It took eight cops and four police cars to arrest Christina West, 44-year-old mother of two, in Florida, for alleged DUI, and less than three minutes to smash her face onto the hood of a cruiser and then onto the ground. With so much force that she suffered a broken orbital bone, a bleeding nose and multiple bruises.
A bone-chilling video of the arrest – where the 5’4” woman is held on the asphalt by two officers, among blood-curdling screams – has been already published by many websites. My belief is that posting footage of this kind doesn’t add much to the discourse on State violence, nor it does foster a possible reaction. Brutality videos pretty much account for the kind of impotent voyeurism our we’re forced to: they’re painful to watch, they’re good to get indignant quickly. But after a few seconds, they’re over. We let this infamy fall behind the disputes over subway fares, car parking or house rentals.
Yet every time I stumble on a fresh masterpiece of power-tripping cops, I can’t help but sharing, and get my part of indignation. Numbers are astonishing and not just in Florida: about five hundred people lost their life killed by the police in the US, last year.
How many, in comparison, where killed in Sweden? Zero. Nil. Nought.
(Of course, some liberals will say that Sweden has a population thirty times smaller, and this is the cost to pay for safer cities in the Land of the Free.)
Time Magazine – the magazine of the Establishment – once featured a photo of a young girl with a mutilated nose on the cover, with the title: “What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan”.
The implication was that “we” (who?) must have stayed there, in order to fight Talibans brutality. The editor-in-chief of that issue is now working for the State Department. (From one PR job to another). I wonder if their strategy of hitting straight into the heart of the public wouldn’t be better than mine.
I wonder if we’ll ever get to see a cover featuring Christina West, or the many people battered, tasered or murdered by the enforcers of the Law. Probably one big mosaic wouldn’t be sufficient so include all the most shameful cases. Andfeaturing POC wouldn’t be effective enough, considering the average Time reader.
A single photograph of a diminutive, gracious white lady turned into a bloody mess — that might do trick.
We need to bring this into the mainstream, don’t you think? With the same coarse, manipulative incisiveness of a Time front page.
(p.s.: the photo for the cover image was released by Mr. West when she filed a notice of intent to sue the city of Tallahassee for excessive force.)