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24 Oct, 2009 05:41

Police states of America?

A protest against police brutality has taken place in New York. Demonstrators say police officers use their power to bully and attack innocent people.

Indeed, images of police brutality are viral on the internet. But those who get such kind of treatment are far from serial killers. You don’t have to look far to come across stories of seniors, children and even dogs being mistreated, shot and killed by the police.

Members of the Rebel Diaz rap group, Rodstarz and G1, were also detained. They were held overnight, charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice. All this – for what they say was offering translations to officers who were dealing with a group of migrant workers.

“It’s always the same story – ‘oh, he pulled out…we thought it was a gun. We thought he was armed.’ But it was a brother reaching for his wallet, or that brother who was reaching for a comb, or a bag of chips. There’s always an excuse,” Rodstarz says,

And G1 accuses the government of creating a police state:

“We do have a very concrete police state here in the United States, especially after 9/11. This police state, it’s able to be enforced and implemented, because we are constantly being bombarded in the media with images of fear,” he says.

Many cases of police abuse go unreported so there are no exact figures available. The US Department of Justice admits it upholds around 2,000 complaints of police brutality each year.

Craig took part in a recent protest against police brutality in New York. He says he was beaten by fifteen police officers until he was choking on his own vomit while at a protest.

“My head slammed repeatedly into the sidewalk, while they screamed “stop resisting, stop resisting, stop resisting, you are resisting arrest,” Craig recalls, adding that this is a common tactic used by police.

Victims say accountability often remains a myth. Cases reported are mostly investigated internally by the police or by district attorneys – who could favor the officers and not the complaining citizens.