It takes a lot to make me feel sick. I’ve got a pretty strong stomach; I’ve drank from a stream while hiking, gone further uphill and found a rotting sheep carcass in said stream and still held onto my lunch. But something I saw today induced a wave of rolling nausea so great I feel compelled to share it. This video is just over 4 minutes long; I urge you to watch it all, with the sound up. But if you’re really pushed for time, skip forward to 55 seconds in.
Obviously, we can’t tell the full story from a 4 minute video. But here’s some things we can tell from it:
1. The victim was already bleeding from the back of the head when the video opened. Blood on the floor was filmed.
2. The person holding the camera, and other onlookers, were claiming throughout that the man had already had his head dashed against the ground prior to the footage commencing – that’s why (the filmer claims) he began filming.
3. The victim was handcuffed when he was thrown to the ground in the footage on tape. He was thrown face-first, and with his hands behind his back was unable to break his own fall.
4. The police officer stood on him while he was lying on the ground, crying.
5. He was clearly not in possession of a concealed weapon (he had nowhere to conceal it), or capable of posing any other kind of threat.
I call him a victim deliberately. I don’t care why he was arrested (he claims for crossing the road during the parade – jaywalking, essentially), I don’t care how obnoxious he might have been prior to the clip opening (because all we really see in the film is him crying and shouting that he hadn’t done anything wrong). I don’t care what reason any officer gives to explain the actions shown in this video. There is no excuse for what that policeman did. It is his job to be the authority figure, the one who maintains control. What that video shows is him bodyslamming a much smaller, defenceless and disarmed man to the ground face-first, with no way to protect himself.
Dozens of bystanders can be seen watching, filming, and shouting at the officer involved. Yet what do the other policemen do? Try to stop them filming. Says everything really, doesn’t it?
I hope they throw the book at this guy. Brutality is brutality, and incomplete though this video is, the events depicted within it are clear. Let this not be swept under a rug. Let those who abuse positions of power to assault and degrade those weaker than them be seen for what they are. I don’t care if this event took pace at a pride event, a street carnival, a religious celebration or a football match. I don’t care what the cop’s motivation for it was – be it homophobia, racism, antagonism or if he just woke up cranky. I couldn’t give a shit. Brutality is brutality. And it has no place in the police force of any nation.