It seems a day doesn't go by without another story of police brutality in our formerly "land of the free." The examples are legion. 14-year old girl tasered in the head. Cop points gun in girls face. Elderly woman slammed to the ground. And prosecutors are every bit as abusive as the cops, too.
Where does it end? What does this say about our society?
Does the facade of state authority make this acceptable? I think not. Immorality is immorality. Abuse is abuse.
The increasingly violent behavior of police in America is completely incompatible with liberty and freedom. We're heading in the wrong direction folks! We look more like the old USSR today, than the old US of A.
According to the Cincinnatti Enquirer, motorist John Harmon was on his way home from work when his blood-sugar got too low. As a diabetic, this meant trouble, and Harmon's vehicle veered into another lane. A nearby Hamilton, Ohio sheriff's deputy spotted the unintentional maneuver and pulled him over. The officer then approached the car with his gun drawn and screamed at Harmon before smashing his window open. Harmon, 52, was then cut out of his seatbelt and dragged him to the ground. On the way down, his elbow was severely dislocated but the pain didn't end there. During this process he received seven shocks from a Tazer and kicked in the head... all while cowering on the ground in pain. According to the account, an Ohio Highway Patrol Officer arrived on the scene and was shocked to find Harmon being treated in this manner. He separated the officers from Harmon, only to discover Harmon's diabetics.
Eric Strausbaugh of Franklin, Wisconsin, a 34-year-old husband and father, killed himself last October 31. Friends recall that he was experiencing marital difficulties and a great deal of job-related stress. A large part of his emotional burden was the result of his actions on November 9, 2004, when he was an accomplice in the murder of Michael Edward Bell.
Strausbaugh, an officer with the Kenosha Police Department, confronted Bell in front of his home at about 2:10 a.m. He has never provided an unambiguous legal rationale for the stop: He first claimed that Bell was speeding, then later asserted that he had run a stop sign. Neither of those claims was validated by the dash cam video from Strausbaugh's cruiser (which actually shows that Strausbaugh blew through a stop sign on the way to Bell's home).
The video shows a visibly puzzled Bell emerging from his vehicle. Within seconds Strausbaugh is literally at the 21-year-old's throat, pushing him up against the vehicle then dragging him off-camera. A brief argument ensues, in which Bell can be heard exclaiming "I know my rights!" and Strausbaugh is heard demanding that the young man submit to a field sobriety test. Near the end of the five minute video clip we can hear Strausbaugh order Bell put his arms behind his back, followed by the unmistakable sound of a Taser being fired.
Three other Kenosha police officers -- who were reportedly within a few blocks of Bell's residence -- arrived on the scene a few minutes later. Strausbaugh insisted that he called for backup because Bell "ran," but there is no evidence to corroborate that claim.
No more than seven minutes after the confrontation began, Bell was dead from a gunshot wound to the head. He was gunned down -- after being kicked and Tasered for several minutes -- in front of his horrified mother and sister. The actual killing was carried out by Officer Albert Gonzalez, who, in the clinical language of Dr. Douglas Kelly, former Chief Medical Examiner for Fond Du Lac County, "made [a] contact wound by pressing his gun against [Bell's] head at the time the shot was fired."
When Gonzalez pulled the trigger, Bell was being restrained by at least two other police officers. Strausbaugh maintained that Bell -- a much smaller man -- somehow managed to bulldog him up against a nearby car, and grab for his gun before being shot to death. Bell supposedly accomplished this feat despite being Tasered multiple times, as well as enduring several punches and knee strikes to the ribs inflicted by Strausbaugh and Officer Erich Weidner (who arrived within minutes of the initial stop).
Still believe America is "the land of the free?" Because you can't solve a problem ... until you first admit the problem exists.