Another case of an out of control police officer with a Taser.
Another case of an out of control police officer with a Taser.
In his 1975 release Hurricane, Bob Dylan sings about New Jersey cops, “If you’re black, you might as well not show up on the street, unless you want to draw the heat.” Well in today’s Jersey police state, anyone can draw the heat for showing up on the wrong street, even a white music legend.
The AP is reporting that on July 23 Bob Dylan was picked up by the police in the Jersey Shore town of Long Branch at 5 p.m. when a resident reported that “a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.” Apparently in Jersey “wandering” a black neighborhood is a no-no, if you’re white. “So Patty calls the cops and they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashin’ in the hot New Jersey night.”
An officer drove up to Dylan and this classic exchange ensued:
“What is your name, sir?”
“Bob Dylan.” Dylan said.
“OK, what are you doing here?” the officer asked.
“I’m on tour,” the singer replied.
The name didn’t ring a bell, so the officers asked for ID. But Dylan explained he didn’t have any because he was just walking around looking at houses trying to pass some time before his show later that evening.
That should have been enough for the police. The skinny 68 year-old was not bothering anyone or doing anything illegal. He was just a man out for a stroll. But no!!! The officers asked Dylan to accompany them back to his hotel. Dylan made the smart move and politely complied. Only after the police found a tour staff member who vouched for Dylan did they leave the old man alone.
The Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley praised Dylan for his compliance with the police, “He couldn’t have been any nicer to them.” No doubt. This summer I’ve recounted for True/Slant several examples of the bad stuff that happens when someone isn’t sweet-as-punch compliant even if the police are bothering you for no legally justifiable reason. Real glad Bob didn’t join the list.
Think ‘corporate controlled media’ is just a left-wing, conspiracy theorist buzz phrase? Think again.
Huffington Post reports that on Saturday a lawyer named Pepin Tuma got arrested in Washington DC for loudly chanting ”I hate the police, I hate police.” Tuma had been complaining to friends about the Gates arrest when he spontaneously broke into his chant. Unfortunately for Tuma, a few nearby cops took exception.
As Huffington Post reports: “One officer reacted strongly to Tuma’s song. ‘Hey! Hey! Who do you think you’re talking to?’ Tuma recalled the officer shouting as he strode across an intersection to where Tuma was standing. ‘Who do you think you are to think you can talk to a police officer like that?’ the police officer said, according to Luke Platzer, 30, one of Tuma’s companions.”
Tuma being a smart-ass lawyer replied , “It is not illegal to say I hate the police. It’s not illegal to express my opinion walking down the street.”
According to Tuma, the officer pushed him against an electric utility box, continued to ask who he thought he was and said he couldn’t talk to police like that. Within minutes, the officer arrested Tuma for disorderly conduct, of course, just like Gates and the deaf, mentally disabled guy I wrote about earlier this week. Tuma spent a few hours in a holding cell and was released early Sunday morning after surrendering $35 in collateral to the police.
(Maybe next week Ill be able to write about politics .)
Fresh on the heels of Gatesgate, the AP reports another instance of police stupidity and our creeping police state. Last Friday Alabama police used pepper spray and a Taser to remove a deaf, mentally disabled man from a store bathroom. What was his crime? He was on the toilet for too long — and he had an umbrella.
“A spokesman for the Mobile Police Department said the officers’ actions were justified because the man was armed with a potential weapon – an umbrella.”
The deaf victim Antonio Love, in a written statement and in a television interview given in sign language said he had an upset stomach and went into a Dollar General store to use the restroom.
A police spokesman said store workers called officers complaining that a man had been in the bathroom for more than an hour with the door locked. Officers knocked on the door and identified themselves, but Love didn’t respond. Officers used a tire iron to open the door, but the man pushed back to keep it shut.
According to the deaf man’s mother, he has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old and didn’t realize that it was the police who were trying enter the bathroom. “He thought the devil was out there trying to get in to get him,” she said.
Ok, up to this point we have an understandable misunderstanding. But things now take a dark turn.
Having opened the door a crack, officers noticed an umbrella and felt threatened. Out came the pepper spray which they sprayed through the crack at Love. After being hit with pepper spray, the victim’s mother said her son splashed water on his face and fell to the floor
When the police finally got inside the bathroom they shot Love with a Taser– no doubt fearing that the deaf (and now blind) man would show them the business end of his scary umbrella.
Officers finally discovered Love was deaf or had mental problems when he showed them a card he carries in his wallet. But of course they arrested him anyway on a charge of disorderly conduct!! When a magistrate refused to issue a warrant, officers released him and took him home.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Police spokesmen of course said officers were justified in using force against Love. “The officers really worked within the limits of our level-of-force policy,” he said. “We had no information about who this guy was.” And he solemnly promised, “We’ll make whatever efforts we can to resolve this situation, hopefully so this man will be able to trust police in the future so we can help him. Obviously, it’s going to be a rough road,” he said.
Rough road indeed.
I created and hosted a History Channel special about sex and politics called Beltway Unbuckled. My latest book Kingmakers: How the Media Threatens Our Security and Our Democracy was co-authored with Senator Mike Gravel (Phoenix Books: 2008). I was the Communications Director for Gravel’s 2008 presidential campaign and now I teach media and politics at Columbia University where I earned a PhD in American history in 2006.See my profile »
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I created and hosted a History Channel special about sex and politics called Beltway Unbuckled. My latest book Kingmakers: How the Media Threatens Our Security and Our Democracy was co-authored with Senator Mike Gravel (Phoenix Books: 2008). I was the Communications Director for Gravel’s 2008 presidential campaign and now teach media and politics at Columbia University where I earned a PhD in American history in 2006.