on my personal experiences, those of friends/relatives/acquaintances, and the research that has been done on racial disparities and arrests/traffic stops, etc.

I will tell you this. I was shocked when he cold-cocked that teenage woman in the face. Just busted her in her face. Honestly, I know part of it is just a visceral reaction. I'm a black woman, not that large, and I've questioned the police at various times when I've been stopped. It's somewhat scary to know that that possibly could have been me depending upon how the officer I was dealing with at the time felt that day and how he viewed black women.

I understand that these women were mixing it up with the officer. However, I feel like this is part of a larger problem in that the police feel/act like/pretty much appear to be accountable to no one. It's not right. You should be able to question an officer about why they're stopping or trying to arrest you without it turning into a fight. But that's often not what happens, especially for people of color/black people.

Again, I hear what you're saying, but I just can't say that officer was in the right in this situation. A 19-year-old woman. Life is cheap.

Joanna said...

For anyone who actually believes that this situation MIGHT HAVE gone down the same way if those women had been white (which I think most sane people realize it wouldn't have) check out THIS video. The cop remains calm, gives the white man a chance to get away, and allows other people to intercede on the mans behalf. And this is all AFTER the man bashed him in the head with a bottle. If this incident had involved a Black man, there would have been a funeral. Instead, the police officer was able to restrain himself since he was looking at the man who attacked him as a "good ole boy" like himself.

Anonymous said...

When she assaulted him by pushing him, the game was officially "on" and we all know the one with the gun is going to win.
This young "lady" was clearly in the wrong. Everyone and Jesus knows that you do not put your hands on a police officer. It's that simple. If you do, then you will suffer the consequences. Now, the punch to the face was excessive but how is he to know that she doesn't have a gun, knife or whatever? The bystanders, especially the one shouting "Are you serious?" clearly kept their butts on the sidelines: they have sense.
The officer should be reprimanded for his excessive use of force but not fired. She resisted arrest, she assaulted the officer = Case closed and more juvenile detention for these "ladies". Oh yes, these girls have a history of bad behavoir.