FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Arrested for being Black on a Wednesday Night
Here we go again. Via the Denver Post, here comes video out of Colorado Springs of a stop between police and two black men. It appears not to be in controversy at this point that ultimately, the police pulled these two individuals over for a cracked windshield. You watch yourself and see if you can justify why it had to be that, for demanding to know why they were pulled over, these two men were pulled out of the car at taser-point, handcuffed, forced face down into the snow, and ultimately placed in the backseat of a cruiser. Again, over a cracked windshield.
Obviously, we don’t see what transpired during the pull over but it certainly seems like both from the attitude and demeanor of the people who were arrested that they were not belligerent or threatening in any way to the police. The person who is taking the video takes great pains to keep his hands visible at all times and to make no threatening moves or gestures at any time. All he does is demand to know – politely, I might add – why they have been pulled over. Which is exactly his right to do.
It seems clear that really what chaps the backsides of these officers is that this guy had the temerity to exercise his constitutional right to videotape the police and to demand to know the charges against him. When he is told to get out of the car, he properly asks, “Am I under arrest?” which any competent attorney will tell you to do because if the cops say no then they are just offering suggestions and do not have the right to physically detain you in a place and you can leave (and if they say “yes” and they do not have probable cause for the arrest, you can sue them later and your right to demand an attorney attaches). He is told by the female cop on the scene “No” in response to this question so in keeping with that he does not have to get out of the car. However, moments later he is physically dragged from the car and his face is shoved into the snow and the camera is grabbed from his hand and turned off.
I cannot imagine a more clear cut case of the cops punishing someone for exercising their constitutional rights.
And I likewise cannot imagine two white people being treated like this by cops after being pulled over for a cracked windshield.