Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stereotyping by Law Enforcement

Well I am back, Ive been away for nearly a week, absorbed in a board from the Huffington Post, that had an article posted of a cop whom hit a special needs woman on a bus, a veteran returning form Iraq, saw this occur, felt it was abusive on the cops behalf and video recorded the incident and it, in which it was broadcast nationally.

I couldn't help but comment and post my views, being a mentally ill individual I could relate to how this must have felt for her. As I have been in a predicament myself a time or two in which I was indeed restrained if not by law enforcement but security from various facilities in which I had been admitted too.

There was many in support of my views, I had felt what the officer did was nothing short of abuse to that woman as the video clearly shows a woman officer to be holding her left arm behind her back and the man officer in front holding her other hand down as he proceeded to viciously raise his arm and with his elbow hit her in the side of her face very hard. This is a mixed martial arts move that has every bit of potential of being a fatal move.

It is reported also that she had four prior convictions of assault with one to include against an officer. However in my experience I have indeed known officers to "create" such charges, out of 1) being angry 2)provocation, and 3) to give a bad record to a mentally ill person wrongfully. It will then incrue as the mentally ill person leaves the facility and a record, like a credit report, will follow a mentally ill person everywhere, so hence the next time a law enforcement officer has to tend to that mentally ill individual they not only approach the mentally ill person in a cautious manner but a forceful one as well, I attempted to make this clear, however, any law enforcement posting to this particular comment board, did nothing more than side with this officer.

The report, which was relatively limited in information, stated that the lady boarded the bus with a stroller full of pillows, she apparently became symptomatic, in which no one states whether this was provoke by another passenger, and law enforcement didn't specify whether that alone was looked into or not, but it appeared as though none of that mattered, however, went on to state that one of the passengers dialed 911 and proceeded to exclaim that she was yelling, and attempting to hit another passenger described to be a senior citizen. The police followed the bus to the next bus stop, boarded the bus, and that is the point in which the veteran from Iraq proceeded to video record with his cell phone, the officers boarded, as the video shows, one man, one woman officer, the female officer behind the mentally ill woman has ahold of her left arm, the male officer has ahold of her other arm, and he lifts his right elbow up and comes very forcefully across her face hitting her with his elbow. She was taken down into a seat and restrained again and other officers board the bus and she is removed from the bus. The recording stops. The officer saw the vet video recording going on and after the vet gets off the bus, the male officer approaches him, demanding the phone threatening the vet he too would be arrested if he did not hand over the cell phone. He removed the smart card chip from the phone and handed it over.

Being a part of Human Rights Committees for our local area as well as Crisis Intervention Team programs, I found this to be a serious, serious, violation of her rights. To include being abused by the officers.

Let me explain why.

1) The officers approached her due to a past record that does not necessarily reflect her behavior at that point in time.

2) The officers neglected to get to the root of the problem, not necessarily meaning her.

3)The female officer was attempting to detain her in a civil manner, as the male officer used a potentially fatal mixed martial arts, elbow manuever. Potentially injuring other passengers.

4) The officer very well knew she was mentally ill prior to showing up and boarding the bus.

5) The officers likely knew she likely wouldn't realize or understand her miranda rights and that is assuming they were even explained to her.

6) "Almost" hitting a senior citizen is not the same thing as "hitting' a senior citizen, whe was not in the act of hitting anyone.

7) Yelling is not an offense worthy of an elbow to the face.

I spent 4 or 5 days on this Huffington Board, explaining all of this, the majority of posters commenting did indeed agree this was highly abusive to a mentally ill person. Yet there were officers indeed fighting and proclaiming that what this officer did was right.

Above all, this showed me there is so very much work left to be done, in both the educational and psychological departments concerning police and the tactics used to approach and handle mentally ill individuals in episode.
They seem to believe using prior record speaks for what a mentally ill individual is experiencing at future points in time, and it doesn't work that way. They also tend to believe that just because it is on that record that it is above all truthful, just because it was a charge coming from another officer, when I know better I have seen the tactics used by law enforcement to purposefully build a record on a mentally ill individual so as to control them within a facility as well as outside one in society. Building a record on a mentally ill person is a very controlling and wrongful thing to do. But it does indeed happen and so much more common that anyone is willing to admit.

I did manage to control the board, there wasn't one individual cop or otherwise that could contest my input or even give me good challenging things to think about that may have changed my mind in what that officer did that was wrong and abusive to that mentally ill woman. If a cop refused to believe admit they are doing wrong, then they will always get the same results and nothing is fixed. I don't understand why these things are allowed to continue, nor do I understand the mentality behind it but I do however know that it is a huge problem and it only adds to the public fear mongering behind the mentally ill, a strong unnecessary stereotypical force meant to keep the mentally ill beneath their thumbs. These communities need C.I.T programs and they need to see that mentally ill people are human, not animals to be beat on, ignored and thrown away forever. These are peoples mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons.
This woman was attempting to walk past the officer and get off the bus as instructed to do so by him, she was stopped for no reason, restrained and elbowed to the face...why on earth was any of that necessary?

These officers need to change if they want better results with the mentally ill. Otherwise I am forced to believe they simply enjoy abusing them, just because they can.

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