"Nothing out of the ordinary."
So what's business as usual, according to Sheriff Roger Mulch?
A sheriff's deputy zapped three children with a stun gun at an Illinois emergency youth shelter, threatening to sodomize one of them before choking a fourth child and throwing her in a closet, according to a federal civil-rights lawsuit.
Oh, and the four young victims named in this lawsuit weren't even the troublemakers that brought the police to this shelter, according to this AP article.
It's hard to judge what's more shocking: That such police brutality can be so casually dismissed by the sheriff as "nothing out of the ordinary", that it took so long to get to court (the incident happened on the 4th of July last year) or that litigation is only possible with a federal civil rights lawsuit because an internal "investigation" and another conducted by the Illinois State Police exonerated Deputies David Bowers and Lonnie Lawler.
No word, yet, on whether these two deputies are white and if any of the victims in this East St. Louis shelter are children of color.
Just the very fact that we have to settle for civil rights lawsuits instead of actual assault and battery charges is disheartening. We saw that in Mississippi back when those three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. Since the police there, too, were acting in a klannish, collusive manner, no murder charges were possible and the federal government had to step in and file civil rights violations charges.
Four and a half decades later, we've come no closer to being able to even file simple assault and battery charges against rampaging police much less get any justice for the victims. We saw it with the Rodney King verdict and we've seen it recently here in Massachusetts with the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., our nation's most eminent African American scholar, on trumped up disorderly conduct charges.
Yet whether or not this is racially motivated, it's disturbing and infuriating that time and again we hear chiefs of police and sheriffs blindly defending their men to the death and insisting that all protocols and procedures were met even in the face of staggering evidence proving rampages that involve beating, kicking and tasering of juvenile suspects. It's one thing to not prematurely judge your own people but it's another thing entirely to blindly defend their actions. During an ongoing investigation or litigation, it's just more prudent to shut the fuck up and to say No comment.
It's hard to take the events of July 4th, 2008 out of context when by multiple accounts, four children were assaulted by two cops answering a call that had nothing to do with the victims. Since when is tasering 11 and 12 year-old children until they piss and shit themselves, threatening them with sodomy and choking a teenaged girl until she vomits and throwing her in a closet not "out of the ordinary?"
Bowers and Lawler ought to be thrown off the force if found guilty of these charges. But of course, neither one of them will be regardless of the outcome. That's because civil rights will always be kept in the back of the bus in favor of white clannish police brutality.