Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Power of the Uniform

According to this HoodNews video (embedded below the fold), 21-year-old Shalonica Patton (sp?), while riding a bus, flipped off an officer of the Long Beach Police Department. Apparently, as her sister suggests, his manhood was offended (I'd argue that his concept of what/who you become because of that uniform, was offended). He pulled the bus over, allegedly "football-tackled" Patton and dragged her from the bus.

The police allegedly slammed Patton's face into the concrete, breaking four bones in her face. One officer held her down with his knee in her back, despite her repeated cries of "I can't breathe... I can't fucking breathe!"

Guess what? Shelonica Patton was held on charges of assaulting an officer.

What I noticed about the video (aside from the cops jerking a young woman off a public bus and injuring her for a damned finger sign) was how police brutality has led us to be always ready to assume the defense. Her mother stated over and over that her daughter was "good" and wasn't a "criminal." She'd never been in any trouble. She theorized that the police officers' actions were a manifestation of the
problem" LBPD has with young, black lesbians.

Claudie Jones, the reporter, argued that incidents like are why we should always be armed with video equipment, so that we can have indisputable evidence--as if because it is a given that police will brutalize marginalized people and communities.

What do you say when we are still at the point where we assume the defensive, have to proclaim our status as "good" and "like everyone else," otherwise mistreating us is okay?

What do you say when our words, our broken bones, our bruises, our lifeless bodies are not enough "evidence?"

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

I want to comment. I really do. But.....I can't find the words.....

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...