OK, you've seen it by now – a video of an Inglewood police officer punching a 16-year old who had been handcuffed against a police car. Everyone is CA is outraged because "a white cop beat a black kid". At first, I was a little concerned, but I generally think the police act with force for good reason. Three cops had to receive medical attention after the incident, including the officer who hit the suspect.
Take a look at the cops in a photo from the video:
Notice the look of pain on the center officer? See how all the other officers are moving in on the suspect? Note the leftmost officer removing his baton? Why do you think that is? Three cops had to receive medical attention after the incident, including the officer who hit the suspect.
Well, in the police report filed before the video was released to the TV networks, the police officer in question admitted that he punched the kid once. Why? Because the suspect grabbed the officers testicles and began squeezing. From the LA Times:
The report then says Jackson "used his right hand and reached backward, grabbing Officer Morse in the crotch area. Officer Morse yelled at Jackson to let go. However, Jackson refused and began to squeeze Officer Morse by his testicles.
"Due to the extreme pain that Officer Morse was in and the fact that Jackson was still attacking, Officer Morse used his right fist and punched Jackson one time on the right side of his face," the report said. "Jackson then immediately let his grip loose of Officer Morse."
In addition to the Inglewood police report, another account of the incident is contained in a separate report written by sheriff's deputies, also on Saturday night, before the videotape aired on TV. It alleges that Jackson fought with Deputy Carlos Lopez and Inglewood police officers as they attempted to handcuff him.
He "pulled, scratched and fought with the victims [police officers] requiring Inglewood police … to strike the subject [Jackson] with personal weapons on his facial area," the report said.
Sheriff's officials said "personal weapons" refers to officers' fists.
I'm here to tell ya – the kid is lucky that the officer responded so quickly that his first instinct was just to punch the kid. The police are authorized to "escalate the level of force encountered one degree in response". That's a nice way of saying if someone tries to attack a cop, they can use more force to subdue the attacker. The police officer (and his partners) would have been perfectly within their rights to mace the kid, kick him, whack the kid with a baton, or use a "tazer" on the kid.
So, what do you think now, America? Excessive force?
No. If you assault a cop, causing 3 to need medical attention, then after your handcuffed you squeeze a guy's privates, you deserve (at least) a punch in the mouth. The officer's actions were abrupt, violent, forceful, and –in this instance– completely warranted.