Latest Incidents Show Police Brutality Persists Despite Elevated Awareness
'This is clearly excessive force,' public defender says of police beating in San Francisco
Separate incidents in two U.S. cities over recent days reveal that tensions remain elevated over police brutality and use of excessive force in the United States.
Captured last week on tape, the beating of a man in San Francisco has been likened to the infamous assault on Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the video shows two still-unidentified Alameda County sheriff's deputies knocking 29-year-old Stanislav Petrov to the ground before "punching him and clubbing him with their batons, even after he appeared to surrender with his hands on his head."
"The surveillance video footage is disgusting and reminds me of Rodney King," Alameda County Public Defender Brandon Woods said in a statement. "Those deputies viciously attacked a man who appeared to be surrendering. They beat him with their batons even though he was not resisting. This is clearly excessive force."
Woods told KQED that Petrov had suffered multiple cuts to the back of his head and that his arms were "crushed."
The two deputies are reportedly facing an internal investigation. The department is also seeking additional video of the incident. Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly confirmed to KQED that Alameda County sheriff's deputies are equipped with body cameras, "but he was unsure if the arrest was recorded by the devices. The department’s policy does not require deputies to turn them on."
"I guess you'd call it discretionary on behalf of the officer," he said, "discretionary but highly encouraged."
Video of the incident is below (warning: graphic footage):
Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, protests continued into Monday evening over the early Sunday police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, who reportedly has been taken off life-support.
After gathering in front of the police department's Fourth Precinct headquarters and the block where Clark was shot, protesters shut down a highway demanding justice and answers. Activists have said Clark, who is black, was unarmed and handcuffed when shot, and they want any possible footage of the incident to be released as well as the names of the officers involved.
Police have refuted the claim that Clark was handcuffed when the shooting took place, while refusing to release any footage that might exist or release the name of the officers.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:
By 6:45 p.m. Monday, about 100 protesters had moved across Interstate 94 south of Broadway, where they linked arms and blocked traffic lanes for more than two hours before State Patrol officers moved in and arrested 43 adults and eight juveniles.
According to the Star-Tribune, "Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds could be seen kneeling on the road, hands up and willing to be the first to be arrested."
On Tuesday, Levy-Pounds posted on Facebook after she was let out of jail, explaining that forcing arrests was not part of their plan originally: "We did it for Jamar and all of those whose lives have been senselessly lost to police violence. The time for justice is now. The time for freedom is now. The time for equality is now."
On Monday, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau said that a federal investigation would be completed alongside a separate investigation by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
This video, created by Mychal Fisher for the #justice4jamar movement, further outlines the activists' perspective and demands: