14 Cops Heroically Tackle, Abuse One-Legged Homeless Black Man, Fist-Bump To Celebrate

We don’t have a problem with police brutality in America. We have an epidemic. On Monday, Chaédria LaBouvier published her account of yet another abuse of a black man in America at the hands of those who are supposed to “serve and protect.” The man was thrown on the ground and intentionally placed in an extraordinary amount of pain — all because he was allegedly “waving sticks around.”

LaBouvier says the incident was recorded on August 4 as she was visiting Medium’s head office to discuss a project. Running late for her meeting, LaBouvier noticed something disturbing as she walked by Twitter’s headquarters:

“Though the takedown didn’t occur directly outside of the Twitter building on 9th Street, I began to see outlines of the incident unfold from there; a limping Black figure, wearing black, increasingly cornered by a wall of blue,” she writes. “By the time I had crossed 8th Street, I was pulling out my phone as fast as I could.”

According to witnesses, San Francisco police were called because the black man — who is homeless, and has only one leg — was allegedly waving sticks around. The sticks, it turned out, were his makeshift crutches. Police forced the unnamed homeless man to the ground for more than an hour according to LaBouvier. Much of that time, the man’s pants had fallen down as police abused him:

“The sticks? They were his crutches. You can hear people in the background around say so much. From my vantage point on the shore of 8th Street, I could see the man reluctantly hand over his crutches. The man, it turned out, only had one leg; the other was a prosthetic. It is often twisted and backwards in the video. And this was the crux of the heightened tension between the police and Joe Bland; they wanted his crutches and he did not want to give them away. “What are you doing this for?” he asked so many times. “These are my crutches. I use these to walk.” He repeats this throughout the footage. An officer can be seen at the 5 second time-mark stomping on the man’s prosthetic leg. In further efforts to subdue a man already on the ground with four people on top of him, they stood on his leg, held it, and twisted it around even after they had cuffed him and pinned him to the piss-stained concrete.”

A pool of blood can be seen pooling on the concrete at the outside of the man’s mouth. At one point, 14 police officers join in the “fun,” even fist-bumping to celebrate this takedown of a man who clearly can not walk without assistance:

via YouTube

As LaBouvier was recording, police attempted to block her view of the incident numerous times, but she managed to capture some horrible footage of the attack, which left the man wondering,  “What the fuck is you doing this to me?” In her piece on Medium, LaBouvier dismisses the inevitable claims that this is an isolated instance of police brutality (the ones that accompany each and every daily instance of police brutality).

“In the book Between The World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, ‘In America, it is traditional to destroy the Black body — it is heritage.’ This is a literal and physical example of what he means by this,” LaBouvier writes. “To say that this footage is exceptional or special is to be blind to Eric Garner’s death tape, to Walter Scott’s murder on video, it is to agree that John Crawford did not have the right to walk around Walmart with a toy gun in an open carry state. Yes, it’s racial profiling. Yes, it’s racism. Yes, it’s inequality. This is an American heritage.”

She continues:

Before you think that this is not San Francisco’s heritage, it is better to wonder why Black people, 7% of San Francisco’s population, are 7 times more likely to be arrested than White people. If you must believe that this video and the flood of others like it are exceptional instances of isolated brutality, then let us too believe that the stomping of vulnerable Black bodies and Black (prosthetic) limbs with pulverizing intent are what one means when they say, American exceptionalism.

This incident does not look good for the San Francisco police, as earlier this year, numerous officers were busted exchanging homophobic and racist text messages. While San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr has moved to fire the officers who were caught, the texts, which referred to African-Americans as “monkeys” and encouraged the killing of “half-breeds,” the department has a habit of conveniently missing deadlines to allow officers to escape punishment:

Attorneys representing the officers almost immediately questioned whether police officials missed the legal deadline for disciplinary action. It was this same legal deadline that allowed Sgt. Ian Furminger and Capt. Jason Fox, the highest-ranking officer involved in the texting scandal, to escape discipline in a 2004 incident in which they allegedly shoved a man’s head against a urine-soaked wall while making antigay remarks.

While Suhr previously said he hoped to discipline the officers as soon as possible and move forward, he said Monday, “We’re comfortable with this being at the Superior Court.

Ultimately, some of the officers who were caught spreading hate resigned, but how many more are there? How pervasive is the idea that United States citizens are beneath law enforcement? How widely accepted is the belief that it is both professional and acceptable to attack a homeless man wielding only crutches?

The homeless man was not charged with a crime. Instead, he was taken to the hospital to be treated for the injuries inflicted upon him by those whose very job is to keep him and everyone else safe. We don’t know the man’s name, but we do know one thing: It is unlikely that any of the fourteen officers who participated in this attack will actually face discipline.

Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info



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