Jessica Hernandez, murdered by cops

There is a problem in America that needs to be addressed before more innocent people die and that problem is police brutality. The minority communities – particularly Blacks and Hispanics – have long had issues with the police, and it’s always of a racial nature. Native Americans also have been victims of police misconduct. Another group that is largely overlooked are the mentally ill and homeless. The police wage war against the homeless as well, and when they are mentally ill to boot, it’s that much more pathetic. Anyone who is not a member of the Blue Brotherhood can become a target, skin color doesn’t matter though we of a darker hue are more likely to be victims of a redneck cop’s ire.

Philando Castile, killed by a cop

I have had dealings with the police ever since I was 19, when I first started inflicting pain upon myself via ‘cutting’ as a means of dealing with deep depression and anxiety, until recently, when my fiance and I had a verbal altercation that led to slapping and throwing lamps. I don’t care for cops at all and try to avoid them whenever possible, even though I enjoy watching shows such as ‘The First 48’ and ‘Live PD’. (I used to watch ‘Cops’ years ago but there was an episode in which a White cop actually called a brown-skinned suspect a ‘nigger’, you could plainly hear the word. Florida, of course. Dade County. I’ll never forget that. I quickly lost my enthusiasm for the show though my mother remained enthralled.)

One of the worst cases of police brutality I have ever read about is the tragic tale of Kelly Thomas. A diagnosed schizophrenic, Thomas was living on the streets even though he had family and, from 1990 through 2011, he had 92 encounters with the police of Fullerton, California. From Wikipedia:

On July 5, 2011, at about 8:30 PM, officers of the Fullerton Police Department responded to a call from the management of the Slidebar[21] that someone was vandalizing cars near the Fullerton Transportation Center. While investigating, they encountered the shirtless and disheveled Thomas and attempted to search him. According to statements given by the officers, Thomas was uncooperative and resisted when they attempted to search him, so backup was called.[22] “Now you see my fists?” Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos asked Thomas while slipping on a pair of latex gloves. “Yeah, what about them?” Thomas responded. “They are getting ready to fuck you up,” said Ramos, to which Thomas replied, “Start punching dude“. A video of the event surfaced. Thomas can be seen being uncooperative with the officers, but sitting and being non-aggressive. After the officers grab Thomas to arrest him for stolen mail they apparently found, Thomas can be heard repeatedly screaming in pain while officers are heard repeatedly asking him to place his arms behind his back. He audibly responds “Okay, I’m sorry!” and “I’m trying!” while the officers stretch his arm back. The police officers claim that, unable to get Thomas to comply with the requests, they used a taser on him (up to five times according to a witness statement, and the video footage), and in the video Thomas can be heard screaming for his father.[22][23] Six officers were involved in subduing Thomas, who was unarmed and had a history of mental illness. Thomas was initially taken to St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton but was transferred immediately to the UC Irvine Medical Center with severe injuries to his head, face, and neck.[24] One of the paramedics testified that he was first instructed to attend to a police officer’s minor injury and then noticed Thomas lying unconscious in a pool of blood.

Everyone knows about Rodney King, whom I already wrote about in my series on the LA Riots. I never knew much about Eric Garner, however. Like Kelly Thomas, Eric Garner was no stranger to the police. Yet this is hardly a reason to kill somebody – though the Far Right seems to think so – and apparently, many cops do as well. Garner sold loose cigarettes without a tax stamp, which is in violation of New York state law, and on the day of his death (17 July 2014), Garner was standing in front of a beauty supply store with his friend Ramsey Orta – who filmed the incident on his cell phone – as well as numerous onlookers, when Garner was hassled by Justin Damico, a plainsclothes cop.

Get away [garbled] for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because every time you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. — Eric Garner

 

Officer Daniel Pantaleo approached Garner from the rear, tried to handcuff him (Garner swats him away, saying “Don’t touch me please,”) and then Pantaleo grabbed Garner in a chokehold from behind, which is against NYPD regulations. Garner was pulled backward by Pantaleo and thrust to the ground face-down with the aid of a few other officers, the whole time not really resisting them nor saying anything. After he had been on the ground a few seconds, he starts to say “I can’t breathe,” and goes on to repeat the words 10 more times. 2 EMTS and 2 medics arrive via ambulance but do not administer first aid to Garner, nor place him on a stretcher immediately, According to the police, he suffered a heart attack (Garner was 43 at the time of his death) on the way to the hospital.
Police brutality doesn’t just include beatings and chokeholds. It also includes bullets. Take the sad cases of Clinton Allen and Daniel Harris.
 “After my son Clinton was killed, I remember digging into my pain asking God to help me understand why this happened,” Collette Flanagan told The Root in an exclusive interview. “He just didn’t deserve to die.” 
In 2013, Flanagan’s 25-year-old son, Clinton Allen, was shot and killed by a Dallas police officer in an area that the 53-year-old refers to as the “Dallas hunting ground.” According to Flanagan, Clinton was on his way to visit a young woman whose boyfriend had come home unexpectedly. As Clinton arrived, the young woman wanted to avoid a conflict between the two men and called the police to help prevent a potential situation. “Clinton left and almost made it to his car when Officer Clark Staller buried seven bullets into him,” Flanagan said. “My son wasn’t armed and his hands were in the air. They didn’t even try to get him medical attention.”
 

Daniel Harris was driving a Volvo on Interstate 485 in the Charlotte area when a trooper tried to pull him over on suspicion of speeding around 6:15 p.m. Thursday, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said. Harris did not stop, but instead exited I-485 and drove to his Charlotte neighborhood, highway patrol Sgt. Michael Baker said. At the neighborhood, Harris “exited his vehicle, and an encounter took place between the driver and the trooper,” leading to the shooting, Baker said.
Harris died at the scene. Police haven’t elaborated on the encounter or revealed what, if anything, the two said or otherwise communicated, or whether the trooper knew Harris was deaf. The trooper was placed on administrative leave after the shooting as is usual, Baker said. Harris’ brother referred to the incident on a plaque by his brother’s photo several days after the shooting as Police Brutality Domestic Terrorism.” The police need to become aware of how to communicate with deaf people, what that might look like and how to avoid situations like this from ever happening again,” Sam Harris, who also is deaf, told CNN affiliate WSOC through a sign-language interpreter on Monday.

Kristiana Coignard, mentally ill teenager who was murdered by police

Will police brutality ever end? So long as grand juries fail to indict these uniformed murderers, so long as as they continue to be allowed to get away with ‘killing in the name’ and so long as their motto ‘to protect and to serve’ is twisted by the cops themselves to stand for ‘to murder and to kill’, police brutality will always be something that every civilian in these United States will live in fear of.

 

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