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About the below-posted video, and why laws against taping police must be eliminated

May 25, 2011 About the below-posted video, and why laws against taping police must be eliminated

Around two months ago — perhaps coinciding with my switching my blogroll from the lefthand side to the right — I have been unable to blogpost text together with YouTube broadcasts without obliterating the visibility of all earlier blog entries. Therefore, this blog entry is separate from the video below entitled "D.C. Metro police abuse man in wheelchair."

The Washington Post reports the gist of the story:

"Metro has said the man [in the wheelchair] was drinking alcohol outside the station last Thursday [May 19, 2011] and refused to leave the area and accept a citation [was the man given the option to dispose of the alcohol OR to leave? Was he given any lead time to leave — and how much lead time  — and how far was he told to go, if at all?]. The agency said the man resisted arrest [how?] and fell [the video tells us otherwise] from his wheelchair during the resulting scuffle with the officers [do you see the man scuffling with anyone?].

"The man was arrested for assault and drinking in public. On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s office dropped the assault charge."

Kudos to the U.S. Attorney’s Office (which prosecutes most crimes except for DWI and some other misdemeanors in D.C., under the shameful ongoing federal colonialism over D.C.) for dismissing the assault charge, which apparently was the only criminal charge that the prosecutor’s  office was handling. Sadly, in the interim and pursuant to usual procedure, the man in a wheelchair likely was ultimately taken to the Superior Court lockup and held until later in the day or the next day for a release hearing. Unless things have changed since I was last at the main Superior Court lockup around three years ago, it is neither a pretty nor comfortable experience. For that matter, the D.C. Jail is among the most dehumanizing-looking jails or prisons I ever have visited — and I have visited at least twenty jails and prisons — aside from the Maryland Penitentiary, which was always decrepit when I would visit through around fifteen years ago.

The D.C. Attorney General’s Office has the choice of charging the man with the jailable offense of possessing an open alcoholic beverage container. I urge the D.C. AG’s office not to add insult to injury by pursuing such charges.

While the United States Attorney’s Office investigates, the two police officers have had their police powers suspended, and are assigned to administrative duties.

Yes, this video does not show the whole picture. However, unless the video has been doctored — which seems unlikely — what could this man possibly have done to have been taken face-first to the ground by the police, and to have been left there so long bleeding, with no effort to administer immediate first aid to him? If he was taken down face-first after displaying a weapon, we would have seen a full body search — none happened — to assure no other weapons on.

This whole incident apparently happened at the U Street, Northwest, Metro/subway station, which is just around eight miles down the road from my office. People have a particular responsibility to expose and speak out about abuse by their own police, and I applaud the people in the video who are speaking up for justice and for this man who was injured and not heard speaking out for himself.

Praised be the person who videotaped this travesty of justice. This one video alone shows why we must eliminate all laws prohibiting the filming and audiotaping of public police interactions with people.

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