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Terrifying video shows cops tasering and arresting black man for sitting in a public area

Aug 28, 2014

In the wake of Ferguson, in the wake of Fox News pundits repeatedly insisting that there is definitely no such thing as a race problem when it comes to cops, a video has surfaced on the internet of a black man being tasered and arrested by the St. Paul police for the crime of sitting in a public area while waiting to pick his kids up from day care. While the incident took place on January 31, it was only posted two days ago because the man’s phone was confiscated by the police and not given back to him for six months.

via Daily Planet:

“Why do I have to let you know who I am?” the man tells the first female officer at the beginning of the video. “I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws.”
From the following dialogue, it appears the police were called by a store clerk, who was upset over the man sitting in front of his store. The man in the video tells the officer he was sitting in front of the store for 10 minutes as he waited for his kids to get out of school, and that the area is public and he had a right to sit there.
“The problem was —” the female officer begins.
“The problem is I’m black,” the man fires back. “It really is, because I’m not sitting there with a group of people. I’m sitting there by myself. By myself, not causing a problem.”
Eventually a second male officer approaches the man in the video and attempts to restrain him.
“I’ve got to go get my kids,” the man tells the second officer, pulling his arm away. “Please don’t touch me.”
“You’re going to go to jail then,” the second officer says.
“I’m not doing anything wrong,” the man replies.
At this point, both officers grab the man.
“Come on brother,” the man says, “This is assault.”
“I’m not your brother,” the second officer replies. “Put your hands behind your back otherwise it’s going to get ugly.”
Eventually the officers start to cuff the man and he drops his cellphone and the video goes black.
“I haven’t done anything wrong!” we hear the man yell. “Can somebody help me? That’s my kids, right there! My kids are right there!”
“Put your hands behind your back!” the male officer screams.
We hear the flicker of a Taser and the man screams out. As they move away from the cellphone, the man continues to plea to passersby to help him.

The video itself is incredibly terrifying and hard to listen to, particularly the part where the man is tased and screaming for help. I don’t normally issue “trigger warnings,” but I must let you know that the whole thing is very disturbing and violent.

I can tell you right now, that under no circumstances would any of that, from beginning to end, have happened to me. I have sat in thousands of public spaces in my life without anyone ever calling in the police to report me for that, and I can be pretty sure that if that did, for some reason happen, that saying “I’m here to pick up my kids” would send them on their merry way. I would not be tased and I would not be arrested.

If you think for a moment that this man brought this on himself by giving the cop an attitude–think about how you would feel if you had to deal with crap like that all the time? Probably, at some point, you’d lose your patience for it and speak up too.

This is too common–and if it hadn’t been caught on tape, then who would have even known? This is why all cops should be required to wear lapel cameras at all times–not only to film these incidents when they happen, but to stop them from happening in the first place. Call me crazy, but I just have a feeling that had these cops known they were being filmed, they might have acted a bit differently.

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