I couldn't believe it when I saw this, but it shouldn't surprise me that the NYPD beat people outside a peaceful album release party for Monumental, an album I just wrote about in a previous blog entry. Take a look at this video and you be the judge.
I typically don't do breaking news posts, but this is something that everyone needs to know about. This happens all of the time, all over the country. Police use their power to intimidate, beat, murder, shoot, paralyze and scar people for the rest of their lives, but it doesn't only affect the person being assaulted or killed. It affects the family, the community and in turn the whole system. When this happens for decades, it has a lasting affect. So, it is not just a simple misunderstanding of circumstances. When I was 11 years old, my cousin was killed by a police officer. It changed my life because before that, I had no reason to think anything like that would happen. I didn't see anything like that in my life until it was my cousin. Then, Rodney King, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant and I learned more and more about police brutality happening for generations. It keeps on happening and unless you feel the fire within the beast directed at you, you will not understand what it's like. I moved across the country to avoid having a car for several reasons. Being pulled over by the police is a major one. You can't move and you have to do everything perfect because if you give the wrong police officer one reason to mess with you, they will take it in a heartbeat.
I live in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Since I moved to Brooklyn, I have seen three incidents with the police getting physical/violent with what seemed to be a relatively peaceful situation. Whenever the police arrest someone in Bed-Stuy, you will see a number of people grab their phones, cameras and start taping it. It's all you can do and if you watch the Monumental release party footage, you see that the NYPD has found ways to counteract that. They point their flashlights at the cameras to toy with the exposure, ruining potential photographs. Luckily, most cameras do stills and video. So, if you see something like this, make sure to take video. Still photos are pointless because they will not give context to the situation.
It's unfortunate that people's lives become the face of police brutality. There will unquestionably be another case soon and it's unfortunate. I mean no disrespect by putting Sean Bell's face, or any other victim of police brutality up in this article, but I do it to show that these are real people that don't deserve to be mistreated, intimidated and pressured by the very agency that is supposed to protect them. My worst fear is that I'm walking with my headphones on and the police try to stop me for some reason. Walking through Bed-Stuy, that's what I think about, not if someone will mug me or not. I'm an architect, an artist and a designer, but when I walk around Bed-Stuy, I'm just another black guy in jeans and a fitted hat. It could happen to me and it could happen to you if you fit the description. One last thing about fitting the description. My brother was also pulled out of a car and had a shotgun put to his back because he fit the description of suspects of a reported burglary. It can happen at any time of the day and you have one choice. Fight or flight. People will get beat to death once they're on the ground. So, it's completely understandable not wanting that to happen. Protecting your face while you're on the ground getting kicked in the face can and will be resisting arrest. Hardly sounds fair to me.
I'm sure to some, this will make me radical. But, I am against people using available power against people that have no rights to defend themselves. I could post videos forever to show how many times this has happened, but the documented cases of police brutality only nibbles at the toes of an unreported giant in the corner. Governor, Chris Christie was be forced to resign for using a state helicopter to fly to his son's baseball game, but it is minuscule in the overall scope of life. The police officer that shot my cousin, Dan May from the Minneapolis Police Department, not only did not get fired, prosecuted or punished for shooting an unarmed man through the back of his headwith a shotgun. He was promoted and he has moved his way up the ranks in the police department. He even received a medal of honor. You better believe I will never forget that man's name.