Friday, August 9, 2013

Iowa Police Beat Woman Shoplifter

There's no excuse for violence against women. We hear that theme constantly in society today. There are public and private messaging campaigns dedicated to telling men just that. However the real saying should be "There's no excuse for violence against women...unless you're a cop". Just ask admitted shoplifter Brandie Redell, who after being caught stealing in a Davenport, Iowa Von Maur department store, was treated to an apparently unprovoked and vicious beating when either her words or demeanor set off the police officers who were detaining her. I am not overly fond of cops for precisely these sorts of incidents. Of course no one is perfect. Who among us hasn't been angry enough to lay hands upon someone at some point in our life? Anyone can temporarily lose it. That is the state of the human condition. No my issue is that it's precisely because society authorizes police officers to detain, arrest, use violence against and even kill people that police activities need to be completely above board.

If a husband threw his wife a beating, gave her a black eye and damaged her eyesight because he claimed she bit him or was looking the wrong way at him or was clenching her fists, would anyone really give him the benefit of the doubt? Probably not, especially if the man was much larger than the woman and armed to boot. And if video evidence surfaced that showed that the man was actually the one who initiated the violence, well then the man would stand revealed as a liar. In today's environment he'd probably have some civil if not criminal issues to address. But if you're a cop, then you have a get out of jail free card as prosecutors will ignore the video and supervisors will downplay the apparent policy violation. After all you should be believed over a shoplifting white woman that evidently hangs out with black people. Watch video below.



As you can see the video contradicts the officer's claim that he hit Brandi Redell after she bit him. He has to walk to her in order to initiate contact. Is is possible that she bit him, ran over and sat down before the video started recording? It's possible but doubtful in my opinion. It appears that just as Redell stated, she and Officer Crow were engaged in some sort of verbal back and forth when the police officer lost his patience and decided to administer some street justice right then and there. And the reason the officer may have lost his patience? He could have just lost his temper. He might have just learned that his dog died. It could be racial animus and sexualized jealousy. Of course no one really knows but the officer involved. But in this country you'd be foolish to automatically dismiss the last as reasons.
Redell, who has two previous shoplifting convictions, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of shoplifting and is due in court on Aug. 23.She told CBS Chicago that the beating appeared to be triggered by a call she made to her boyfriend to ask him to pick the child up. The boyfriend, James Gibson, is a community activist who has conducted race sensitivity training with police. Redell said that when one of the officers heard his name, he told her "This is going to get ugly, real quick."
There is no audio on the surveillance video. "I don't think the police were really thrilled that a white woman was calling a black man for help, especially one that they already weren't fond of," she told CBS.
Davenport's Police Chief Frank Donchez said his department's investigation didn't find any evidence of racial bias. "Our policy says you are to conduct yourself in a professional manner." Was he within policy? No. Do we need to conduct an internal investigation? Yes," Donchez told CBS.
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Men are often neutral to negative to one of "their" women shall we say "frolicking" with some man of a different race. That rightly or wrongly appears to be hardcoded in a lot of humans. So perhaps Officer Crow saw an opportunity to lash out against a woman who was not only giving him lip as he saw it but was sleeping with the enemy? I don't know. But I do know that traditionally a male role is to provide and protect. It is one of the worst insults to someone to harm their family, particularly a wife, mother, sister, daughter or girlfriend. Officer Crow's alleged statements would seem to indicate that Redell's connection with Gibson may have set him off. We've written before about tiffs between men and women. I don't like to see them. But arguably if a woman initiates physical confrontation she must be at least cognizant of the possibility that the man will respond in kind. Is it right? No. But it's life. In this case, at least from what the video shows, I don't see the woman initiating physical contact. It's the men. And it's quite cowardly to hold someone down while someone else beats them. Evidently Officer Crow is a real Billy Bada$$ in a fight, as long as he's punching a woman that's being restrained. Needless to say the prosecutors refused to file charges against Officer Crow. The Davenport Police Department has so far not fired the officers involved.

We've also discussed before with our two fine attorneys who blog here, The Janitor and Old Guru, about when a citizen may defend themselves against illegal police activity. Their general consensus IIRC was that the best bet was to just try to survive the event and do battle in court. That's good advice. However there are some police officers who delight in brutalizing citizens under cover of law. Such people are bullies. I'm not sure they deserve the respect or deference normally given to officers of the law. Eventually cops like that are going to try that tactic with someone who has nothing to lose and doesn't give a rat's a$$ about their badges or guns. Obviously no one condones shoplifting. Redell needs to go to jail for a while until she learns not to steal. Someone should have told to her as I've heard before "I can buy anything in this store. But if I can't buy it you don't need it. Don't ever steal." But the sentence for shoplifting or talking on the phone is not a beatdown in a backroom in front of your child.

What are your thoughts?

Did Redelle get what she deserved? Could this be justified if the officer told her to get off the phone and she refused?

Is this a clear case of police brutality?

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