January 5, 2012
"A John Brown Moment"
This video leaves me... inspired? I'm actually not entirely sure how to feel.
Here's the scene: somebody with an iPhone video is taping police beating on a man of African descent. Nothing out of the ordinary. This happens all the time, especially in low-income communities. Police abuse their power all the time, especially against already marginalized groups. They can't afford lawyers.
While I have no idea what brought the situation to this point, I'm assuming it's the typical abuse of force, as somebody off camera asks, "did you get this shit from the beginning?"
To which the cameraman responds, "no, but they're going down because I got this on tape." Little does he know, that one of them is about to ACTUALLY go down.
Then enters this stranger from across the street. He approaches slowly, having seen what's going on, stands over the man on the ground, and then RAILS on the cop, and performs a citizen arrest on him, holding him to the ground.
The Man who was being brutalized by the cops, gets up and I assume, escapes.
The cop and the stranger lay on the ground together, the stranger on top. The cop flails trying to punch the stranger in the head, but fails, as the stranger appears to be using a police subduing technique for holding persons of interest to the ground.
A third cop enters and kicks the stranger in the teeth, and seems super pissed at the cameraman when he declares "I got that on tape!"
The stranger lays down, and willingly submits to arrest, knowing full well that he will be charged with assault on a police officer.
Is he a hero?
It's foolish to pretend that race isn't an issue here. This stranger, because he is white, is less likely to be arrested for low level crime, will- unlike his colored counterpart- probably never be stop & frisked, and when facing trial this white man will most likely be charged with crimes less severe than he would if he were black.
Is he aware of his white privilege and using it to make a potent point about inequality? Is he just somebody who saw something wrong happening and decided he didn't want to stand on the sidelines? Did he let somebody who was actually committing a crime get away? Was he wrong to use violence to intervene against those who were using violence?
I don't know.
But is he a hero?
I can only answer... "I think so?"
If you have any more information about where this happened, or what the outcome was, please email me at Punkpatriot411@gmail.com or leave a comment below.
UPDATE: It appears that this takes place in Baltimore. The rest of the details are still fuzzy.