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Police Brutality: Dangers of Being an American

Updated on May 9, 2012
Man tasered and beaten by Cops without warning
Man tasered and beaten by Cops without warning

With great power comes great responsibility

Police brutality is defined as intentional use of excessive force, meaning physical force in most cases. It can also mean verbal attacks against an individual. It is the civil rights violation of that occurs when officers act with irrational force against civilians. While not subject to a precise definition, it is generally considered beyond necessary force to subdue an individual under special circumstances.

The stories and videos you are about to see depict police brutality in its potent form. Brought to light by eye witnesses and technological advances over the decades. This kind of violence has been present long before these incidents took place. It's a glimmer of hope in a losing battle between civilians and what some call Police State.

The story of Oscar Grant

Oscar Grant was shot to death by BART officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California. This incident happened in the early morning hours of New Year's Day in 2009. It all started when police were called in response to a fight on a crowded transit train (Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) that was coming to Oakland from San Francisco. Oscar Grant and other passengers were detained at the Fruitvale BART Station. Oscar was being restrained by two officers, one of them Johannes Mehserle. According to witnesses, officer Mehserle stood and said "Get back, I'm gonna tase him."

After threatening to taser Oscar Grant, Johannes Mehserle pulled his gun out and shot him in the back once. Afterwards Grant said "you shot me!" Oscar Grant was unarmed when the shooting took place. The Highland Hospital in Oakland is where he would draw his last breathe. He died the next morning from his injuries.

Charges against Johannes Mehserle were second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter. He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and not guilty of voluntary manslaughter and second degree murder. He was sentenced to 2 years minus time served. He walked out the courtroom a free man.

Police shoot unarmed 54 year old woman to death for rolling up her car window

According to the officer on the scene. he shot the unarmed woman because she rolled her window up, trapping his arm in it. She began to drive and drag him alongside the car. That's when he drew his weapon and opened fire on the 54 year old Patricia Cook in the Epiphany Catholic School parking lot in Culpepper, Virginia. According to an eye witness, it didn't happen that way. The witness says the officer shot Patricia before she began driving away.

Kris Buchele says he witnessed the incident as it was happening. According to his testimony, the officer was standing next to Patricia Cook's Jeep Wrangler. He had one hand on the door handle of the jeep and the other hand on his weapon. The officer said "stop or I'll shoot" as the woman rolled her window up halfway. When the window was rolled all the way up, the officer opened fire on her. She then drove off and made a left out of the parking lot and he stepped out into the street, firing five more shots.

54 year old Patricia Cook
54 year old Patricia Cook

Cell Phone footage of Kelly Thomas incident

Fullerton Transportation Center Surveillance Video of Kelly Thomas Beating

Kelly Thomas
Kelly Thomas
Kelly Thomas after police brutality
Kelly Thomas after police brutality

Murder of mentally ill homeless man Kelly Thomas

Police brutality at its worst. The two videos above clearly show officers severely beating a mentally ill Kelly Thomas as he screams for help. There were 6 officers on the scene when this tragedy happened. Two officers stand trial for Kelly Thomas murder.

Kelly Thomas was a homeless Schizophrenic man living on the Fullerton, California streets. After the beating he suffered at the hands of police officers, he was taken to Jude Medical Center. Afterwards he was transferred to UC Irvine Medical Center. On arrival to the UC Irvine Medical Center he was in a coma and chances of recovery were believed to be unlikely. Kelly Thomas had broken bones in his face and choked on his own blood, according to medical records. Compression of his thorax kept him from breathing normally and prevented oxygen from going into his brain.

Five days while in the hospital, his parents had the pain of removing him from life support. He died from his injuries July 10, 2011. Officer Manuel Ramos is charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and second degree murder. Corporal Jay Cicinelli is charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force. The incident happened about 8:30 pm when officers responded to a report of someone vandalizing cars close to the Fullerton Transportation Center. Thomas was shirtless and uncooperative with officers.

Thomas resisted arrest when officers tried to search him. They proceeded to taser him repeatedly, beat him with their tasers and flashlights, and slammed him on the ground. In the video Kelly Thomas can be heard screaming "Dad! Dad!" Six officers were subduing Kelly, who was unarmed at the time and has a history of mental illness. In my opinion, every officer that assaulted this man should be charged with second degree murder, not involuntary manslaughter. This is police brutality brought to light because of technology.


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