Saturday, July 21, 2018

Police Officer Sexually Assaults Black Man in Washington D.C.

What exactly is the proper protocol to use when someone attempts to sexually assault you? Well there isn't any one correct response for every situation. Some victims may fight back; others may try to escape or run away. Still others may freeze and just attempt to survive. 
It all depends on the victim's perception of his or her circumstances. It's all very easy to say what someone should have done if you're not that person, weren't in their situation, and have never been so violated. Sheep can talk a lot of nonsense about what they would do to the wolves right up until the time that the wolves show up. 
Stop fingering me though, bruh!” That’s what one Washington, D.C., man told a metro police officer during a body cavity search on Sept. 27, 2017, according to the ACLU. Now the civil rights group is helping him sue the police department, calling video of the incident “shocking and unjustified.”
The lawsuit says it began when officers drove up to 39-year-old M.B. Cottingham and friends as they sat on folding chairs on a public sidewalk. There was an open bottle of alcohol nearby, and they were celebrating Cottingham’s birthday, according to the lawsuit.

Officers pulled up and asked whether the group had weapons, and they said they did not. The lawsuit says it was not clear why the officers pulled up in the first place, as the open bottle of alcohol was “was on the ground at the curb behind a parked car” and not visible from the middle of the street.

The lawsuit says Cottingham asked officers whether they wanted him to pour out the alcohol, and he was told not to and then was asked what was in one of his socks.

Cottingham then removed a bag with less than an eighth of an ounce of marijuana from his sock, which is a legal amount to possess in the district, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit says that “as an African-American man in the District,” Cottingham had been “frisked in an aggressive manner several times, and beaten by police on a couple of occasions,” and so knew the officer intended to frisk him.

He asked an officer whether he should do the “hokey pokey,” and the officer said yes. That’s when the lawsuit says things took an inappropriate turn.

Video of the police encounter was posted to YouTube a few days after the police encounter. It shows Cottingham squatting with his hands up and allowing an officer, later identified as Sean Lojacono, to frisk him.
Lojacono begins patting between Cottingham’s legs and moves toward his behind, when Cottingham suddenly jumps away and says: “Come on man .... Don’t do that. He stuck his finger in my crack man, don’t do that.”

Lojacono puts his hand back between Cottingham’s legs and feels around when Cottingham flinches again and says, “Come on, stop fingering me though, bruh!”
“Stop moving,” Lojacono says.
“You’re fingering my ass! What you mean!” 

“I was sexually assaulted by the officer, in my opinion,” Cottingham told News4. He said the officer made the encounter more traumatic with what he said over his loudspeaker as he drove away. “How you all doing WorldStar?” he’s heard saying on the video. “How you all doing WorldStar?LINK

I am reading a book by Professor Tommy Curry titled "The Man-Not". A theme of that book is that critical theory and feminist theory have deliberately ignored the reality of how lived Black masculinity in particular and raced masculinity in general simply doesn't fit into theories about hegemonic patriarchy. Black men as a group simply don't have that kind of power in America or in any white dominant society. You can't exercise patriarchal power worthy of the name when you can be sexually assaulted (and that is what happened to Mr. Cottingham here) at any time and any place by bored, sadistic, sexually frustrated(?) agents of the state.  I don't seem to hear about rectal searches and testicle grabs happening to too many people besides Black men.

It's important to contextualize things here. We (rightfully) cheer the Georgia waitress who responded with violence to a man who groped her. But if Cottingham or his friends had done the same to the cops, few people would support them. And they would have been risking their lives. So in this aspect a white woman can be said to have a right to bodily integrity that a Black man doesn't. 

There is no legal solution to this. Whatever the courts rule on this particular case police departments across America have made it obvious that they intend to continue imposing violence, often sexually tinged, on Black people, especially Black men. Most people don't care. The courts have shrugged their collective shoulders. Police departments and cities haven't reached the point, via civil, internal, or criminal sanctions, rare as those are, where they are determined to stop this behavior. It is a joke to most cops.

Somehow though, police departments were able to refrain from fingering Cliven Bundy's bottom or private parts. They did so because Cliven Bundy and friends made it crystal clear that anyone who tried that was going to get his head blown off. Frederick Douglass patiently explained to us years ago that there are times in this world where you must fight.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
So although the response to an attempted or actual sexual assault may vary widely I don't think that most rational people would dispute the victim's right to resist by any means necessary. This means violence. Americans need to get over the idea that just because a man or woman puts on a blue uniform they suddenly become morally infallible. A thug or rapist wearing a blue uniform is no different than any other criminal. And if we would resist or kill anyone trying to sexually assault us, we should do the same to criminal police. This country was born in rebellion over tax, tariff and political representation disputes. But now we're supposed to accept cops sexually assaulting citizens on the street??? No. Black men have to fight back.
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