(This story via Hear Me Roar 2008-02-20 and a private correspondent.)
Trigger warning: The police surveillance video, news story, photos, and text comments from freelance thugs, which this story reports on, may be triggering for past experiences of violence. (Note added 2008-03-18.)
Here is something that I wrote a couple years ago about the State and its efforts to protect the hell out of us all whether we want it to or not:
The State is, as Catharine MacKinnon says, male in the political sense. But not only because the law views women’s civil status through the lens of male supremacy (although it certainly does). It is also because the male-dominated State relates to all of its subjects like a battering husband relates to the
household of which he has proclaimed himself the
head: by laying a claim to protect those who did not ask for it, and using whatever violence and intimidation may be necessary to terrorize them into submitting to his
protection. The State, as the abusive head of the whole nation, assaults the innocent, and turns a blind eye to assaults of the innocent, when it suits political interest — renamed
national interest by the self-proclaimed
representatives of the nation. It does so not because of the venality or incompetance of a particular ruler, but rather because that is what State power means, and that is what the job of a ruler is: to maintain a monopoly of coercion over its territorial area, as a good German might tell you, and to beat, chain, burn, or kill anyone within or without who might endanger that, whether by defying State rule, or by simply ignoring it and asking to be left alone.
— GT 2006-05-11: Quidditative essence
I didn’t mean the analogy between government
protection and domestic violence quite this literally, but, well, here we are.
This is how government cops protect you: by beating the shit out of a
suspect woman after she’s already been handcuffed, turning off the camera so that they won’t be caught on tape doing it, and then claiming that the reason she ended up lying a pool of her own blood in the middle of the room, with two black eyes, a broken nose, and missing teeth, was that she tried to leave the room and
fell and hurt herself in the process. He didn’t do it, and besides, even if he did, she was
belligerent (which, since there’s no evidence of her trying to use physical force against the cop at any point, is cop-speak for
Please note that the explicit reason for this violent creep handcuffing her, slamming her up against the wall, and then beating the hell out of her was that
there are rules you have to follow (where
there are is cop-speak for
I make, and
you have to means
or else), which
rules absolutely require that you keep her in a tiny room no matter what, by any means necessary, and don’t set aside your paperwork for even a moment so that she can call somebody to let them know where she is. No matter how easy it would be for you to do so, and no matter how quickly that would de-escalate an extremely stressful situation.
Please also note that, because Wiley Willis is a cop and his victim, Angela Garbarino, is not, so far the only consequences that this violent sociopath — who had already been named in at least two unrelated brutality complaints in the past two years — is that he was given a paid vacation for three months, and then finally lost his job after an administrative hearing. But in the view of other Shreveport cops, Willis deserves this proverbial walk around the block because
After reviewing the evidence, we decided it was something that needed to be handled internally and that it was not enough to pursue criminal charges. Nowadays, thanks to the concerted struggle of our feminist foremothers to reform the police and courts’ handling of violence against women, if any man who didn’t sport a badge and a uniform had been alone in a closed room with a woman who ended up getting hurt so bad she needed to be hospitalized, with a video clearly showing him shoving her around, handcuffing her, slamming her against the wall, and then deliberately turning the tape off up until she ended up bruised and bleeding, that man would be in jail right now on charge of assault and battery. Even without such comprehensive evidence almost any court would long ago have issued a restraining order against the violent pig. I’ll bet that there are a lot of people in Shreveport who wish they could get one of those against Wiley Willis and the paramilitary force that employed him.
Meanwhile, the mainstream news media, while Very Disturbed, are still willing to call this videotaped brutality
a classic case of he-said / she-said, and the Fraternal Order of Pigs and Willis’s lawyer are trying to get him put back on the force.
In the YouTube comments thread, you can find the usual sado-fascist bully brigade of police enablers, one of whom summarizes the situation as follows:
She was very cooperative when the officer was polite to her and did not yell or demand anything…Yah right! Saying the word Miss and Mam didnt do any good. She decided to get drunk and stupid, not follow directions, would jerk away,and thought she was in charge. When she got arrested she needed to shut her cock-holster! The officer cant make her take the test. All he had to do was state she refused to take the test and be done with it. She got the best of him because now she will get paid.
she’s a woman. act like a lady or get treated like a man. she got much better treatment than a man would even after she kept disobeying
His conclusion (and I am quoting):
the b(((* was asking for it.
Back in Ohio, here’s how newspaper epistolator William McClelland, of Lake Township, responded to Bonnie Yagiela’s letter on the police’s beating and gang-rape of Hope Steffey, in which Yagiela stated that
I was disgusted and appalled but not surprised. The behavior they displayed is typical of humans placed in a position of power and authority over others. McClelland replies:
I wasn’t there, nor have I ever been to Abu Ghraib; therefore, I am not qualified to offer expert analysis as to the events that occurred at either. However, I do know that making generalizations about
humans placed in a position of power and authority over others is grossly unfair to the many who serve our nation.
… Maybe the handling of Ms. Steffey was not properly conducted; maybe it was. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I do know that Sheriff Swanson has requested outside assistance from the Ohio attorney general’s office in investigating the incident, and I am willing to await its findings before I make judgment.
Should the investigation prove that the deputies involved did abuse their authority, I will then consider them responsible individually. I will not hold every human being in a position of authority, or every deputy in the sheriff’s office, accountable for the actions of a few.
McClelland’s position on the particular case — which he fraudulently passes off as a critical suspension of judgment, when in fact it is nothing more than overt denialism toward obvious abuse captured on film — is objectionable enough by itself. But what’s even more foolish, and extremely dangerous in the long run, is the notion that a tightly-organized class of people, who exercise such a tremendous advantage over the rest of us in both physical force and legal power, ought to be given every benefit of the doubt when they’re accused of hurting people that they willingly chose to put under their legally-backed and heavily-armed power, and that the basic institutional structures which back up their power cannot be called into question without unfair
stereotyping. When every fucking week brings another story of a Few More Bad Apples causing Yet Another Isolated Incident, and the police department almost invariably doing everything in its power to conceal, excuse, or minimize the violence, even in defiance of the evidence of the senses and no matter how obviously harmless or helpless the victim may be, it defies reason to keep on claiming that there is no systemic problem here. What you have is one of two things: either a professionalized system of control which tacitly permits and encourages cops to exercise this kind of rampant, repeated, intense, and unrepentant abuse against powerless people, or else a system which has clearly demonstrated that it can do nothing effectual to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.