A recent viral video showing a white police officer “beating” a (black?) male teenager has enraged much of the internet on the left and right. Confusion and anger over the video fueled responses of immediate revenge… or at least a thorough investigation. Context doesn’t seem to matter in this case due to all the emotions behind it.
The incident in question happened in Rancho Cordova, California which is in the Sacramento metro area. Shortly after the video reached viral status, police released a video and written statement. At around the same time as the police department’s statement, the young male spoke out.
Police say the officer saw a hand-to-hand transaction between an adult and the teen. The officer approached the 14-year-old about what he’d seen. At this point, the boy handed over the bag of tobacco he’d taken from the adult. The officer asks the kid for basic identification information. Name, age, most likely address. The teenager refuses. As a result of being non-cooperative, the officer decides to place the teenager in handcuffs.
A scuffle erupts as a result of the teenager resisting arrest and being non-compliant. If he would have cooperated from the beginning, there would not have been any problems. But that is not what happened.
The officers’ handcuffs got knocked a fair distance away during the struggle. Far enough that if the officer were to get them, the boy would be able to flee. So, the officer decided to keep the kid on the ground until backup came. At that point, they could detain him. The young man continued to fight and resist the whole time.
It was at this moment that a couple of right hands from the officer connected to the boy’s ribcage. Media and regular people online label this as excessive force and police brutality. In reality, police have leeway when it comes to restraining a combative person. One article said the officer “pinned the boy’s head into the concrete.” Another one said that the officer “punched the boy in the head.”
All nonsense and hyperbole. The officer acted to gain control of the situation until backup could arrive. The teenager received a citation and got released into the custody of his parents. Which would have happened from the beginning if he did not resist arrest.
After all the smoke cleared and the dust settled, the teenager in question issued an apology to the officer. He was able to recognize his faults and not play the victim. For that, he gets credit. The officer will not have any action taken against him. At least, not yet. Which is, of course, the right thing to do. Neither party sustained injuries. The worst outcome of the whole situation is most likely how the 14-year-old’s mom reacted when he showed up at home with a police citation.