Sometimes words don’t come easily, esp. when anger and outrage work to change the dynamics of conscious thought and expression. Bear with me.
A few days back I ran across an article on Huff Post entitled ASU Professor Slammed To The Ground By Police, Gets Arrested For Assaulting An Officer (which linked to a local metro-Phoenix TV report of the incident). The story caught my eye because of the reference to ASU: Arizona State University (Tempe AZ), a place I happen to be quite familiar with. But I wasn’t prepared for the OUTRAGE I felt as I watched the embedded video, as I read the transcript of an encounter between an ASU Professor of English (who happens to be a black woman) and an ASU PD patrolman (a youngish white cop with an obvious attitude). The Professor was ‘jaywalking’ across College Avenue, a campus street, to avoid, she said, the sidewalk which was “all obstructed.” The cop drove up to her, stopped, then said, “Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID.” And everything rapidly went downhill from there — fast, and with a brutality that resulted in a passerby calling 911 to report that an officer was getting “way too aggressive” with a woman on the street.
Following a verbal ‘scuffle’, the cop grabbed her and body-slammed her onto the street. At some point the officer claimed she kicked him in the shin, so she was therefore “charged with aggravated assault on a police officer in addition to criminal damage and obstructing a thoroughfare.” According to the local link,
Ore’s attorney, Alane Roby, says Ore is claiming self-defense.
“She was exposed, told officer she was exposed,” Roby said of her client while she was on the ground. “Her dress was up; the officer was reaching toward her anatomy. She felt uncomfortable with hands going there.”
Most of the event was captured on audio/video by the police car’s dash cam. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an encounter between police and pedestrian that is so intensely vicious, such a TRAVESTY, as this one. The hate in the cop’s voice and his demeanor suggests racism as his primary (if not sole) motivating factor. One could easily wonder if the film wasn’t instead shot in Alabama fifty or more years ago.
Fifty years ago — in December 1964 — I completed work on my BS degree at Arizona State University. Those were the days of intense racial hatred in the deep south, but not in Arizona, and esp. not on the ASU campus. I guess times have changed.
And yes, I am outraged.