A video captured in June last year of two white male police officers using unnecessary force against an African-American female, Breaion King, a primary school teacher was released earlier this week.
Breaion King, 26, was reportedly speeding on a street in Austin, Texas, when she passed police officer Bryan Richter, who was seated in his patrol car using his radar gun. The police car’s dash cam showed the officer pursue the woman for less than a minute before she pulls over at Wendy’s parking lot. King then got out of her car and walked towards the restaurant when she was stopped by Richter, who instructed her to get back into the car. He then walked toward her and repeated himself.
King then returned to her vehicle but allegedly did not close the door. The officer reported that he had asked King for her driver’s license when she wondered whether she was liable to get a ticket if the car was already parked. The officer claimed that King was “uncooperative” and was uncomfortable with the fact that her feet were out of the car.
After the officer instructed her to put her feet back in the vehicle, King allegedly asked him to “hurry up” and he responded by telling her to stand up. The police officer claimed he attempted to grab her left arm when she pulled away and reached for the front passenger side. The officer argued that she might have been reaching for a weapon and tried to make King get out of the car.
In response, King told the officer she was getting out and that he should not touch her. The police claimed King had raised her fist at him as if she intended to punch him. It was at this moment when Richter forcefully removed King from the car, threw her to the ground and tried to put her in handcuffs. King reportedly resisted and stood up at a point when she was tackled down to the ground once more, successfully placed in handcuffs and put into the police car.
The dash cam in the car recorded the conversation on racism that occurred on the way to the station. King is heard asking the police officers if they still believed in racism. The officers said they did, and the conversation carried on until one of the officers wondered why black people were so feared. When King said she also wanted to know, the officer saw fit to answer his question saying that blacks had violent tendencies and that 99% of the time such violence comes from the black community.
On Thursday, the Police Chief Acevedo read a statement from the Austin Police Association saying that the officers’ comments were wrong and did not reflect the views of other Austin police officers.
Reports say the reason why the footage is only being released now is that King never filed a complaint. One of King’s attorney’s, Erica Griggs, stated that her client was scared and ashamed of the events, which is why it took a while for her to muster up the courage to come forth. Furthermore, Chief Acevedo stated he had questions as to why he never heard of the incident until recently.
The officers of the incident are reportedly under investigation but are still actively working at ‘desk jobs’. Not only does this event resonate with racial profiling, but it is also an example of violence against women. Seeing that King is a female, the male officer should not have treated her with such aggression.
War between police and African-Americans
This incident is just one among the array that has occurred over the years, during this same month even, of police’s use of unnecessary force when dealing with African-American citizens. The more recent cases that took place earlier in July saw police officers killing a man outside a supermarket in Baton Rouge, and another of a man shot dead at a traffic light in Minnesota. Both incidents involved the uncalled for the murder of African-American males by white police officers.
The events sparked growing number of protests calling for African-Americans to unite against police violence. At one of these protests, a man named Micah Johnson decided to take matters into his hands and shot dead five white officers who were securing the protest. The shooting sparked a national uproar among officials, who failed to address the cause of such an act. There has been subsequent protests and conflict between police officers and the African-American community in different areas of the country, such as Baton Rouge.
— Dayton Daily News (@daytondailynews) July 22, 2016
The conflict has sparked several Black Power groups in particular areas to exercise their legal right to arm themselves in protection against police. In an article BBC published earlier this month, the network referred to such congregations as ‘black separatist’ and ‘hate groups’ who are “rooted in racism and anti-Semitism”.
The media do not seem to be helping the cause when they use such language that paints a picture of violent black people grouping together in the name of anarchy, teaching hate. On the contrary, such movements and unity among the Black community are aimed at emphasizing a sense of pride in being Black and the refusal to be victimized by the institutionalized white supremacy that oppresses them on a daily basis.
If a system advocates and practices violence against a particular social group who responds by defending themselves, how is this said social group then perceived as the root problem? As Newton’s Third Law of Physics states: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.