Someone’s engaging in a darkly satirical protest of police misconduct here in Minnesota’s Twin Cities:
The signs are referencing — well, they’re referencing too many things. Most recently, of course, they’re referring to the police shooting of Justine Damond, the unarmed Australian woman killed by Minneapolis police after she called 911 to report a suspected crime in her neighborhood.
Just a couple weeks before that, there was the Minneapolis cop who shot two friendly dogs in their own backyard, seriously injuring the family pets who are also doctor-prescribed emotional support animals.
And, of course, it’s about the death of Philando Castile, the black motorist and beloved elementary school cafeteria manager who was killed by a jumpy police officer during a routine traffic stop while his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter watched in horror.
The really tragic thing, though, is that the same signs would be an equally effective protest in so many cities around the country. The problem of “easily startled” police isn’t unique to the Twin Cities. Police misconduct in America is a systemic problem, and too many officers escalate situations they should be trained to de-escalate.
Last week, for instance, I wrote about an incident in Perris, California, where a cop was caught on camera violently tackling a 52-year-old woman, grabbing her arms and pulling her hair — all for the “crime” of selling flowers without a permit.
This week, in Lockport, New York, a woman was hospitalized with a concussion, bruising on her limbs, and a battered face because a sheriff’s deputy threw her face-first onto the ground after she refused a field sobriety test.
Meanwhile, a story from Sacramento reveals a mentally-ill man is in critical condition, being treated for severe burns after police pinned him to the pavement, forcibly stretching his body across asphalt measuring around 170 degrees Fahrenheit, after he had a schizophrenic episode in a restaurant. A month later, he is still in intensive care with second- and third-degree burns. The skin was entirely destroyed on one cheek of his face.
“Easily startled,” indeed.