Monday, December 19, 2011

The age old story: Cop attacks protester, arrests protester for assault, but this time caught on video

Via Unfair Park and Injustice Everywhere, on Nov. 5 Occupy Dallas protester Stephen Benavides was arrested, maced and spent four days in jail for allegedly assaulting an off-duty police officer, 19-year veteran Jimmy Hollis. When video showed that Hollis actually initiated the violence by shoving the fellow off a 4' planter, the chief issued a one-day suspension without pay and forbade him from working off-duty jobs for 60 days. So the cop got a day off and missed out on a few holiday security gigs, while his victim was attacked, maced, spent four days in jail, and is still waiting for charges to be formally, finally cleared. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Often protest movements that begin small escalate not because of the righteousness of their cause (or in this case, the nebulousness of it) but because the state engages in police brutality or illegal methods to suppress or discredit it. That's the risk run when police respond violently to Occupy protesters. And doling out slaps on the wrist to offending cops in incidents like this one adds insult to injury. Remember it wasn't the images of Rodney King's beating that sparked riots and national protests back in 1992, it was the acquittal of the officers so clearly seen wailing on him in the video. People understand there will always be bad apples, but they want to see them held accountable.

I'm not a great fan of the Occupy movement, but neither do I endorse a police officer initiating violence then blaming it on protesters. The cop in that video wasn't doing his job, he was just a bully in uniform.

RELATED: From The Crime Report: "Police vs. OWS."

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was assaulted by an investigator in the Smith County DA's office and then charged with assaulting him. But, since it was my word against his....I plead guilty for a reduced charge. I suspect, if all these incidents were caught on video, we'd find that, in a lot of cases where people are charged with assaulting an officer, that it was actually the officer who committed the assault.

Anonymous said...

The courts have held repeatedly that you are not allowed to fight back. In my experience, most such cases involve someone being arrested or detained and the "victim" fights back (either before understanding it was an officer or trying to get away). This is based on decades of experience and having watched plenty of video footage.

That said, if someone steps across the line when they are working under the color of their official authority, by all means discipline them accordingly.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

3:55, I think that's pretty much what happened here: The guy was shoved from behind and almost certainly didn't understand what was happening, didn't know the guy was a off-duty cop, etc.. Shoving someone off a 4' planter is an attack; all he knew in those initial moments was that he'd been attacked by someone, for some reason. My questions are: What was the point of the initial assault, and why isn't it being prosecuted as one?

Anonymous said...

The police state in which we live, has people afraid of the police. Not a conscious fear, but rather an unconscious fear that tells us that the police do good and anyone standing in their way is doing wrong. Unfortunately, that leads to people believing anyone assaulted by a police officer deserved it and anyone "assaulting" a police officer is a monster.

John David Galt said...

I agree with you on the general principle, but not on the Rodney King case: the reason the first jury acquitted those cops was that it saw the ENTIRE video, not just the ending that was shown on TV. (And the real travesty of justice in that case was that two bad precedents resulted: one, that acquitted defendants can be retried by a different level of government in violation of double jeopardy, and two, that government will appease mobs of thugs who attack innocent people rather than mobilize the army and do whatever it takes to defeat them.)

Anonymous said...

What percentage of the occupy forces are into agitprop? What percentage are provocateurs trying anything and everything to provoke a reaction so they can claim they are being mistreated. Remember the saying "by any means necessary?" Beware of distorted, one-sided reports.

Anonymous said...

there is no such thing as a good cop

Gritsforbreakfast said...

JDG, I can't tell where you disagree with me on Rodney King - you seem to agree the public outrage was at the acquittal, not the video itself, which was my sole point on the subject.

9:17, there are plenty of good cops. Lots of officers were there that day. Only one did this.

8:44, you think this video was "agitprop"? Looks pretty legit to me.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:44 PM,

You're referring to the cops regarding your statement, "by any means necessary", right?

rodmsith said...

well 3:55 you might want to look again at this!

"The courts have held repeatedly that you are not allowed to fight back."

Sorry the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled a number of times that you not only have a RIGHT but a DUTY to resist ILLEGAL orders no matter who gives them and that includes an illegal arrest!

Plus you have every LEGAL RIGHT to defend yourself against ANYONE there is NO exception in that document for govt officals. Hell the 2nd amendment was SPECIFICALY placed it in AGAINST the govt! since they had ample evidence of govt gone rogue ...which was main reason for the revolt !

sorry this turd wasn't a LAW ENFORCMENT officer...he was a THUG caught in the act. When thug's try and bother me they tend to end up on the ground and may or may NOT get back up!

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