Have you ever thought to yourself, “I would love for some cop to ‘beat the f*cking Mexican piss’ out of me”? It strikes me as unlikely that you have! The same can be said for an unnamed Latino who was kicked in the head by a Seattle cop on April 17th after being wrongly detained in connection with a robbery. The video below, shot by a freelance journalist, shows one of America’s Heroes kicking the man in the head after he appears to wipe his eye, while another cop stomps on the victim’s leg.
The cop who did the face kicking also unrealistically promises, “I’ll beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you, homey! You feel me?”
Welcome to the melting pot!
The video doesn’t show the cops offering him any medical attention afterward, but the dude seemed to handle himself pretty well. It’s almost like he’s used to this kind of treatment. Heh.
As Kai Wright of RaceWire writes:
The officer’s obnoxious language can easily overshadow a deeper concern the video betrays: a casual and capricious use of police violence when confronting “gang” suspects. The fact that the offending officers are from a special gang unit is significant; the presumably elite special forces that federal dollars have supported in police departments around the country have long been criticized as acting with too little oversight, as they militarize communities of color. [emphasis added.]
That’s undeniably true, but not just concerning gangs. Last week I wrote about a cop who tasered a fan who ran onto the baseball field, and the overwhelming response of those who defended the cop’s behavior claimed that it would serve as a deterrent to future field-running jackasses, or that the field-running jackass in question had it coming. What those defenses ignore is that encouraging the PoPo to use excessive force ensure that the PoPo (or anybody else given similar permission) will abuse their power — tasers just make that abuse easier.
This event is also obviously significant as it relates to the Arizona’s comically evil immigration law. Though comparing Mexicans to grasshoppers — as one Texas Republican did — isn’t the same as kicking some guy and threatening to “beat the fucking Mexican piss out of him,” those two acts fall on the same spectrum of intolerance. That is to say, neither act is possible without xenophobia lurking in the darkness.
And, just to head this off at the pass, I understand that the officer who kicked the dude didn’t actually beat him to death or something like that. As far excessive force goes, it’s far from the worst we’ve all seen from the cops. But if that’s your argument, well, let’s apply it across the board and lightly pistol-whip Grandma if she’s suspected of rolling through a stop sign, and then not really make a big stink about it after she’s exonerated. Just chalk it up to the cost of doing business.
The officer issued an apology, and you can decide for yourself whether or not you find it believable or sufficient for his actions.
One last thing worth noting. The Seattle Police Department new about the incident almost immediately, but only reassigned him after the footage was leaked.
When asked, assistant interim chief Nicholas Metz said brass at SPD knew about the transgression shortly after the incident, and they began an investigation with the Office of Professional Accountability within one or two days. However, police administrators did not place Cobane on “administrative reassignment” until today—one day after footage of the incident aired on KIRO television.
Keep your cell phone cameras handy folks.