Sunday, April 11, 2021

Yes, Mr. Schaefer, police violence is a problem, even in Tyler

Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), who represents my hometown, said at the Homeland Security and Pubic Safety Committee hearing the other day that there'd been no serious police violence incidents in his district in many years. Maybe he meant police shootings or deadly force. But a couple of folks in the audience grumbled that somebody should tell that to the 15-year old kid thrown to the pavement by a Bullard police officer last fall. Here's video from the incident:

The kid was 15 and had tried to charge his phone without making a purchase, which was against store policy. Off-duty Bullard police officers told him store owners didn't want him there. He asked to speak to the manager but they refused and put him in handcuffs, took him outside, then threw him to the ground as seen above in front of cell-phone wielding witnesses. The episode sparked protests in response.

Might this incident have been prevented if HB 830 - part of the Texas George Floyd Act - barring arrests for Class C misdemeanors had already been law? Maybe not. No arrests were made because Bullard police officers had no authority to make them outside their jurisdiction, according to local news reports. (They were at a facility in Tyler, not Bullard.) So the kid was merely handcuffed and detained by police then assaulted before being let go with no charges. On the other hand, HB 833 limiting police use of force would have prohibited this entirely gratuitous force incident. And HB 832 would have created a duty for the other officers to intervene and stop it.

It's one thing to tell people in Austin there's no problem with police violence in his district. But folks back home who've seen this video on the evening news already know better. Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson has been working with all the police groups who will work with her on substitute language for these bills, and Mr. Schaefer will soon have an opportunity to do something about it.

1 comment:

L. Amir-Sharif said...

Sad but true, this sort of unnecessary police violence against members of our society (from ages eight to eighty(+))is an all to common reality played out daily in cities across the U.S. Unfortunately, many such incidents as what happened in Tyler, Texas don't get recorded and then publicly disseminated so that the culprits whose purported duty is "to serve and to protect", are held accountable for their malevolent and unlawful behavior. Members of the public have little real avenues for recourse when they are victimized in this manner.

This is true because our state and federal court system is rigged with inequities and our U.S. Supreme Court has exchanged its appointed role as the nation's gatekeeper of true justice for its newest role as the nation's maintainer of the status quo. That being so, there will be little if no consequences faced by this rogue cop (and others like him) who brutalize the masses and no justice for the victims of this and other forms of evil police violence (i.e. unnecessary and excessive use of force).

Because the system is rigged, there will be no consequences for police who 'RAIDED THE WRONG HOUSE" and murdered 6year old Ayanna Stanley Jones in Detroit with a 50 cal. machine gun while she slept in her bed or for police who destroyed a private home by bombarding it with tear gas grenades during a SWAT team raid gone awry, or for the cop who mistakenly shot a 10-year-old boy after aiming for and missing the non-threatening family dog, or for the arresting officer who sicced a police dog on a suspect who had already surrendered. I could provide you with countless other examples but I trust if you are reading Grits For Breakfast then you are a conscience minded individual and well aware of some of the many incidents I am referring to.

The growing conflicts between the militarized police and the people they are sworn to 'protect and serve" are rightfully disturbing and they cast a dark dubious cloud over the events our nation can look forward to in the coming years.