By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher
A few days ago, we saw a bystander’s recording of police officers in Glendale, California beating, punching and kicking a 17 year old suspected of shoplifting at a Dick’s Sporting Store. The video shows the young man already laying on his back on the floor with three police officers on top of him, when a fourth officer comes up and kicks him in the face. At least two of the officers are seen punching the person while the others already have him down. This scene, recorded by a bystander, who questioned the use of force applied during and after the incident, shared his observations with the press after the incident. The young man suffered eye and head injuries and might lose his eye.
This is very much like the San Diego Police conduct several weeks ago when Mr. Jesse Evans was arrested in the same manner in La Jolla for supposedly urinating in public. He was thrown facedown with at least three police officers on his back while one was seen punching him and another officer arrived and joined in the attack. The San Diego Police Department says that such punches are authorized in their procedures and called “distraction blows” The issue in either case is not what the blows are called but rather their use as excessive force when clearly not necessary.
It appears that police departments have not learned anything from the George Floyd murder and subsequent trial. In the case of San Diego, the City Attorney has indicated that she will not charge Mr. Evans. But that does not eliminate the need to charge police officers for such conduct. This also means that the police should not be allowed to hide behind policies which clearly should be changed.
In the case of the Glendale police incident, the officers were suspended pending an investigation. San Diego should consider the same course of action.