Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police Brutality Must Not Be Tolerated under Any Circumstances

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police Brutality Must Not Be Tolerated under Any Circumstances

Article excerpt

IT SEEMS THE MORE things change, the more they stay the same.

Five years ago Americans viewed the atrocious beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles by police officers who, many agreed, clearly overstepped their authority.

In January, a state trooper in Columbia, S.C., cursed and threatened to cut the clothes off a woman he had stopped for speeding. The trooper approached the car with his gun drawn and tried to drag her out while her seat belt was on. He later pulled her out of her car, pushed her face down on the pavement and handcuffed her. Now, two Riverside County, Calif., sheriff's deputies are being investigated for clubbing two illegal Mexican immigrants after chasing a pickup crammed with people suspected of sneaking over the border. In that incident, one deputy, holding his baton two-handed like a baseball bat, clubbed a man on the back and shoulders, even as the man fell face down on the ground. When a woman got out of the cab, the same deputy beat her in the back with the baton and then grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to the ground. At least one other deputy struck her with his baton. In each case, the abuse by police was videotaped. But how many other people across the country have been abused - without the luxury of a video camera nearby - at the hands of police. For the record, I think most cops are not like the ones mentioned above. Most of them are hard-working folks trying to do tough jobs that seem to get tougher every day. But there also seems to be a significant minority who appear to get some perverse pleasure out of intimidating the least powerful in our society, including blacks, women and Mexican illegals. When was the last time you saw a story about a business executive beaten by a police officers? In all three cases that I've mentioned, a crime took place. In King's case, he led police on a high-speed chase. The woman from South Carolina was traveling 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. And the illegal immigrants also led police on a high-speed chase. None of these actions entitled police to beat or abuse the suspects. It's the job of the police to make the arrests; it's the job of the courts to mete out the punishment. …

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