How Many San Francisco Cops Does It Take To Subdue One Black Guy With A Prosthetic Leg? 14: Four To Assault Him, 10 To Block the View
Another video, another assault on a black body - in this case, one-legged - in what's become the "quotidian...mundane...everyday harassment" that is policing in America. Journalist Chaédria LaBouvie caught the spectacle of a pack of cops taking down an evidently homeless man in an affluent stretch of tech companies after someone reported he was waving around "sticks," aka his crutches. The video of the August 4 incident - in an increasingly unaffordable city trying to criminalize the homeless with a series of laws that, for example, forbid them from sleeping or sitting in public - begins as police set upon the still-unidentified man, pinning him to the ground and stomping on his good leg even as the prosthetic leg begins to twist off. As he struggles and pleads, "Please, please, get off me - this hurts," his pants get pulled down; police don't bother to pull them back up until near the end of the video.
As LaBouvie films, another ten cops gradually stream to the scene, taking their burly positions in a ring around the assault to block the view of an appalled public that pays them to serve and protect. One response to the video she eventually posted: "They sure served and protected the hell outta that guy." LaBouvie herself repeatedly harangues the cops and their overreaction with, "This is bad policing." She later writes, "In the book Between The World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, 'In America, it is traditional to destroy the Black body - it is heritage.'" She notes this happened "in the heart of one of America’s most affluent cities," near tech companies worth billions of dollars but where nobody came out to look or wonder "how to use the powers of innovation, access and capital to change (this country's) narrative of police brutality... If you must believe that this video and the flood of others like it are exceptional instances of isolated brutality, then let us too believe that the stomping of vulnerable Black bodies and Black (prosthetic) limbs with pulverizing intent are what one means when they say, American exceptionalism." Warning: Video is disturbing.