For American Police, Criminal Violence is Routine

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Protected and Served by NYPD

Police, we are told, play an indispensable role in securing public safety. This assumes that public safety is somehow enhanced by the presence of people who claim a license to commit aggressive violence, and whose first priority in dealing with the public is to secure submission, rather than to provide protection.

Kang Wong is an 84-year-old New York resident who doesn’t understand English. Late in the afternoon on January 19, Wong was crossing the street when a police officer, believing the elderly man was jaywalking, ordered him to stop.

Because of the language barrier, Wong didn’t immediately respond. The officer escorted him to a nearby bank and attempted to write a ticket. Still not understanding what was happening, Wong started to walk away. The officer seized the octogenarian, who tried to shove the stranger’s hands away. That provoked intervention by several other officers, who beat the confused man bloody and arrested him.

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio blithely defended the gang-beating as the product of solicitude for the safety of Wong and other citizens – part of a “Vision Zero” initiative intended to “make our streets safer.” The New York Post offered a more clear-eyed assessment, pointing out that the tragic death of a pedestrian a few hours earlier gave the police a pretext to resume “the old-school tactic of writing up pedestrians for jaywalking at $250 a pop.”

The befuddled old man’s reaction to the opportunistic violence of the officious revenue farmer who had detained him gave the police an opportunity to file multiple charges against the victim, including resisting arrest, obstruction, and disorderly conduct (none of which is an actual crime, of course).

A few weeks ago, 64-year-old Oklahoma resident Pearl Pearson, who is deaf and diabetic, was stopped by a state trooper for leaving the scene of a minor accident. Despite the fact that Pearson’s vehicle had a large sign explaining his hearing impairment, the trooper barked orders that the driver show his hands and leave his vehicle. Outraged that the elderly man didn’t immediately obey orders he couldn’t hear or understand, two officers – Eric Foster and Kelton Hayes – beat him for seven minutes, then arrested him for resisting arrest.

Pearson – whose son and son-in-law are police officers – required hospitalization for his injuries. By that that time, it should have been obvious even to the cerebrally deprived people employed as police that the elderly man was deaf. Yet they didn’t bother to provide him with an interpreter.

In America, such unwarranted, barbaric police violence is routine. It’s doubtful that this can be said of any other country.

10:06 am on January 20, 2014