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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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56 Responses

  1. Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

    Hear, Hear.

    Right now the thing we need to do is repeal or prevent the various laws making it illegal to record the police.Report

  2. I still think that seeing the cop break free of the girl, stop, look at her, take stock of the situation, and then make the decision to haul off and clock a young girl in the face makes for even more startling viewing than even, perhaps, your average round of police brutality. Though, to be fair, there is footage of far worse incidents and watching this kind of activity is and should always be deeply offensive.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Is it fair to wonder if a white chick would have been punched in an otherwise identical situation?Report

  4. Avatar Scott says:

    I asked a friend of mine, who was a cop and is now a tax attorney, about this incident and he thought the cops action was justified. The woman interferes with his arrest, assists her friend in resisting arrest and assaults him him during the process. From what I read about the incident the cops had been told to do something about jaywalkers in that area. Hopefully that woman learned her lesson.Report

  5. As the resident police apologist here, I’d like to point out that both girls were assaulting a police officer prior to the punch, so my sympathy for them is pretty much zero. I agree that the punch looks to be a bit ‘pre-meditated’. What’s interesting is that I think at this point if he had pulled out a taser or some mace and fired away, I don’t know that this would be getting similar attention. For some reason we see a punch to the face as much more violent and extreme. An interesting feature of American culture.Report

  6. Avatar Carsten says:

    The question no one seems to be asking is what did the to be arrested woman do and why is she resisting arrest. If people would all behave in a civil way the officer could have made his arrest and been out of there.. Living in a part of DC where those situations are not uncommon I have to say that I can understand the cop and am extremely annoyed by those screaming and yelling bystanders.Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    Long story short; more information is better. Now if we could just get some photos and videos of the things that were done to “terrorists” in our name then we’d really be cooking.Report

  8. Avatar Sam M says:

    I am not a police apologist. At all. But I also wonder about this case. Keep in mind that it’s not just a cop and two girls. (Are they minors? Would he have known that? does it matter?) There are lots of people milling about. The cop has no idea who they are, who is with whom, etc. It’s his job to get the girl he is arresting under control, get her in the damn car, and get out of dodge. She will not comply. Making matters worse, the other girl intervenes. And she intervenes PHYSICALLY. Touching a cop who is arresting someone seems akin to touching a dog that’s eating. It’s a bad idea.

    Should the cop react better than a dog? Sure. But come on. There are dozens of people in front of him and behind him and the person he is arrestig is resisting and the girl she is with GRABS HIM.

    I hate to say this: But I think I would have punched her, too.

    Plenty of shocking video of police misconduct out there. Radley Balko does God’s work. But in this case… I just don’t think it measures up.

    You try going into a bad, potentially violent scene with dozens of people you don’t know. You try going in alone.

    She needed to stay out of his way.Report

  9. Avatar Ryan Davidson says:

    First impression: the cop is totally justified. Each of those girls can be charged with at least two if not three crimes: assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, and whatever it was he stopped them for in the first place. There were a bunch of people standing around, and if they hadn’t been so busy filming the incident for freaking YouTube, that situation could have gotten really nasty really quickly. The cop needed to end that situation as fast as possible and get the hell out of there. They got what was coming to them.

    Second: I really have to laugh at the “our own networks” idea in the OP. Seriously? “Our own networks?” Don’t you mean Verizon’s network? Or AT&T? Or whoever? The internet only seems distributed and wild. In reality, the infrastructure is concentrated on a tiny number of players–there are perhaps a dozen or two companies that actually matter–over which the public has almost no control but the government has plenty. Just today, the FCC voted to initiate proceedings to regulate broadband like they regulate the phone system.Report

  10. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Even if you think the officer deserves a medal and a week’s paid vacation, aren’t you glad the incident was recorded? On-the-spot video is the only thing that’s really moved the debate about police brutality forward at least since I’ve been alive.

    That said, I’ve certainly seen worse. Like a police officer shooting a prone, handcuffed man in the back. Or tasering a 70-year-old grandma. Or all the puppycides at Radley Balko’s site.

    The above strikes me as not much to champion for any side at all. But at least we can talk about it a bit more objectively.Report

    • Avatar Carsten says:

      @Jason Kuznicki, is it really objectively? you see part of a scene you don’t see the whole story. i have to say that i wish those people would not only film the police, but also criminals. but oddly enough these guys rarely do that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        @Carsten, we would have seen some chicks… JAYWALKING!!!!!!Report

      • Avatar Scott says:

        @Carsten,

        Of course you only film the police reacting, as how else are you going to get evidence for your police brutality lawsuit?Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          @Scott,

          Of course you film the police reacting, because if they’re doing their jobs properly, they have nothing to fear. Isn’t that how the reasoning runs when they employ it against us? Any video is better than purely my word versus yours.Report

          • Avatar Scott says:

            @Jason Kuznicki,

            No the cops still have the fear of being hauled into court by some plaintiff’s lawyer who plays the video for folks like Scott P. and E.D. who are ready to assume the cop was wrong.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @Scott, if you can’t find 1 person willing to hang a jury on whether the chickpuncher was just doing his job, the cops have failed society.Report

            • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

              @Scott,

              ACORN ‘Sting’ videos.Report

            • Avatar Scott says:

              @Jaybird,

              If two people like E.D. and Scott P. who are supposedly of above average intelligence are ready to assume the cop was being brutal, I can only guess at what people of lesser mental abilities would think.Report

            • Avatar Cascadian says:

              @Scott, This happened in Seattle. There will definitely be a price to pay. I’m assuming people less bright than E.D. and Scott would have a good chance of seeing things as you do.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @Scott, back when I was a kid, we had a society where folks in general would take the word of a cop every single time over the word of a kid. Every. Single. Time.

              What’s happened between then and now?

              I have my theories, of course…Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @Scott, I’d actually prefer if we, as a society, started issuing punishments such as the “punch to the face” for certain crimes.

          Jaywalking == Punch to the Face
          Ounce (or less) of Marijuana == Kick to the Butt
          Insensitive Reference to Race in Casual Conversation == Indian Burn

          Society would turn around pretty damn quick.Report

  11. Avatar Mopey Duns says:

    To be honest I am surprised this is being pointed out as an example of police brutality. Setting violent hands on a lone cop trying to make an arrest with a non-cooperative suspect? What do you think is going to happen?

    Obviously not the response we would like to see in a perfect world, but come on, people. There is no need to concern troll this one. This is a long way off from no-knock drug raids and extrajudicial police murders.

    She wasn’t getting punched for jaywalking, for Pete’s sake. It happened because she was interfering in an arrest and assaulting an officer.

    So yeah. Even though I think jaywalking laws are retarded, and the cop could have handled this better, I am with Mike on this one.Report

  12. Avatar Steven Donegal says:

    The incident happened at a very busy intersection in front of a high school. School administrators had asked police to enforce jaywalking laws because they were concerned about kids’ safety. Officer allowed situation to get out of hand. National news.

    Story from the Seattle Times with follow up to the incident. the headline puts it well “Peril, teen swagger collide…”

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012146689_pedestrian18m.htmlReport