Thursday, June 10, 2010
Yes, Virginia, Police Brutality Does Exist
When the possible police brutality case involving 15 year old Brandon Johnson first made the news, a lot of people, including a local blogger and radio host, was ready to pronounce Johnson guilty and exonerate the police officers. Comedian Chris Rock's bit on police brutality was posted and even praised as a model for young African-Americans to follow in their dealing with police. Apparently the fact that one piece of advice was to always ride with a white passenger wasn't enough to tip off these people that Rock's piece was a JOKE and not to be taken seriously.
On my blog, I warned that whites are too quick to always discard claims of police brutality. While African-Americans are too distrusting of police, whites have the opposite problem - they believe police officers are always in the right and are not open-minded to the possibility that officers do step over the line and are not always honest in how events are recounted in police reports.
Well, results of the police investigation of the Brandon Johnson matter are in. Chief of Police Paul Ciesielski and his boss Public Safety Director Frank Straub have recommended that Officer Jerry Piland be fired for continuing to hit Johnson after other officers had Johnson subdued. Other officers are recommended to receive reprimands.
While the focus of the discipline was on the officers' actions with Brandon Johnson, I do wonder about those who participated in the writing of a biased police report that effectively covered up Piland's excessive force and put the blame on Johnson. Officers should know that if they participate in covering up serious police misconduct they will also face discipline.