Inappropriate Arrest

root - Posted on 12 August 2005

Another Black Man beat down by LAPD and caught on Tape!

by Laurence Ashton/PNN Youth in Media

A dim street light flickered on and off, a crumpled can of malt liquor rolled back and forth and then suddenly, out of nowhere, Los Angeles street in the heart of Skid Row was awash in a blinding spotlight "Hey what are you doing near that car?" a mechanical voice shook the asphalt in half

Last week I woke up with a start - there were pictures of a 36 year old black man named Stanley Miller with a bruised and bleeding face flashing on the TV news. In the foreground was a satelite videotaped clip of Mr. Miller being beat down by LAPD after he had been "caught" for grand theft auto in Los Angeles. I tried to go back to sleep, but all I could do is toss and turn unable to get the picture of my father's face 10 years ago, three years ago and last year after he met with several flashlights belonging to one or more Lapd officers. You see my father is a Black disabled vet who is homeless in LA, he and I still talk and every so often I convince him to get a room but his inner demons get the best of him and back he goes to the streets.

Stanley Miller was hit at least 10 times by at least one officer and who knows how many more times by the other seven officers present after he surrendered to officers after a car chase. My father was hit, punched, spit at and called every name you could think of by a collective total of 36 officers of the LAPD. And of course the only reason we even know about Mr. Miller is because his attack was caught on videotape ala Rodney King.

As a young black man, I have had my DWB (Driving While Black or Brown) and WWB (Walking While Black) run-ins as all Black and brown men have had but what folks don't know is these nazi's in uniform have been harassing and violently attacking homeless people of all colors for a long long time, and who knows, who will ever know, because TV news crews rarely document Skid Row except when they are supporting a "clean-up" effort by the Pigs or some other subjugator.

"We've worked too hard to build our relationship with the community to have it jeopardized by thoughtless actions of a few,"LA Mayor Jim Hahn was quoted as saying as he worked quickly on damage control for the LAPD.

Apparently, John Hatfield, 35, a seven-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, was the officer wielding the metal flashlight. Hatfield is among eight officers pulled from patrol duty and given paid administrative assignments in the wake of the beating.

The chief of the LAPD, William Bratton has said it appears police acted "inappropriately" in the arrest, and he also urged the public to withhold judgment until the investigation is complete. In other words until the lies and cover-up are manufactured. Bratton was hired in 2002 after so much corruption and civil rights abuses of citizens by the LAPD caused the LAPD to at least appear like they were doing something to change the status quo.

The most hilarious part of all of this is, the attack on Mr. Miller occurred just a week after the LAPD said it had successfully implemented reforms mandated by federal authorities after they identified a "pattern and practice" of civil rights violations by the LAPD.

The violent attack on Mr. Miller has spurned ongoing protests by civil rights activists in LA who have long accused the LAPD of discrimination and use of excessive force against people of color, "The thing that hasn't changed is the accountability level as far as police violence goes, and particularly the department's continued failure to weed out rogue cops," said former police commissioner Melanie Lomax.

I haven't heard from my dad for over a month. I hope he is ok. He probably isn't, but at least I hope he hasn't met with any flashlights lately.

Laurence Ashton is a member of the Youth in Media project at POOR Magazine. He is also a graduate of the Poverty Studies/Media Activism Institute at POOR .


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