Georgia Has an Excessive Force Problem

I’ve included the videos connected to each incident I described.  If you have not watched any of them, I strongly suggest you watch them back to back – because this is our America.  We can’t turn the channel and avoid these issues any longer.

Trump Said, “Don’t be too nice” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHdF_bmV2Ew when addressing law enforcement back in July of 2017.  Trump gave law enforcement carte blanche to use more force than necessary when taking someone in custody.  Trump continues to display he does not understand America’s constitutionally granted right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.  It is amazing that some Americans can hold dear to the Second Amendment and forget the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.

However, Trump just led the charge with his words.  Here in Henry County, Georgia a police officer actually put Trump’s words into action with a forceful arrest of Desmond Marrow.  Check it out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qryarQHhn_E  A few weeks later the officer was finally fired.

 

In Alpharetta, Georgia a 65 yImage result for alpharetta arrest 65 year oldear old woman, Ms. Campbell was verbally abused and man handled because she asked for a police supervisor – her right as an American.  Check out her heart wrenching cries for help here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/p/alpharetta-police-release-video-of-officers-altercation-with-65-year-old-woman-during-traffic-stop/vp-AAx777I

Trump is not a Henry or Fulton County commissioner.  Trump is not the police chief of Henry County or the Alpharetta Police Department.  The abuse of Mrs. Campbell and Mr. Desmond Marrow is a local issue.  Locally elected officials are responsible for solving these ills.  The Georgia General Assembly has some role to play in these issues as well.

Here is the reality, even without Trump’s statements, incidents of excessive force have occurred in our country since the Reconstruction Era.  The difference is now we have phones with videos to capture the incidents and social media to share the incidents around the world in seconds.  These instances are not shocking in some American communities.  I recall growing up discussing these incidents with family and friends.  There was only one or two degrees of separation between you and someone who experienced unnecessary excessive force when they had done nothing wrong.  However, growing up those discussions were limited to your immediate community.  Now we get a bird’s eye view that this is happening …. Everywhere.

What we are seeing around the country are incidents where police are called to the scene via 911 for people literally just sitting.  Despite the fact these innocuous calls are based on issues of trespassing like in Starbucks, using a plastic fork to eat food purchased in Waffle House https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TojeRS_ags, being a college student in their dormitory at Yale https://www.cbsnews.com/news/yale-white-graduate-student-calls-police-on-black-student-sleeping-in-dorm-common-area/ – the police arrive and use more force than necessary.  Is this change due to the freedom our commander and chief has promoted?  Or has the power of the internet made it such that no American can deny a prevalent issue in America anymore?

After the response of the Starbucks corporation, African Americans feel empowered to report these interactions that they have long known were unjust.  In the past we sat in our car and cried, complained to family, or fumed in angry silence.  In a capitalistic society it is no surprise that a corporation would be the one to create a road map for taking responsibility when these things happen.  We can now stop debating are these things right or wrong and simply address what is wrong.  African Americans can stop suffering in the silence of our dining rooms and tell the world.  A few lawsuits that cost municipalities lots of money may grab the elected officials attention as well.

Without investigation of the issue the police in these cases acted as judge and jury by treating each American as if they were already found guilty.  Most law enforcement are great people doing hard jobs.  There are still far too many who take justice in their own hands.  There are too many of them with inherent biases created by family or the media portrayal of black people.  There are too many people who are now using “I will call the cops on you” to invoke fear in Americans by using the police as their weapon of choice.

These incidents are too common as are the retorts – “if you just comply,” “if you did not do anything wrong,” “the police were just doing their job.”  Using Mr. Marrow’s video as an example, it clearly shows that Mr. Marrow was not resisting arrest while they slam him against a vehicle.  The officers followed Trumps suggestion to the letter and “was not too nice.”  The video shows they slammed Mr. Marrow on the ground while his hands were in cuffs behind his back.  They pin his legs in a ninety-degree angle while simultaneously choking him.  The man stops talking and appears to almost stop breathing.  All of this treatment without knowing if they have identified the correct person, without knowing if the person actually committed a crime, and without the police fearing their life was in any danger.

As a law abiding black woman – when I shop for makeup in my favorite department store – I walk with small items in my palm open from the time I pick it up until I make it to the checkout counter.  I make sure any security camera can see.  If I am carrying a coat or large bag I ensure they do not appear to conceal any items I have not purchased.  Why?  Because I don’t want to end up like Desmond Marrow or all the others listed above.  I don’t want someone calling 911 on me and reporting I’ve committed a crime.  Think I am over reacting?  Check out this video of an off-duty officer demanding at gun point a man put back breath mints that the man legally purchased.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/buena-park-police-officer-gun-customer-mentos/

I don’t want to end up on camera in handcuffs.  I don’t want to end up choked on the ground by men twice my size.  I don’t want to be tossed around like a rag doll like the young woman at the pool party three summers ago.  https://www.cnn.com/2015/06/09/us/mckinney-texas-pool-party-video/index.html I – a former legislator – a prosecutor – a defense attorney – a friend of law enforcement – a tax payer – a voter – a community servant — do not want to lose my life to the police.   As an American – this should not be something I am concerned about.

However, maybe the African American community is wrong.  Maybe this is an America issue and not a people of color issue. I would love to hear from non-minorities about their experiences of excessive force.   Have you had the police called on you unjustly?  When getting arrested were you slammed on the ground in handcuffs, choked and pinned to the ground before the issue was even investigated?

Either way, these are local issues decided by local election.  There is an election underway RIGHT NOW!  Vote wisely.

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Andrew C. PopeLaDawn LBJ JonesEllynnrickdayJean Recent comment authors
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joe
joe

I am a white male living in Henry county. I go to church with 3 law enforcement officers, and I cannot imagine any of them behaving like the officers in the events that you described. A few years ago my house was broken into. When the black police officer arrived, I was holding a lever-action rifle, and my wife was holding a 9mm pistol. He asked us to secure them in our car (we did), then called for backup. A white female officer showed up. There was never any threat verbalized, and the only time I was uncomfortable was while… Read more »

rickday
rickday

No Joe. The aberration was your experience as a white male. What LBJ is talking about is indeed the norm. For pretty much everyone else.

Is that fair, Joe? That you got a good experience only because of your genitalia and skin color? Dude, you need to wake up, and wake up fast.

When elected, I will take the lead in creating an independent prosecutor to look into state charges to handle cases of abuse of citizens by any and all public servants.

Jean
Jean

I agree. This is not something you or anyone else should have to worry about. How do we fix it? .. The best ideas I’ve had so far: 1) Utilize an organization recognized as honest to investigate all the questionable situations and publish the results – truth is important. For us here in Georgia, I think the GBI is the best option we have right now. If they aren’t already investigating all the questionable use-of-force situations across the state, I think we should update state law to require that. We also need to prosecute the cases of bad behavior. I… Read more »

Ellynn
Ellynn

While I have had an incident of “walking while Yankee” almost 20 years ago in a rural county seat in south central Georgia, I had an event in Savannah three years ago proving my privilege. I was driving through Chatham Co. on a late Friday afternoon during “Rolling Thunder” and came to a check point. I turned my window down to wait. The officer on the left checked the license of the driver of the car in front of me and the guy in the back checked the lights and called out the county plate of the car. Apparently the… Read more »

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Speaking as someone with four generations of law enforcement in his family tree: We need to pay our police officers more. Police salaries have, quite simply, not kept up with the cost of living. Moreover, the recession and tax cut happy politicians have caused local governments to significantly scale back benefits and pension programs for public service employees. The result is officer shortages and police departments and Sheriff’s offices “taking what they can get” when it comes to prospective officers. Studies have shown that higher salaries and better benefits attract better officer candidates. If there’s a greater supply of prospective… Read more »