Tragic news this morning for a Miami-Dade family, who found their 22 year old son, a man who lives with down syndrome, beaten.
On his way home, Liko said, “The police followed me.”
Liko said, the officer smacked him in the face with an open hand and knocked him to the ground.
“His whole hand,” he said.
According to the police report, a Miami-Dade Police officer noticed a bulge in Liko’s waistband. The officer attempted to conduct a pat down, and Powell tried to run away.
Scared and confused, 22 year old Gilbert panicks and tried to run away from an officer. He had committed no crime. He was targeted because of a 'bulge in his pants' (a colostomy bag) and his abnormal walking pattern..
It is far too easy to blame the police officer or tactics. What is happening, however, is that we as a society are building people who 'harden their hearts' to the plight of others. And this kind of outcome is to be expected as they travel this road.
What I have said above will sound brutal to some, but it is hard to deny. The number of violent responses to each other and to the least of us continues to increase in this country. And the reason for it is that we have worked to devalue life.
It's funny because this is the mantra right-wingers use often to highlight the 'horrible outcomes of abortion law' and so forth, but in the end, those who are doing the most damage are those who have decided that labeling people as 'takers' and 'mooches' and the like devalues the way we treat each other.
8 Months ago, in San Diego, a developmentally disabled man was injured by police officers.
6 months ago, in Dallas, another Down Syndrome man was attacked by officers.
Officer Cardan Spencer claimed last week that he shot Bobby Gerald Bennett, a 52-year-old man suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, only when Bennett made an effort to attack Spencer and another officer with a knife. Yet video captured by a neighbor’s surveillance camera clearly shows that Bennett was standing yards away from the police when Spencer opened fire, hitting the man in the abdomen.
Police Chief David Brown said in a press conference Thursday that Spencer had been fired, an announcement that came after video of the October 14 incident played throughout US media outlets. Brown also said that Spencer would be charged with felony aggravated assault, but was forced to retract that claim when a federal judge refused to sign an arrest warrant.
Bennett survived the incident but remains hospitalized and in stable condition more than a week later. His family said he was off his medication and pacing in the street, so they called police in an attempt to resolve the situation.
“I had a conversation with him, told him to chill out and be cool,” neighbor Maurice Bunch told CBS of his conversation with Bennett before the police arrived. “Out of nowhere they just opened fire on him. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. He never approached them, he never came at them in any threatening manner.”
Every day, there are more reports of those with mental and physical disabilities being attacked, picked on, injured.
ELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Delray Beach police say a mentally challenged man was robbed after he left a store where he bought the new Grand Theft Auto V game.
According to police, Rohan Dawkins saved up for months with money he earned at Home Depot.
On Tuesday, he went to the GameStop on Linton Boulevard and bought the game.
But police say, on his way to the parking lot a married couple stole the game and kicked and punched him.
"This is what ticks me off. He would come in every week and just give the GameStop ten dollars toward the new game. And then they took it all from him," detective Peter Sosa said.
Dawkins says he bought the game so he could play with family.
"I wanted to play the game with my sister and my cousins. I was buying it for my family and me," Dawkins said.
And this week, above in our lead, a young man was stopped, frisked and ran in a panic.. injuring him.
With all of these horrible things happening, it's easy to step back and say: It was that officer. It was that couple. It was that community. It was this, it was that. But there is no denying that the right has played a significant role in portraying these people as less than. And I don't mean just right-wing frothing moth blogs.
The U.S. has spent four years arguing about the political, legal and technological impediments to Obamacare. We may have missed an even higher barrier: the American stigma around feeling like a freeloader.
"Fear of Moochers" "Freeloaders". Bloomberg and others have engaged in a set of rhtetoric that not only devalues many, it implies to a larger audience that in some way these people, poor, disabled or simply suffering are to blame for your lot in life. They are 'mooching' off of you. Making it harder for you to live. They deserve your scorn and hatred.
Diary tags like 'takers' 'moochers' 'freeloaders' are popular buzzwords amongst the right-wing trope cites, filled with fury and vengeance against those who receive assistance - they are making life hard on US, the "good" people who don't need those things.
What has happened in Miami and elsewhere to those who are disabled is sad, but not surprising. We have setup the situation to view groups of people as less than, as villains not because of their actions but because of the conditions of their birth or their financial status.
When we do that, we devalue their life and we cannot be surprised when people act in ways that imply their life has less value.
Pro-Life is valuing all life, and working for the quality of life of all persons. The moment we forget our nations creed: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and we decide people are entitled to less we have all lost.