"My Momma taught me this." The words of Nathaniel Jones as he attacked police officers on Saturday. That saddens me somehow.
The full, raw video is here.
Everything seems to indicate that the police on scene used the proper amount of force. Jones attacks the two police officers. The officers tackle him to the ground. They order him to put his arms behind his back and as he doesn't they start hitting him with their batons. He still doesn't stop resisting and in fact gets up to his knees and trys to take the officer's baton.
They never struck his head. They never drew their guns. They never called him names. (Well, they may have called him "Biggie", but the only racial names used were by Jones: "white boy" and "redneck".) And it's a little hard to tell, the video kind of makes all the officers look like Smurfs, but at least one of the officers responding was black.
The FOP president may not be helping things, but I think the media in regards to the video is doing worse. Does WHIO-AM say the tape shows two officers striking the suspect while trying to restrain him? No, they say the tape shows 6 officers beating the suspect. The TV, especially the national cable channels, are showing a two second clip of the officer hitting Jones over and over again. Not the clip where Jones attacks the officer or anything like that, just the part where the officer is hitting Jones with terms like "Excessive Force" or "Police Brutality" in the chyron.
We now know that Jones was hopped up on coke and pcp. We also know that the force from the nightsticks didn't damage his internal organs, leaving only bruises.
The guy's hopped up on drugs and attacking the police. We still don't know for sure why exactly he died but we know it wasn't directly related to the blows from the police. I imagine the most likely scenario is that (and we're now leaving the land of facts and entering Conjecture County) the weight, enlarged heart, Drug 1 and Drug 2, and strain from resisting arrest made his heart go kerblooey. It's regrettable that anybody should die but in this case it seems the blame lies mostly on the guy instigating the fight with the police. The blows left only bruises, and people don't generally die from bruises.
If you attack a cop they're going to subdue and arrest you. Once Jones was subdued they stopped using force. There's no way the police could have expected that the force they were using would lead to death. I just don't see the case for excessive force here.