It’s long been clear that Justice Scalia’s declaration that police misconduct isn’t a problem because law enforcement officers now have a “new professionalism” is utter nonsense. But it should also be clear that those in charge care more about bad PR than they do about actually addressing police brutality. Here’s a perfect example:
Taken from a police car’s dash camera, the video runs for about an hour. It shows an officer pepper-spraying a college-age African American male.
At the start of the video, the young man is shown walking with a young woman on the evening of June 5. The man claims that the woman is his sister.
A squad car pulls up near them and a police officer detains the man. The man’s attorney said he was ultimately ticketed for jaywalking and arrested for resisting police, but the resisting arrest charge was later dropped. Within about 10 seconds, the police officer who apprehended him pulls out pepper spray and shoots it at him.
The man is then handcuffed and led into a police car. In another camera angle from within the car, the man urges officers not to touch him. A police officer then puts his hands on the man’s neck while he is still handcuffed, and pushes him down to the side of the car out of the shot of the video. After a few seconds, the officer exits the car.
“Take me to jail! Take me to jail!” the man said. “You have no reason to choke me.”
Champaign Mayor Don Gerard said he is ‘gravely disappointed’ the police video was posted online, saying it is counteractive to anything the city is trying to achieve in terms of police-community relations. The mayor added that he is ‘very confident’ that state police will investigate the June 5 arrest.
“I hoping that despite (the video being released) that whatever actions the city and the state’s attorney take aren’t compromised,” Gerard said.
The problem with police-community relations is not the fact that people can now know about such brutality; the problem is that officers feel free to engage in it in the first place. Don’t blame the messenger, blame the criminal — in this case, that’s the police.