One might have hoped that the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial would be a wake-up call for America’s police and perhaps prompt some restraint in the interests of reducing the tensions between law enforcement and the people they are ostensibly protecting and serving.
Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case. Since the Chauvin trial began, police have shot and killed at least 64 people, including 7 since the guilty verdict was handed down. Their behavior appears to be worsening out of sheer spite, if the latest viral outrage is anything to judge by.
On April 21st, a doorbell camera captured a Vacaville, CA police officer punching an autistic teenager, Preston Wolf, and then hurling him to the ground. The boy’s father took to Facebook to share the horrifying video and a plea for accountability for this entirely unnecessary and uncalled for act of outrageous brutality.
To All my Friends and Family, I need your help. Some of you know and some of you don’t, but my 17 year year old son,…
The video shows Preston standing on the sidewalk with his scooter when a cop appears, gets out of his car and immediately begins screaming at him to sit down, which Preston does, cross-legged. The officer orders him to sit with his legs out and then throws the scooter violently when he doesn’t immediately comply.
The understandably terrified Preston resists when the officer tries to grab him and then tries to take off, at which point the officer grabs him and hurls him to the ground. A second video of the incident shows the officer straddling the boy and punching him as he screams at him to put his hand behind his back. When Preston protests the punching (“You punched me in the f**king head!”), the cop taunts him, saying “You’re gonna get hurt. Don’t make me hurt you more. Don’t make me hurt you more.
There appears to have been some prior incident involving another teenager attempting to assault Wolf and Wolf’s picking up of some kind of metal object to defend himself with, but that still doesn’t excuse anything that followed.
There is absolutely no reason any of this had to happen, and it’s very telling that this officer reacted with violence at the slightest show of resistance from the kid. It’s become appallingly clear that America’s police officers far too often see the very people they are supposed to protect as enemies, behaving as if they are an occupying army beating the locals into submission with fear and brutality. Serious top-to-bottom reform is desperately needed before the lengthy list of their victims grows even longer.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.