Jun 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Video exposes reality on police lies

Elderly man falling after being pushed by police

An elderly man falls after appearing to be shoved by riot police in Buffalo, New York, June 4. Photo from video: WBFO/via Reuters

One reality for black people that's becoming increasingly apparent to the rest of America: Police officers sometimes don't tell the whole truth.

Why it matters: It's no longer the word of a police officer vs. the suspect. Now it's the police officer vs. video cameras, often held by members of the communities they patrol.

The big picture: At least three big police departments have been caught in the act in just the past few weeks because of video footage, AP notes.

  • Minneapolis police initially told the public that George Floyd resisted arrest and that he died after a “medical incident during a police interaction.”
  • Buffalo police said a protester “tripped and fell.”
  • Philadelphia police alleged that a college student who suffered a serious head wound had assaulted an officer.

Reality checks, delivered by video:

  • George Floyd didn't resist arrest, and the Minneapolis police omitted the knee that a former officer placed on his neck for almost 9 minutes.
  • Protester Martin Gugino, 75, was pushed by Buffalo police officers and suffered brain damage. President Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory about Gugino today, but you can watch the tape for yourself. The man was shoved to the ground by cops, and no one stopped to help.
  • The Philadelphia officer was seen on video striking a 21-year-old Temple University student in the head and neck with a metal baton. That student was released after prosecutors saw the video and decided to pursue the officer instead.

The bottom line: Civil rights lawyer Michael Avery, who is the board president of the National Police Accountability Project, told the AP that false claims by the police had long been known to inner-city communities.

  • “But what is happening now with video, this is getting out into the larger world, into the media, into white communities, suburban communities, and people outside the affected communities are becoming more aware of what’s going on,” he said. ”It’s a completely different situation.”
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