Governments at all levels continue to pass legislation that in some fashion is designed to help those who are disabled. But sometimes it seems that public servants such as the police do not share the legislators’ intent on showing compassion for folks who are emotionally or physically challenged. While government spends millions to help those with special needs move around with special wheelchair accessible vans, wheelchair lifts on buses and trains, wheel chair accessible bathrooms and more, public servants are frequently caught on camera doing unspeakable things to the disabled. Examples are plentiful, such as the TSA strip searching the elderly in wheelchairs, police abusing Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are disabled, use of tasers and pepper spray without provocation and hassling mentally and physically challenged folks in general.
A prime example of this perceived mind-set of authority figures occurred on January 12 in Los Angeles. Two Los Angeles County deputies were filmed as they punched a woman in a wheelchair who witnesses say clearly had “special needs.” The punch, filmed by witnesses, was in response to the woman saying to one of the officers that he was a “big shot.”
According to fellow passengers, one stop after the victim (whose name has not been disclosed) boarded the bus, two LA county deputies came on board. The witnesses are Jermaine Green and his fiancé, Violet Roberts.
Green says that as soon as the officers boarded the bus they saw the woman and ordered her off the bus. She refused. Becoming agitated, she began to yell and curse at the officers who tried to force her off the bus. This is when she became angry and called the male deputy a big shot. Despite being aware that Green was videotaping the incident, the male officer struck the wheel chair-confined woman in the head.
Green, who recently returned from a military tour of duty in Afghanistan, says that the male and female deputies approached him and demanded that he give them his cell phone on which he recorded the incident. They threatened him with arrest if he did not turn it over. He refused and gave the tape to news broadcasters. He was not arrested.
Later on, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriffs’ Office claimed that before boarding the bus, the woman was alleged to have nearly attacked an older gentleman. They gave no further specifics. Roberts noted that the officers apparently knew the woman, as they called her by name as soon as they boarded the bus. Roberts said she was shocked by the altercation, that the deputies appeared as if they simply just did not want to deal with the woman and that she (Roberts) was “shocked at how quickly they resorted to violence.”
The police spokesman said the woman has been arrested previously for assaults including assaulting a police officer. He did not comment on whether charges were ever filed or if she was ever convicted.
While the vast majority of police officers take their oath to protect and serve with seriousness and treat folks with respect, there appears to be a minority of officers who think differently. Newscast images show how excessive force can be used without cause. The recent pepper spraying and beatings of Occupy Wall Street protesters who offered no violence or physical threat is prima fasciae evidence that a few public servants are ruining the reputation of many.
Why is it they do not understand that there duty is to protect and serve everyone? Those with special needs and protesters included. How smart are these folks who practice violence when they know they will be caught on tape?
Civic leaders must denounce their actions and fire those responsible for unnecessary use of force against the helpless and the innocent.