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WTF is wrong with Phoenix?
I'm ashamed of telling people I was born in Arizona. This shit just keeps getting worse.

After Tasering, kicking and hitting a man in the head with flashlights while calling him a "wetback," Phoenix police officers falsely accused him of assaulting them and running away, but the man can't fight or run at all because he is paralyzed on one side of his body from childhood polio, he says in a civil rights complaint.
Refugio Rodriquez sued the city, Maricopa County, Maricopa County Correctional Health Services and the three Phoenix police officers he says assaulted him in the parking lot of a church.
Rodriquez, whom the officers accused of aggravated assault against a police officer after they Tasered, kicked and hit beat him with police-issued flashlights, says he could not have assaulted the officers or run because the left side of his body is paralyzed from polio.

Read the whole article, it's quite fucked up

As much as my skeptic hackles get raised by people making seemingly impossible claims, they get raised more by claims of seeming impossibility. It surely sounds like these cops are assholes, poor public servants, and in dire need of pink slips. I'll not be defending most this, because the violence sounds gratuitous and name-calling is never called for let alone the human ugliness that underly them.

But come on: the guy walks. With a cane, sure. But he walks and if you can walk, running for short bursts is conceivable , plausible even, and surely nothing approaching "impossible," especially since he's had his entire life to adapt to this. "Paralyzed" is an exaggeration at best.

This article and all the related ones,which use this as the primary source and quote it nearly verbatim, sound like nothing short of a press release by the victim's attorney.

Its omissions are glaring.

In committing to the "running and fighting are impossible" angle, I guess mentioning his cane -- a potential weapon -- became too inconvenient to mention.

In committing to the "this guy is just an innocent victim of police brutality" angle, it must have also been inconvenient to mention the the fact that he was in a church parking lot, yes, but "late at night." The article seems to want you to think he was coming from church like a saint, services aren't held "late at night" and while it admits that his family was across the street, it fails to question why, as opposed to in the same parking lot with this "paralyzed" guy.

I'm not saying this guy isn't as completely innocent as the article would have us believe, but at the same time I think it's clear this "news" was written to be persuasive rather than informative and thus lacks a certain degree of honesty that prevents me from buying into it.
I feel so sorry for those poor police officers, being 'threatened' by a crippled guy with a cane. And it was only three against one at that.

Skeeve, you had no choice in where you were born. Anyway, that kind of stuff goes on in other places too. You probably heard about the Rainbow Lounge incident in Fort Worth.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
Cynic, brutality is never justified.

It's not the police's job to beat suspects senseless, but to subdue and control. Resisting arrest isn't carte blanche to act like Mike Tyson on a persons head and body.
I keep re-reading it, but I can't find where I stated or implied sympathy for the police officers or justification for the (excessive) beat down. My point is that the article is written as if vilifying those officers was more important than reporting the story accurately. The author had his sure-fire national, sensationalist story and he wasn't going to let a little thing like objectivity get in the way of that.

Catman himself once passed on a quote that I've never forgotten (the gist of it, anyway) that I think it's appropriate here:

"How good bad music and bad reasons sound when one marches against an enemy!" -- Friedrich Nietzsche

If the overarching "point" of the story and its lede was about the unnecessary brutality and racism of those officers that would be one thing. But it wasn't. It was about how they allegedly lied about the circumstances by saying that he attacked and fought them and how that was "impossible." But it's not impossible at all. If this were an argument posed in court -- as the article certainly reads! -- that claim of impossibility would be challenged. If challenged successfully, that might easily allow that the victim himself is lying about not running, and lying about not fighting and/or resisting arrest, and lying about the racial slurs, all of which could completely turn this story on its head.

But people are doing when reading this story is immediately believing that it was impossible that he ran and therefore concluding that the cops lied, etc. There isn't enough here to work on except the court-room theatrics statement made by the alleged victim's representation, which seems to be good enough when the audience is over-inclined to believe that cops are bad people in general, rather than by exception.
Edited by Cynic on 06/03/2011 16:12
I think Cynic makes some valid points; one of the first things about the article that struck me was that it was mentioned twice in the first four paragraphs that this incident took place in the parking lot of a church, but never was it mentioned what, other than taking place in a church parking lot, that had to do with anything. Not only were we not told why the incident took place in a church parking lot but we also weren't told why the cops and Mr. Rodriguez had any business with each other to begin with, But somehow the tone of the article seemed to imply there was a compelling reason why this took place in the church parking lot - but then, was the reason not important enough to mention in the article? That's confusing. I think Cynic is right that the reporter probably thought he had an easy article in the hole and didn't care about being thorough and simply reporting the story. However, I feel that is the overall state of affairs with journalism these days anyway.

Also, I see in the article where Mr. Rodriguez' polio and paralysis is mentioned, but Cynic said the man walks with a cane, but where is that in the article? I'm not seeing it there. In any case though, even if the man does walk with the aid of a cane, and it is conceivable that he could make a run for it - it's even conceivable that he's faking needing any walking assistance and could be a flight risk - there isn't any apparent reason discussed as to why these cops would use this kind of force and violence. Once again, the actions of the police appear to be very inappropriate, if not illegal, violent, and just plain excessive for the circumstances.
Hypatia wrote:
Also, I see in the article where Mr. Rodriguez' polio and paralysis is mentioned, but Cynic said the man walks with a cane, but where is that in the article? I'm not seeing it there.

Yeah, sorry -- I got that from another article, maybe this one:


"He walks with a cane," his attorney, Jimmy Borunda

One of my first impressions upon reading the article Skeeve posted was to wonder why his wheelchair was not mentioned. You'd think in such an enthusiastic read about cops assaulting a guy who's paralyzed would mention how he tried to get away in his wheelchair, or was torn from it, or whatever. It would definitely be a detail that would be included, if there was one, because it heightens the sensationalism considerably. I thus concluded that he could walk and sought out something to confirm that. That the author decided to omit that detail is telling, IMO. Admitting the cane weakens the affect.
The report might be biased but that could also reflect the reporter's disgust at the situation. I do know people who walk with canes for whom the concept of 'running' is risible.

The notion though that the police then tried to cover up the damage to this guy is very disturbing.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Two things, one I am sure the correct phrase should have been partial paralysis, being one of the last US victims of polio and knowing at least two others personally that had polio the muscular damage from the disease can have a wide range.

There is no doubt that the article in question was based primarily on the story of the victim. It does read a bit like a pr piece from a lawyer. I will also point out that the article Cynic linked to said that the Phoenix Police did not make comment for the article.

I know I have related this here before but I have mistrusted the police since I was 13 years old. A cop put me and a friend I was walking home on the hood of his car so he could pat search us. Simply for being out late (maybe 10 pm) on Halloween. My distrust was furthered by police actions toward myself and other Vietnam protesters in the late 60's and early 70's. The police literally have a get out of jail free card and they play it all the time. Does anyone on this board know of any police who have been convicted of a crime even when the actions have been egregious.

I know of several incidents in the Bay Area you could look up. Fajitagate, the wikipedia entry only outlines what happened. The police behavior was much worse than stated here. The killing of Oscar Grant. Basically a BART cop was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for pulling a gun on a prone and controlled man and shooting him in the back. The Riders Oakland Police, Oakland cops with impunity planted evidence, forced confessions and got away with it because most of the victims were african-american drug users.

There are others I was going to add but have lost them, if and when I remember I will add them.

Most of what cops do gets swept under the rug. The police will control the evidence and the public will believe them even in the face of overwhelming evidence against. The public must be vigilant, I personally have been chastised by police for simply paying attention to their actions. They don't want the public to know how they operate and want it to be secret. I will error for the rest of my life on the side of the public against the police. The rest of you should also.
Edited by JohnH on 06/05/2011 16:01
That should have been 'err' rather than 'error' in the penultimate sentence (once a proofreader, always a proofreader), but I agree with you. I was hassled more than enough by them in the early 70s to bear a certain antipathy. But think about what kind of people want to be policemen and lead that sort of life. I would also think that dealing with some of the scumbags they have contact with makes them the way they are. I realize there are exceptions; I have known a few really good cops who were altogether decent chaps as far as I know.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
I am an engineer not a damn english major. But I must admit I should have used the the term err.

I will also say that the cops I have known personally have in general been decent people. They have also accepted the get out of jail free card.

I will describe a night that started at the "Would You Believe", then a cop bar (maybe still) on Geary Blvd. in San Francisco. I stopped there on the way home (why has been lost in the years) ran into a cop friend of mine from the reserves and got to talking. He realized that he should no longer carry his off duty weapon and left it with the bartender. He was very much drunk. He drove us to a restaurant on Lombard St. in the Marina and we ate. He did not sober significantly even as I tried to get him to.

He drove us back to the "Would You Believe" and retrieved his off duty weapon. Still drunk as a skunk. I do not remember how I got home I suspect that I walked.
I really don't understand the point of that story, except to say that the cop shouldn't have been "drunk as a skunk" and carrying his weapon.

BTW, I was never a "damn english major" either. But I won't presume to correct you again.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
catman, the point of the story is that police have a get out of jail free card which they play to the detriment of the public. We as members of the public should recognize that.
Police also have people gunning for them, which I mean figuratively here but literally is also true. Like teachers, their efforts to do the job and retain their jobs are quiet often at odds with people (criminals and otherwise) whose self-serving sense of justice will hang them out of dry if legally expedient, and often just out of spite. Some people wouldn't think twice about destroying a cop's career whether they did anything to deserve it or not, which is a risk I suspect engineers and musicians are rarely exposed to.
Cynic: I made that point in my post #10 above.

I'm bailing on this thread. Too much ill feeling.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
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