With the exception of the annual Black Friday door-buster sales, Wal-Mart stores normally aren’t the venue for beatings so it was a shock to shoppers watching police pummel a man in the middle of an aisle on Saturday. In yet another display of escalating police violence, cops in Greenville, South Carolina pursued a man into the friendly neighborhood Wally World over the weekend and then after chasing him down commenced to pummel him – before they Tasered him. The victim, who by accounts as well as in video footage appeared to be intoxicated, was pursued into the big box store where he was subdued by two officers. One of whom punched the man in the head multiple times despite pleas from Wal-Mart customers to stop,landing up to 20 blows.
According to reports from Greenville television station WSPA-7 in a story posted on their website entitled “Video Spurs Questions Of Arresting Methods After Deputies Tase Man Inside Walmart”:
An arrest Saturday led to some witnesses thinking the arresting officers went a little far.
In a video sent to 7 On Your Side, you can see a man lying on the floor of the Walmart on Whitehorse Road and the deputies attempting to arrest him. Witnesses from the scene felt the officer’s actions went too far, but the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.
According to Greenville County Master Deputy Jonathan Smith, deputies responded around 1:00pm Saturday to a call about an intoxicated man outside the Walmart.
He said the first deputy arrived to find the man acting erratic outside the store. The deputy approached the man and tried to speak to him. The man apparently kept repeating “I’m 911” to the deputy before walking away inside the store.
Smith said the second deputy arrived and the decision was made to enter the store and arrest the man. He says the man was resisting enough that a deputy had to use a taser in order to arrest him.
Smith said the man was taken outside the store and transported to a Greenville hospital. Smith said the man is undergoing evaluation to determine if he was under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Several videos have surfaced of the incident on the internet. Smith says they are reviewing them and will comment further at a later time.
A reasonable person might figure that the nation’s police forces would be very careful in the aftermath of incidents in Ferguson, Missouri as well as cognizant to how easy that it is to trigger a public relations nightmare but not the boys in blue in Greenville who are now enjoying their ten minutes of fame.
Robby Soave comments in a blog post at the libertarian website Reason online “Cop Hits Man in the Head 20 Times as Onlookers Plead ‘Don’t Punch Him No More’”:
Once the cops have pinned a non-violent suspect to the ground, how many times are they allowed to punch him in the head? Is it fewer than 20? I would say so, but I’m not a Greenville County, South Carolina, deputy.
Greenville officers approached a man at a Walmart parking lot on Saturday. The man appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and didn’t respond to police questions or instructions. Eventually, the officers followed the man inside the store, where they attempted to detain him. The deputies claim the man resisted, though video footage of the incident certainly makes said resistance look passive, rather than violent. But once the two cops had the man on the ground, one of them immediately began punching him in the head. I count at least 20 blows.
Onlookers were horrified, and begged the deputies to stop. Many thought the treatment of the man was cruel, according to WSPA.com. “Please don’t punch him like that, don’t punch him no more,” said one witness. (More video footage can be seen here.)
The man was eventually tasered and then taken to the hospital. Police have not given his name or explained what the charges against him are. The department is reviewing the footage, however, to determine whether the deputy acted properly when he punched a helpless man in the head over and over and over again.
Maybe the dude was being an A-hole, was overly obnoxious or just guilty of the cardinal sin of not being sufficiently subservient to the police but the beating is another ugly look at the terrible state of law-enforcement in the post-9/11 iteration of the U.S.A. that is referred to as The Homeland. The South Carolina Wal-Mart thumping would be far less disturbing were it to have just been an isolated incident. Instead it provides another piece in the much larger mosaic of police violence in America circa 2014.
The beatings, tear gassing, Taser attacks, body cavity violations (including anal probes) and obvious setups have now become all too frequent in American law enforcement. I know that there are good cops out there – and seeing crap like this must really piss them off – but the system itself is badly broken. We can see it on a daily basis and unless there is a national effort to demilitarize the police and enforce accountability we are all going to wake up one day in a fully fascist state. The analogy of the “boiling frog” has never been more evident nor as relevant to American society as it is today.
The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.
How’s the water today folks, warm enough yet?