Each story has its own variations, each of which give rise to significant issues of their own, but share a few primary things in common. They involve men who were not alleged to have committed any crime, provided you’re not of the misguided view that failure to comply with the unlawful demands of police for identification is close enough. And they were caught on video.*
The first comes from Broward County, where Deputy James Cady demands that Allen Floyd, holding his child, show identification.
Deputy Cady, no stranger to costly complaints for false arrest, wasn’t putting up with Floyd’s polite response. And notably, his partner, Deputy Debbra Bridgman, was not only fully supportive, but studiously omitted Cady’s involvement when writing up the report.
Deputy James Cady confronts Allen Floyd, an African-American father calmly holding his infant, angrily drops f-bombs and calls Floyd “boy” before appearing to grab Floyd by the throat.
Floyd wasn’t under investigation for any crime. Nor was he being belligerent towards Cady in the video from July 25, 2017.
Floyd wasn’t concealing his identity, but exercised his right not to “show his papers” upon demand.
Finally, after Floyd shakes his head at Cady, Cady says, “OK, fine, I’m going to take her to jail because she’s got a warrant and I’m going to call child services on this kid!” When Floyd starts to say something, Cady says, “Quit f—– with me, boy! You hear me? Get your ID! Now!”
Bridgman’s voice chimes in, “ID!”
The putative argument for Cady’s actions was to determine that Floyd was the father of the child, which might make sense had that been in question, as he was arresting the child’s mother on a warrant. Even if there was a question, showing ID would have contributed nothing to answering.
Floyd rises from the curb, still holding his child in his left arm. Cady steps toward him. Floyd turns to walk away and says, “Stop calling me ‘boy!’ ”
Cady grabs Floyd by the right arm while Bridgman grabs Floyd’s child from his left arm. Then, the video shows Cady’s left hand holding small papers that, along with Floyd’s torso, partially block the bodycam while his right hand is up in Floyd’s throat area.
While the use of vulgar language is ubiquitous during these encounters, purportedly as means of shocking a person into recognizing the seriousness of the police and to compel submission to their “lawful” orders, the only reason to call a black man “boy” is to be racist. The hand to the neck doesn’t help, either.
Then again, at least Cady didn’t pull out his weapon, as Glendale, AZ, Officer Matt Schneider, did when Johnny Wheatcroft, a passenger in a car pulled over for a turn signal violation, with his kids in the back, refused to provide his ID.
As Axon, formerly Taser, used to remind us before people kept dying from “excited delerium,” tasing is “less than lethal” so why not use it with abandon when a fellow isn’t jumping high enough?
Minutes later, Wheatcroft was handcuffed lying face down on the hot asphalt on a 108-degree day. He’d already been tased 10 times, with one officer kneeling on his back as another, Officer Matt Schneider, kicked him in the groin and pulled down his athletic shorts to tase him a final time in his testicles, according to a federal lawsuit and body camera footage obtained by Scripps sister station KNXV-TV.
The scene was witnessed by his 11- and 6-year-old sons.
On the bright side, there was no dog present to kill. The first video of Allen Floyd would tend to make some decry racism, and there’s no doubt that racism was apparent in Cady’s calling Floyd “boy.” But the second, far more violent, video provides balance, that while racism remains omnipresent among police officers, the misguided belief that white guys get white glove treatment is wrong. To cops, the color that matters most is blue.
Eliminating racism, and racist cops, is obviously necessary, but that isn’t going to fix a system where every non-cop is treated as less than human, even when there are kids in arms or watching. Deputy Cady is still on the job, to call the next black man “boy.” Officer Schneider is still on the job as well, even though there was nothing racist about his sadistic treatment of Wheatcroft.
And you won’t see either of these videos on the TV show “Cops,” on which Schneider twice appeared.
*Yes, there are other, longer, videos. These are the videos I’ve chosen to use in the post. No doubt, someone will think the video they prefer is better and should have been used. That’s nice. Start your own blog and include whatever video you prefer. This is mine.