News Item: “A video showing Seattle police officers stomping on a man’s head and body and using a racial epithet has prompted an internal investigation by authorities and disgust from the mayor.
One of the officers involved, a 15-year veteran, apologized at a Friday night news conference for his ‘hateful words.’
“The incident occurred as Seattle police were responding to an armed robbery call near a nightclub in Seattle’s Westlake neighborhood on April 17. Patrons had called police and described the suspects as Hispanic.
“The video – shot by a freelance videographer and aired Thursday by (Seattle TV station) KIRO – shows a group of officers surrounding two men lying on the ground.
At one point, an officer approaches one of the men and can be heard saying: “You got me? I’m going to beat the [expletive] Mexican [expletive] out of you homey. You feel me?”
Soon after, officers kick the man in the head, hand, and leg.
It turned out the man was not the robbery suspect, and the officers let him go.
Last week, the Boston City Council passed a resolution filed jointly by lead sponsor Councillor Felix Arroyo and Council President Michael Ross that calls for the divestment of Boston’s city funds from Arizona, the state that last month enacted a draconian anti-immigrant law that many says will lead to racial and ethnic profiling. To their credit, all 13 councillors voted unanimously in support, and Councillor Arroyo said that “Mayor Menino also voiced his strong support.”
“The Arizona law states that law enforcement in Arizona, after ‘lawful stop, detain, or arrest,’ can ask anyone that they have ‘reasonable suspicion’ of being in this country without proper documentation of proving that they have the right to be in this country,” Arroyo says. “If the individual cannot prove on the spot they have the right to be in this country, they will be detained until someone can come with the proper documentation.
“I argued, and the City Council agreed, that, as a City, we have long abandoned the idea that racial profiling is good public policy,” Arroyo says, “and that we should not invest our money in places where they believe otherwise.”
As a result of the vote, Arroyo has been targeted for criticism by some blatherers on talk radio in their wrongheaded belief that racial and ethnic stereotyping doesn’t exist, and standing up to the hateful acts of bigots is simple political grandstanding.
Indeed it would be wrong to suggest that Boston cops are guilty of such practices, and no one is saying the Seattle cop’s actions were any more than the acts of an overactive rush of adrenalin and testosterone. He did apologize, after all. But he most certainly did racially profile this good American citizen.
Good and honest people are entitled to their full measure of rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. It remains that too many people in their private lives continue to prejudge others based on skin color, accents, even choice of clothing or hairstyles.
Arizona lawmakers have approved a measure that moves their state closer to the dark side. If you approve, here’s a suggestion that you move there, but with this caveat: Be careful how you dress, or talk or look. You may end up on the wrong side of the law.
We salute Felix Arroyo, and Michael Ross and the others. When people stand up to intolerance and bigotry, it is always the right thing to do.
– Ed Forry