We could refer to this as the “From Malum Prohibitum to Murder” model of police escalation. Citizens who aren’t killed in such encounters can expect to be punished for the impudence they display by surviving. Police officers responsible for the actual crimes of violence will not face prosecution, owing to the evil doctrine of “qualified immunity.” A recent episode in Florida resulted in several charges — including attempted murder — against a man whose only apparent “offense” was to refuse to submit to a beating by a police officer.The assault began when an officer named Ronald Cannella who had attempted to pull over a man named Livingston Manners for allegedly running a stop light dragged the driver from his vehicle and threw him to the ground in a gas station. It’s quite likely that Manners, in justifiable fear for his safety, sought a well-lit area for the encounter with the brigand.Security camera video shows that Manners was compliant and non-aggressive as the officer tried to “build the stop” by searching his vehicle. The officer eventually reached into the vehicle and pulled Manners from it, and the victim does nothing to resist, holding his hands face-up and to the sides. Cannella can be seen putting a forearm on the face and the throat of his victim, and then punching him repeatedly. Although no audio is available, it’s certain that this attack was punctuated with the rapist’s refrain, “Stop resisting!”Cannella eventually places the victim on his back and appears to be attempting to place a chokehold on him. Manners defends himself with a maneuver similar to the “guard” position from Jiu-Jitsu, trapping the uniformed assailant’s arms and holding him at bay for roughly 45 seconds until the aggressor’s comrades arrive.At no point in the struggle is Manners seen making an aggressive move, or touching the throat of the assailant. It is possible that the victim applied a lapel choke — but if he did so this came after Cannella had already repeatedly struck him and, apparently, attacked his own throat first.
Southern Poverty Law Center
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