Tag Archives: violence

Punching People and the Perils of Increased Police Presence [Updated]

by Latoya Peterson


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Two days ago in Seattle, a police officer trying to arrest a woman for jay walking found himself in a sticky situation:

Seattle police say the punch came after the young woman became verbally and physically abusive after a jaywalking stop. Seattle police say it all started after an officer observed four women jaywalking across Martin Luther King Junior Way South. When the officer attempted to stop them, voices and tensions escalated. The officer was attempting to handcuff a 19-year-old woman when her 17-year-old friend tried to intervene.

In the video, you can see the 17-year-old push the officer. That’s when the officer pulls back his arm and punches the teenager in the face.

Seattle police say the officer believed the girl “was attempting to physically affect the first girl’s escape” and when she came at the officer, he “punched her.” As a crowd of people gathered around the officer and suspects, one of the witnesses videotaped the incident.

Eventually the officer managed to handcuff the first suspect as well as the girl he punched. The 19-year-old woman was booked into King County Jail for obstructing an officer. The 17-year-old girl, who was punched, was taken to the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault on an officer. Both females were cited for jaywalking.

The video has touched off a firestorm of controversy surrounding the officer’s conduct and if the officer was justified. Monica Potts, over at Tapped, argues yes. But I’m not convinced. Continue reading

More Violence At South Philadelphia High

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Here’s a front page Philadelphia Inquirer story on South Philadelphia High School ninth grader Lindi Liu, who was assaulted in a bathroom last month. He was exiting a bathroom stall when another student kicked the door inward, bashing him in the head. A month later, he still has nosebleeds and blurred vision: Pain for Asian youth didn’t end with school assault.

As Liu picked himself up off the floor, he could hear the boy laughing.

The incident lasted only seconds, but for Liu, a 16-year-old immigrant from China, the consequences have been profound.

His vision frequently turns blurry, to where he can’t count fingers held in front of his face. He forgets conversations that occurred moments earlier, and sometimes struggles to identify everyday objects, like the chicken on his dinner plate. He gets sudden nose bleeds.

Liu was examined at Chinatown Medical Services on March 25, where the doctor wrote he had blurred vision and should be seen at a hospital. The next day, Liu underwent a CT scan of the head. A week later, a sudden loss of vision sent him to the emergency room for a second CT scan. More tests are pending.

Liu worries that his condition is permanent – and that he could be hurt even worse at school.

“I have this great fear that someone will attack me again,” he said.

The school district insists that Liu was injured “carelessly but unintentionally.” According to a school inquiry, the boy was kicking the doors of the stalls in turn, and didn’t realize Liu was there. However, a witness account contradicts that:

Dong Chen, 19, said the assailant kicked only one of five doors, the one with a broken lock, behind which stood Liu. Chen said when the door hit Liu’s head, “we could hear it, it was so loud. Pow!” Continue reading

South Philly High Asian Students Testify On Assaults

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Yesterday (3/17/10), Asian students from South Philadelphia High School testified at a Student Reform Commission meeting about the daylong series of assaults that sent seven students to hospitals on December 3. Many community members came in support of a 17-year-old Vietnamese student named Hao Luu: Asians tell of anguish over S. Phila. attacks.

Hao Luu’s troubles began Dec. 2 when, Asian activists say, he was accosted in the hall of South Philadelphia High by a student who yanked the earphones out of his ears.

After school that day, Luu was followed by 10 to 15 students and beaten so badly that he vomited. Continue reading

Violently Peaceful: Oppression through “Staying Calm”

by Guest Contributor CVT, originally published at Choptensils

Girl breaking boards

Girl breaking boards

When I moved out of my first place in Portland, I had to head down to the local hardware store, buy some drywall patches and stucco, and fix some holes in the walls of my bedroom.  They were relatively large holes – certainly not normal “wear-and-tear” – and if you looked at them closely (or from a distance, actually) you could swear they were in the exact shape of a right fist . . .

Well – because they were.  In a couple different fits of frustrated anger, I had punched some holes in my walls.  After the second (or third) one, I started thinking about the cost of fixing the holes, so I moved on to hitting a punching bag when I flipped my shit.

And flip my shit, I did.  Not too regularly, but every once-in-awhile, the overwhelming frustrations of circumstances and the world got to me, and I just had to hit something. (*1)  There was no other way for me to let it out.  Or so I thought.

And I remember being really embarrassed by it.  I covered up the holes with art.  I never mentioned it to friends.   In most of my public life, I held myself “calm” and “under control” all the time.  Nobody would have guessed that I would do that kind of thing – that I had any vaguely violent tendencies – because I hid it so well.

And I hid it because I didn’t want anybody to know there was something wrong with me.  I didn’t want people to know that I was a “violent person.”  I didn’t want people to feel unsafe around me.  Because the majority culture told me that those tendencies weren’t “normal.”  In fact, “society” seemed to deem those behaviors on the verge of “pathological.”  Maybe I needed to be medicated or something, because I certainly couldn’t “control” my anger and emotions like I was supposed to be able to do . . .

But the funny thing is, as the years passed, that uncontrollable urge to physically hit something started to go away.  That extreme frustration filled me less and less often – and after I moved into my new place, I never touched that punching bag again.

So what happened?  Did I learn to “control” my emotions?  Was I just more “calm” in my oh-so-wise late-twenties?  What was the big change?

Well, it’s hard to be sure, of course, but – during that time, I just started punching things with my mind, instead .  I began to focus on writing and composing hip-hop and performing spoken word poetry around town.  (*2)  And I did it violently.

I didn’t stop being frustrated.  I didn’t stop being angry.  I didn’t even stop being aggressive – no, this wasn’t sublimation as it is thought of psychologically – I wasn’t changing my rage into something else; it was actually more like the chemistry “sublimation” – where I was distilling and concentrating my frustration into a more pure form – an artistic, peaceful violence. Continue reading

Must brown people be martyred for Americans to be motivated?

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

On May 13, 2008, I wrote:

Saturday night I was watching as CNN covered the tragedy in Myanmar (Burma). I was well aware of the devastation caused by Nagris, the cyclone that ripped the country apart. What shocked me was the graphic nature of CNN’s report. There were bodies and bodies and more bodies–Burmese men, women, even children, dead, bloated, discolored and rotting in the Southeast Asian sun; arms and legs akimbo as if their owners had been tossed like rag dolls. I know this is what death looks like, especially when it takes place in a poor country where the people have been colonized, militarized and rocked by ethnic strife and drug trafficking. But I watched the television and couldn’t help thinking that this video desecration of the already desecrated was another example of how American culture sees brown people as somehow less human. Read more

I am thinking about this again because of Neda Agha Soltani, the young Iranian woman who was gunned down during political protests in Tehran. According to CNN, the martyred woman’s name, which reportedly means “voice” or “calling” in Persian, has become a rallying cry for those protesting fraudulent elections in Iran. This post isn’t about how Neda’s life and death have affected her people, though. It is how her death is being used in this country that is making me uncomfortable.

Neda’s horrific death was captured on video and is all over the Web, including several high-profile blogs and You Tube. Even CNN.com has linked to the unedited video, though the news outlet ran a pixilated version on air. The video shows the young woman, clad in jeans and bright, white tennis shoes, collapsing to the ground, seconds after being shot in the heart. As her father and others attend to her, Neda’s brown eyes seem to focus momentarily on the camera before shifting, glazing. Blood begins to pour from her mouth and nose, covering her face. Her life is gone. You can see it when it goes. It is shocking. If you do not care about what is going on now in Iran, you will after seeing Neda die in the street with her father’s screams growing louder and louder.

But why does the Western world (and here I refer mostly to the dominant culture, not marginalized groups) have to see these things to be shaken from its complacency? Continue reading

Quoted: Queen Latifah on Sexual Abuse

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

For a short period of time when she was a child, Latifah was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a teenager charged with her care. “He violated me,” she says of the abuser. “I never told anybody; I just buried it as deeply as I could and kept people at an arm’s distance. I never really let a person get too close to me. I could have been married years ago, but I had a commitment issue.” Eventually, she opened up to her parents, who separated when she was young. “When I was 22, my brother died, and I knew I couldn’t carry his death and that secret,” she says. “I had to get it off my chest. My mother felt terrible. She was kind of a country girl, so she wasn’t up on how slick people could be. When I told my dad, he said nothing.” Latifah says now that it was scary when her father didn’t respond. “He’s a man of action,” she says.

But Latifah doesn’t blame her parents for what occurred. In fact, she credits them with doing their best to protect her while she was growing up. She points out that one in four girls is sexually abused in some way. “That’s 25 percent of all girls. This is a real problem,” she says. Not unlike many victims of abuse, she wondered if she had played a role in what happened. Her talks with a therapist helped her find the unequivocal answer. “He said, ‘Imagine yourself as an adult and think about what a child can do to you. Can they beat you? Can they defeat you? No. Now, imagine yourself as that child.’ That really helped put things in perspective. I was a kid, and I had no power or control over the situation. I really wish I had the strength and knowledge to say something sooner, because I always wondered, Did he do that to someone else? But I accept that the time for action has come and gone.

—From “I’m the One That They Call Queen,Essence, July 2009 Issue

Kinatay

by Guest Contributor Tanglad, originally published at Tanglad

Let me get this out of the way first. This is not a movie review. It is a review of movie reviews about Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay. Spoilers follow, though the title pretty much tells you what you’re gonna get.

Last weekend, Filipino director Brillante Mendoza won the best director award at the Cannes Festival for the movie Kinatay (”Slaughtered“). Mendoza’s win was a surprise, considering how Kinatay is probably, as Prometheus Brown puts it, the most hated film at Cannes.

Exerpts from Maggie Lee’s synopsis and review at The Hollywood Reporter:

Newly married Peping, who attends the police academy, receives an offer via text message to make a fast buck with a shady friend. By nightfall, he is in a van with a group of vicious gangsters who have kidnapped a bar hostess to demand a loan repayment under orders from an elusive general…

The real time pacing, feels like being stuck in a traffic jam, but the dramatic thrust is relentless as one hears through the muffled darkness, the woman being gagged and beaten mercilessly. The horror escalates to rape, murder and dismemberment. None of this is left to the imagination, with the men’s verbal sexism being equally distasteful.

That was a positive review. (See here to view Kinatay excerpts, and here for a round-up of reviews and more background on the film.)

Roger Ebert’s review, charmingly titled “What were they thinking of?”, is typical of how critics who hated Kinatay approached the movie. There is hardly any discussion of the merits of the movie itself, and instead a whole lot of indignation over the unpleasantness that viewers were subjected to:

It is Mendoza’s conceit that it his Idea will make a statement, or evoke a sensation, or demonstrate something–if only he makes the rest of the film as unpleasant to the eyes, the ears, the mind and the story itself as possible…

No drama is developed. No story purpose is revealed…

Continue reading

Of Thin Blue Lines, Race, and Stereotypes

by Latoya Peterson

On Friday, I was in transit when I saw the message pop up on Thea’s twitterfeed:

White NYC cop fatally shoots black NYC cop, mistaking him for an armed criminal: http://bit.ly/QXgtq Aiyeee. (thanks @sunnykins)11:23 AM May 29th from web

Damn, really?

The New York Times has the scoop:

A New York City police officer who had just gotten off duty was fatally shot late Thursday in East Harlem by a fellow officer who mistook him for an armed criminal, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said.

The officer who was killed, Omar J. Edwards, 25, a two-year veteran who was assigned to patrol housing projects and was wearing plain clothes, was shot in the arm and chest after a team of three other plainclothes officers in a car came upon him chasing a man on East 125th Street between First and Second Avenues with his gun drawn, Mr. Kelly said.

The team’s members, assigned to the anticrime unit in the 25th Precinct, got out of their vehicle and confronted Officer Edwards. The police were investigating whether the officers had identified themselves or demanded that Officer Edwards drop his weapon before one of them opened fire.

The shooting officer is white. The deceased officer is black. All kinds of racial inferences can be drawn from this description of the scenario. But is that the whole story? Continue reading