Geologic (Blue Scholars) Asks Seattle Mayor to Investigate Alleged Police Misconduct
Twitter has been a catalyst for many changes since its inception. It’s given fans direct connection to their favorite musicians and athletes, served as a new way to propagate news and even changed the way people do business. Twitter can also serve as a way for individuals to speak to their elected officials (assuming that they actually check their own account). Geologic, best known as one-half of the group Blue Scholars, used his tweets as such a podium today, when he called upon the Mayor of Seattle to further investigate accusations of police misconduct that stem from the October 18 arrest of a young black man.
“Dear [Seattle Mayor, Mike McGinn]: as your favorite Seattle MC (your words),” the MC wrote in his tweet to the Mayor, “I implore you to do whatever you can to hold SPD accountable for their actions.”
Immediately following his message to the mayor, Geologic tweeted a link to a story from KIROTV.com, a local news outlet in Seattle. “Seattle Officer Kicks Juvenile in Groin, Chest, Head,” the headline reads, accompanied with a video of the violent acts caught on camera.
In the video, a young man is clearly standing in the middle of a convenience store with his hands raised when an undercover officer kicks him in the groin, sending him the ground. The officer then proceeds to kick the boy again, in both the chest and the head.
Officers have charged the the juvenile in question was associated with a near-by drug sting, where a different undercover officer was struck in the face. But, according to the surveillance footage, it is clear that the young man enters the store coming from the opposite direction of those events and walks in slowly and calmly.
According to the report, the video marks the latest in a string of questionable interactions between the Seattle Police Department and minority residents.
TheRoot.com reports that just this past Spring and Summer two other incidents caught on tape have caused a flurry of skepticism on the grounds of fair treatment for minorities by police. One video depicts a police officer hurling racial slurs at a Hispanic man while he is being questioned for a robbery, followed by two officers stomping on the man’s hand and leg. It was later revealed that they had misidentified him as the suspect and he was released.
A second video, which surfaced on June 14, revealed that a police officer punched a teenage woman in the face after they scuffled while she was being arrested for jay-walking.
Tensions remain high nationwide for police and minority relations, following the recent sentencing of Johannes Mehserle — the officer who shot and killed unarmed civilian Oscar Grant in Oakland, CA on New Year’s Day, 2009. Mehserle was sentenced to serve two years for the killing, although many civil-rights and minority-rights activists contested that he should be sentenced to a stiffer penalty.
In Seattle, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asked that the U.S. Justice Department launch an investigation into the conduct of the Seattle Police Department following the release of the video footage that corresponds with the arrest.
Today, the SPD released a new statement, which says that the department is already considering bringing in an outside agency to investigate the incident.
“Chief John Diaz has directed the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) to expedite the gathering of preliminary evidence and information into the videotaped arrest of a 17 year old robbery and assault suspect on October 18th,” reads the statement. “The purpose of this expedited review is to determine if the internal investigation into this incident should be referred to an outside law enforcement agency.”
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