A Full Bag of Holiday Cheer

It was near the corner of 57th and 10th, midtown but far enough west that no respectable person was likely to see it.  There is little information as to the homeless man involved, except that he was eventually taken away by ambulance.  And not because he had a bullet embedded in any part of his body.

But  the image is still very wrong.


There are other photos, all similarly mundane, but for the fact that they show a homeless man being held in a body bag on the sidewalk.

Ignite Revolution described the scene:

The man could be heard saying to the officers, “you´ve had me on the ground for an hour! I can´t get transported or nothing!? when you take this off my eyes, I´m taking everybody´s names and numbers!” In response, the officers just stood around laughing because they know, just as well as we all do, that NYPD officers can get away with almost any kind of mental, verbal, or physical abuse and violence against those they arrest.

Without question, it reflects a horrible lack of respect for the homeless man, in stark contrast to the recent act of kindness when a cop gave another homeless man boots.  The problem is that one act of kindness doesn’t excuse another act of callousness.

But as bad, as disrespectful,as these photos appear, they are much better than a body bag filled with a dead or injured person.  The reality on 57th and 10th, and plenty of other places around Manhattan, is that there are homeless people who are mentally ill or drug addicts, and can ;present a threat to others.  It isn’t a question of blaming someone, but saving someone.  They aren’t always easy to save.

What I prefer to see remarkable about these images, particularly given the season, is that the police didn’t subdue the fellow with force, whether taser, club or Glock, but held him until an ambulance arrived to take him somewhere warm and safe.  It may not be so, but I hope it is.

Yes, it was an ugly scene on the hard sidewalk, and it would have been far better had there been some minor display of human respect. Laughing at the man in the body bag didn’t help, and reflects what most of us have come to dislike immensely about police.  Are we here for their amusement?

But they didn’t harm him. They didn’t kill him. That makes this far better than many things that happened in the past year, and it’s something for which we can be grateful.

3 thoughts on “A Full Bag of Holiday Cheer

  1. Nigel Declan

    Your endless optimism never ceases to amaze, Scott. If we could trade this sort of police misconduct for all of the police beatings, tazings and shootings we hear about all-too-frequently in the news, the world would be a better, though still very far from perfect, place. And here’s hoping we get a few more of the boots-giving-type police officer stories next year and a few less of the other, more common type of stories about police conduct.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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