Yesterday we were treated to yet another video of an armed officer using what appears to be excessive force against someone the officer is arresting. (10 News )This case is murkier than some, because from the video it is still possible that the man is actually resisting arrest in some ways. The man is still face first on the ground and definitely not kicking or punching, so the beating initially strikes me as execessive force.
This particular instance contains a number of elements which are even more troubling for society as a whole than a typical excessive force case.
The person who took the video is a parolee, meaning that the police can search his house for evidence of illegal activity without a warrant, which they did one day after he shot the video. But initial reports strongly suggest that police seized the cell phone in an attempt to keep the video from getting out. Searching a parolee's house for evidence of police wrongdoing, and then seizing it to keep it from getting out is an inversion of the purpose of being able to search a parolee's house without a warrant. The police are supposed to have that power to protect the public from the parolee's illegal behavior, not their own.
Within two days, the police had arrested Jose Guzman, the person who shot the video, for violating his parole. He reports that they set him up for aiding and abetting an unrelated illegal immigrant co-worker by not participating in an investigation by calling the worker and asking him where he was. Parolees are required to cooperate with ongoing investigations, but they are not required to participate in investigations in that manner.
This story is still in the early stages of development. Facts may come to light which make the police response look better. But at the moment it looks like they are using excessive force against the crime of keeping them accountable. That wouldn't be good for any of us.