California Police Department has Brutal Reputation
Article from Reason by C.J. Ciaramella.
I am a Black man born and raised in Oakland, California who was physically attacked by Vallejo PD officer David McLaughlin, last Tuesday. In researching my situation, I learned that Mclaughlin has been involved in lawsuits related to his brutality including the fatal shooting of on August 3rd, 2018. Mclaughlin grabbed me, smashed my face against the wall and then swung my body, knocking my head into a wooden pillar causing a concussion. He put handcuffs on my wrists so tight they broke the skin and caused my fingers to go numb. All while telling me “stop resisting” to my reply, “I’m not resisting.”I’m a Marine, and was honorably discharged when I completed my service. I have no convictions on my record; I'm not on parole or probation. I own my home, I was on the porch of this home when McLaughlin pulled his pistol on my cousin, saying my cousin looked like someone who he saw speeding earlier. My cousin was sitting on his motorcycle in front of my house. A gun had been pulled on him because he “looked like someone” the officer had seen speeding earlier. Obviously, the situation concerned me. From roughly 20 ft away, with a railing between myself and the officer, I started filming with my phone. You have the right to film a police officer in action as long as you’re not a threat or preventing him from doing his job. The officer told me to go in my house. I chose to stay on my porch and film because the situation was concerning. My camera panned and tilted, but I did not take one step off of the porch. At that point, officer Mclaughlin approached me as you see in the video. He said I was going to jail and detained me in the back seat of his car. Would I have gone to jail if I weren’t a vet with no criminal record? When the officer realized I am a Marine, he told me if I wasn’t a vet I’d be going to jail. Does that mean that if I had not been a vet, he would have put me in jail for not breaking the law? Because I am a vet, does that mean my life is more valuable? Military service does not warrant special treatment. Lack of military service does not justify mistreatment?Why holster your gun to come put your hands on me, if my cousin and I are a threat?This unfortunate circumstance put me in a situation where if I was to defend myself, then I would have been a hashtag. Or worse, my death would have been ignored or excused on the premise of Mcglaughlin’s irrational fear.Officer McLaughlin should not be allowed to continue abusing his power.This is a true story and I feel it's my responsibility to share it.Police need better training on implicit bias. They need tougher disciplinary actions taken when patterns of misconduct become frequent and are being reported from multiple sources.#Share #repostfamilyandfriends
Posted by Adrian Burrell on Thursday, January 31, 2019
Vallejo has paid out millions of dollars to settle civil lawsuits alleging wrongful deaths, brutality, and misconduct over the past decade. According to Claudia Quintana, Vallejo city attorney, there are currently 35 pending claims and lawsuits in connection with the Vallejo Police Department, 16 of which allege excessive force. There have been accusations of police retaliation against victims who have come forward, the police chief resigned in April, and the mayor has asked that the Justice Department come to town to try to mend the frayed relationship between police and the community.
The Vallejo Police Department says it is underfunded and dealing with high crime and high unemployment; the city never really recovered from the 2008 recession.
But Vallejo has one of the highest per capita rates of fatal police shootings in the state, higher than neighboring cities with similar crime problems, and one of the highest amounts of lawsuit payouts in the Bay Area. And while the number of police use-of-force injuries may be small compared to the overall number of arrests, for the first time, many of them are being caught on tape.
“Vallejo’s been problematic for a long time,” says Melissa Nold, Burrell’s attorney. “I’m from here, I’ve lived here my whole life, and the police department’s always been problematic. I think a lot of the increase for us recently has been the videotapes.”
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons