Another crazy video depicting police beating a man – one who had already surrendered – hit the internet this week. On the video, you can see the suspect surrender after a short chase, only to be beaten repeatedly with the officer’s fists and a flashlight. The video has come under scrutiny from the public, while the Vallejo California Police Department have defended the officer’s actions.
According to reports, the man was acting erratically inside a gas station when the employees called the police. The video starts with the man running from police, before stopping, surrendering, and sitting peacefully on the median in the roadway. The officer, who has yet to be named, immediately forces the man to the ground, and instead of taking him into custody, he proceeds to beat the man with his fists and duty flashlight.
The man is obviously in a state of heightened emotion, and is most likely suffering from a psychological episode. Once the man surrendered, the blows began, forcing him to cover his head. How many times have we seen video of suspects attempting to protect themselves from repeated blows, all the while the officer yells “stop resisting” at them? At this point, police yelling “stop resisting” is nothing more than performing for the camera, in hopes that a jury will buy their story down the track.
There are multiple problems with this incident. First off, once the subject sat on the curb his resistance level dropped, therefore it was the responsibility of the officer to reduce his level of force. The police Use of Force Matrix is very clear about how to control passively resistant subjects. Instead of using the techniques as prescribed by law, the officer jumped up the scale of force and proceeded to beat the subject, who was merely trying to protect himself from the violent onslaught.
Another problem with this case is the use of a flashlight as a secondary weapon. Courts have repeatedly ruled that police are only authorized to utilize secondary weapons that are approved by their department. Police often violate the law and utilize their Magnum flashlights as a baton – which the courts have already clarified is not acceptable. In 2015, a Providence RI cop was arrested and charged with a felony after beating a man who was already in custody with his duty issued flashlight. The case was dismissed on a technicality; however, the intent of the case remains relevant.
One witness on scene told the media “The kid surrendered. The cop, on the other hand, came right up behind him. He immediately dove on the kid and started whaling on him.” You can hear the crown yelling “police brutality!” in the background. A second officer arrives, and instead of handcuffing the man, they proceed to continue the assault. The officer curses at the crowd, another violation of police policy and treatment of the community. “Get the f* back!,” the officer yells as he pulled his firearm from his holster and points it at the crowd.
The department released a statement to the media in regards to the incident, “Just like anyone else, officers are innocent until proven guilty. Violence is always ugly but police officers are exposed to violent situations every day and they are required to overcome that violence, not just match it. We will investigate this matter and will take the appropriate action if any policy or law has been broken.” In other words, they are gonna sweep this under the rug along with the truth and justice.
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