Sunday, June 20, 2021

One Is The Loneliest Number

Here we go again. In April, I quoted a newscaster in Buffalo, NY who had reported

Tonight 75-year-od Martin Gugino has now filed a civil lawsuit against the city, the mayor, and the two officers caught on video shoving him to the ground during a protest on the steps of city hall. Gugino's story and this video you see here made international headlines last June.

 Moving 2,640 miles west

About 50 officers assigned to the Portland police department's crowd control team resigned one day after one of the team's officers was indicted for allegedly using his department-issued baton to assault a protester last summer.

The wholesale resignation of the police department's Rapid Response Team (RRT) took place after a Multnomah County grand jury handed down an indictment Wednesday charging Officer Corey Budworth with fourth-degree battery. All the officers who resigned their positions on the team returned to their regular assignments.

Budworth is accused of shoving photographer Teri Jacobs to the ground and using a baton to strike her during a protest last August -- an incident that was caught on video and posted to social media....

Jacobs filed a lawsuit against the city that contains screen-captured images from a Twitter user named "John the Lefty," and the video that person posted to Twitter shows an officer pushing Jacobs with his baton, first while she's standing and then again while she's sitting on the ground.

Budworth isn't named in the lawsuit, which alleges two officers assaulted Jacobs: a John Doe 1 who "swung his (baton) like a baseball bat" and an Officer 37 who pushed Jacobs with his baton, first while standing and again once she was on the ground. A law enforcement source said Budworth is the officer who is identified as "officer 37" in the video, which was posted to Twitter and later cited in Jacobs' lawsuit.

"In this case, we allege that no legal justification existed for Officer Budworth's deployment of force, and that the deployment of force was legally excessive under the circumstances," Schmidt said.

The similarity between the Jacobs incident and the Gugino incident is not only- as with pregnant Nicole Harper of Arkansas- that the victims are white. Although Gugino allegedly had violated a curfew, there is another similarity.

Jacobs and Gugino weren't assaulted because they presented a risk to the health and safety of individual citizens, police, or the community. They were attacked because they presented no danger or menace.

Police knew instinctively that if the person were part of a large group, there would have been retaliation. Members of the group would have turned against the police or against buildings in the immediate area. Instead, each was a defenseless individual, hence vulnerable. They were easy targets.

In sports and elsewhere, it's sometimes referred to as low-hanging fruit.  It was easy- no mess, no fuss; officer 1, civilian 0. There will be sporadic criticism- in Portland's case, from a black member of the City Commission. However, if the victim happily turns out to be white, there will likely be no mass protests nor a peep from any organization a politician is beholden to.

Portland Police Chief Chis Davis, presumably fearful of further tumult in his department, stated

Our entire organization, and not even just our sworn staff but also our professional staff in the last 14 months has been put through something, none of us have ever seen in our careers and at a level, and an intensity that I don't think any other city in the United States has experienced.

Nearly rationalizing the brutal action of a professional under his command on the basis of generalized, ongoing stress, Davis would have been derided if there had been several victims, even if they were participating in illegal activities thretening the community.

Instead, Jacobs was surrounded by few if any supporters, was in no position to respond to her attackers, and thus there was relatively little immediate or continuing backlash. Indictment of one police officer is inconsequential compared to what might have ensued if present were more individuals, especially ones who could have retaliated.

But as with Gugino and Nicole Harper, there were not. There was little to spark outrage on traditional or social media. Teri Jacobs, Martin Gugino, and Nicole Harper, like George Floyd, were alone. Moreover, there were few witnesses. They drew the short straw.


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