After video footage surfaced of a police brutality incident in Virginia Beach last January, not only has that particular Virginia Beach Police Department begun investigating the use of force, but the nation has been in an uproar. More from the countless other accounts and incidents in which citizens have been beaten, battered or killed than just this one.
The major issue with this one in particular is two fold: the age of the victims and the failed attempts from the officers to do away with the footage.
Seeing as this is an extract culture periodical, we’d bet safely that the fair share of you have had at least one experience with the boys in blue. And most who have will tell you, it’s not all stories. Often the cops are as bad as they’re made out to be. Whether it’s the sense of pride they get from manhandling someone much less equipped for physicality than themselves, or the militarized “everyone’s an enemy” outlook they jump to bite into, police today are a testy bunch to be involved with. Especially if they’re hoping to detain you.
In the footage from Virginia Beach, it is quite obvious these kids have done a little homework. One of which–who is technically a minor at seventeen–repeatedly states that he not be touched until the arrival of a guardian. This, though not known by most, is a federal law to be upheld by any and all law officials. The moment the officers provoked the boy by grabbing at him, they crossed over the line of their allowed jurisdiction.
Secondly, after throwing caution to the wind and deciding a rodeo was in order, the police discover the cellphone recording all their fun from the dashboard. After a fashion, the video cuts out, but several reports describe the officers as not only attempting to remove the footage, but laughing and joking about it once the driver of the car brought the video into question.
This brings to light the biggest issue in civilian/police interaction today. No matter how well a citizen tries to educate themself with the law and legal practice, these officials tasked with protection feel they are above said legality. Especially when dealing with youths. Regardless of the compliance and actions taken by the civilian, the police will get what they’re trying to get, or do what they’re trying to do, knowing that, whatever the outcome, there is nearly no chance they will be reprimanded or penalized.
Safety from consequence is a small step away from total power. Unchecked abuse cannot and historically has never ended of its own volition. The more we allow officials of the state to act on a set of their own rules, the farther the gap between people and power will grow.
Is there even a chance of change going in the favor of the people? Always. But everyday the window looks smaller and smaller.