Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"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.


At July 21, 2009 at 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These cops will probably receive a promotion. It's obvious the chief thinks this kind of demeanor is cool. Fuck that. I'm so tired of hearing how only a "few" bad cops ruin the rep of all. I bet there's a history of BS behavior from these two and the so called "good" cops have been covering up for them for a lengthy amount of time. It's bullshit.

At July 21, 2009 at 4:23 PM, Blogger Bukko_in_Australia said...

Aboriginal man's face catches on fire when police Taze him after he was sniffing petrol. Sadly, the natives here get high huffing gas fumes, they get unruly, and then pigs will be pigs. I keep getting reminders of why I hate cops.

At July 21, 2009 at 4:37 PM, Blogger Marla said...

Yeah, probably not out of the ordinary.

If you went by what cops say, almost all police misconduct can be attributed to snap judgment in a heated moment, but this one clearly had all the time in the world to think about what he was doing, and he still apparently assumed that there would be no repercussions. Where did he come to believe that? In his own station house, from his own superiors. The deputy's at fault, of course, but the sheriff is like someone who keeps attack dogs and allows them to roam the neighborhood, biting whoever they please. They should both face criminal charges, but the sheriff should be sued to the gates of Hell.

At July 21, 2009 at 10:28 PM, Anonymous Blakeator said...

If you think this is something new, you haven't been paying attention. This is SOP fot all law enforcement these days. Actually, I am surprised somebody didn't send in the SWAT team. No matter how egregious the behavior, no matter how outrageous the disrergard for the law, no matter how many people are injured or killed, the "authorities" never do anything wrong. There are several web sites that chronicle this type of episode and it is obvious that "keeping the citizenry in their place" is the top priority. They are at "war" don't you know? On crime, On drugs, On us. Just listen to the statements: They usually present the justification in the form of "ensuring the safety of the officer" as if that relieves the officer of any responsibility to apply something us "civilians" call common sense. As for the racist charge, I think that is more along the lines of a typical bully who picks on those who that bully thinks can't or won't fight back. It's just that white folks are more likely to "lawyer up."

At July 21, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Oh, believe me, I know this is nothing new. Police abuse has been around as long as there's been police. Immunity and protection from accountability automatically translates to the potential and realization of abuse of that power. I can think of exactly one cop whom I genuinely ever liked. Cops have an allergic reaction to me just as I do them. They know I'm trouble. Unfortunately, my ex opened up her big mouth to them last month now they know I'm a former SEAL. Hopefully, that'll keep them off my back for the time being.

At July 22, 2009 at 12:16 AM, Anonymous Earl said...

Speaking of cops...


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