While other issues continue to mar the American sociopolitical landscape, relations between police officers and members of minority communities continue to sour. There’s now another video of a deeply questionable interaction between those two groups making the rounds on social media that’s clocked well over 4.5 million views and counting as of Wednesday afternoon.
This is horrifying.
— Simar (@sahluwal) November 21, 2018
The video chronicles an unnamed white East Cleveland police officer demanding that a black male motorist he suspected of speeding produce his driver’s license. The driver was taken aback that the officer hadn’t even, apparently, confirmed how fast he’d been going before pulling him over — which the cop confirmed on a cellphone video the driver took of the encounter.
The officer, though, wasn’t interested in hearing out the man’s concerns. He quickly pivoted to demanding he remove himself from the vehicle after he took longer to produce his license than the officer would have liked, and then — although the full interaction isn’t visible on screen — the cop apparently took it upon himself to remove the driver from the vehicle and handcuffed him. During the struggle to get the man out of the vehicle, the cop called for backup, which can be seen and heard showing up — and a concurrent threat to use a taser on the driver can be heard in the video too.
To be clear, the driver simply dared question a police officer, and within just a few apparent minutes, that officer had him outside the car and in handcuffs. He was never seemingly ticketed for speeding — although he was ticketed for “obstruction.”
Case Western law professor Ayesha Bell Hardaway — local to the area where the incident unfolded — asserted to local media:
‘Unless an officer has reason that you pose a threat to him or that you have a weapon or there’s a contraband in the vehicle, it’s not protocol for you to be ordered out of the car and placed into handcuffs.’
The officer in question didn’t seem to care, and the local police department has insisted he was just “doing his job,” pointing out that he repeated his command for the driver to produce his license and, subsequently, get out of the car multiple times — as if rattling off the same line over and over like a broken record suddenly makes him in the right.
The incident comes in the midst of a growing national list of similar deeply questionable incidents.
For instance, recently outside a bar near Chicago, a local cop shot and killed a black security guard named Jemel Roberson who was just doing his job in seeking to restrain a man who’d been part of a shooting at the establishment. Cops have unsurprisingly claimed they told the man to drop his gun before shooting him, while witnesses say bystanders shouted that the man was a security guard but the cop unloaded his weapon anyway.
President Donald Trump has been only exacerbating the tensions, through means including the incessant demonization of those who dare speak out against police violence against black Americans. He said the “sons of bitches” who wage peaceful protest efforts in the NFL should be fired.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video