Friday, July 31, 2009

UPDATE: Antonio Love's police assailant put on administrative leave

On Tuesday, I wrote (here and elsewhere) about Antonio Love, a deaf and disabled man who was tasered and pepper-sprayed by police when he wouldn't open the bathroom door for them. The case is a perfect example of how the needs of othered bodies are consistently dismissed and anecdotal evidence of the violence that persons with disabilities face.

I didn't know before today that Love was black, and that clearly added to the excessive force involved in the situation. Though his race didn't contribute to the police breaking down the door, I am certain that it had to do with the cruelty inflicted upon Love after the police got in and saw his skin color. Upon that, the deaf and disabled man was tasered three times and then laughed at when his disabilities became apparent. Love's story is clearly another entry in the storied history of police racism in the United States.

Love wrote an account of the gut-wrenching situation:

The full letter is six pages long, and posted at the source above. You can tell how scared he must have been - he talks about the poison, the humiliation of cops laughing at him, of the excessive and potentially lethal tasering. For their part, the police are apparently continuing their investigation, and taking some action:
A Mobile police officer who was involved in an incident where pepper spray and a Taser were used on a deaf and mentally disabled man has been put on administrative duty.

Mobile police gave out a statement Wednesday saying the officer's identity was not being released at this time and that the family of 37-year-old Antonio Love has filed a formal complaint with the department.
My reaction:
  • Love should get a big big settlement.
  • The officer at fault should at the VERY least have his administrative leave coupled with some intensive training on how to deal with disabled persons and people of color in general and hopefully a refresher course on appropriate force before returning to active duty. (I do not think that the officer losing his job would be inappropriate, but I don't know his history).
  • The entire force should undergo some kind of similar but less time-intensive training.
What do you think? Is this an appropriate reaction? What other steps should be taken?

Previous post on Antonio Love


  1. I think that it is possible that there needs to be nation-wide, effective training on tasers. With this incident, and others, excessive force was used. Tasers should be more of a last resort move, like if the officer is endangered.

  2. Despite the fact that a person can die from a Taser being fired at someone, I wouldn't consider it "deadly force."

    Also, I don't understand how Love being African American "clearly added to the excessive force involved in the situation?" It may have, but I didn't see anything saying that that contributed or caused the apparent excessive force in this case.

  3. For those of you who use text readers, here is a transcription of Love's statement.

    Antonio Love

    I'm walked and arrive Popeye. I went into bathroom then I arrive, [word crossed out] walk and run to General Dollar. My stomach need lost weight. [Word unclear] then I just look around. I went into bathroom again and lock the door. I wait, and sit on [word crossed out] toilet. I think around someone try break door. I hold the door hard and umbrella open over me. The police arrive General Dollar and throw poision through under door. I can smell poison and, I'm amazing and shock and I'm turned the water still. I got tissue and put it in the water fill with wet. I'm get wet tissue on nose and get water bottle and [word crossed out] drink water in my [word crossed out] mouth. I'm throwed bottle on floor. I'm turned the water and [word crossed out] get hat [word unclear] put water. I put it my wet hat on nose and mouth. I hold hat on [next page] nose and mouth with breath. I'm mad more hard as wild as strong. Then I'm think someone gone then again someone knock knock hard. Someone hit the door, my head hold the door and my hand put hold lock the door. I spit poison with water. Someone hit hard. I almost fall and surprise the police start to tazz and my body and hand [word crossed out] my [word unclear] body moved and shake more. I said, "Stop!" The police stop tazz. The police drag me more and they checked my pant and rubber boots. Then the police put cuff back [new page] my waits. The police said, "[move or more] [word unclear] go" and I just see the police and I go outside I shake my body. The police stell me tht they heck rubber boots again. I said, "deaf." The police get my black wallet and check [word crossed out] my black wallet. The police call Ambulance then ambulance black some over me then lady sign and I sign. Lady don't understand that I sign hard because shake. Lady talk the police about me. I just look around police. Lady said, "get off cuff." Other lady check her shot [word crossed out] my [word crossed out] hand finger. Other lady said, "my hand is okay." The police put me in police car. I saw boys laugh at me. I saw some [word crossed out] ladies [word crossed out] and girl. I'm ignored people. The polce wait long. I'm patient. We go to building and the police said [new page]

  4. ...Continued:

    "sit." I saw police laugh at me. I don't care them. I don't want escape. I just wait long, the police and I go over other police building. I sign my name then lady said, "[word crossed out] turn front wall." I turn wall and my hand up. I don't understand. The police said, "my hand move on the wall then lady check rubber boots & belt and watch. Then lady get me move into the jail. [word crossed out] Lady luck me. I sit and feel sad. I don't see wall & jail. [word crossed out] Yeah, give my belt to me. I put belt pant. The police and I go over around "[word crossed out] I think Mom [word crossed out] need know where. [word crossed out] the police and [new page] I go over airport Blvd. I try said stop the police come over other streets. The police stop the car and open the door and open other door. Then I [word crossed out] still set and the police [word crossed out] tell me [word crossed out] have to [word crossed out] knock glass wall mean stop. I know where home, and I knock glass wall. Stop. [word crossed out] The police saw [word crossed out] sign number 4031. The police drive over my home and
    I just see he move slow then I knock glass wall and stop. In show the door [word crossed out] #239. The police told me that I'm crazy. I know understand okay. I go home. The police go him somewhere. I told [word crossed out] that I'm scared at crime. My legs, body, and harm and hand [new page] shake. I get bath-room fast. I lay and rest my bedroom. I'm weak as not strong. Someone and I go to General Dollar and someone talk other lady about me crazy mad. Someone and I go home. I just see them. Then they go somehwere. I'm sleeped, rest. We go over General Dollar and see my mom stand. I'm surprised. My mom stared too late. I think "Okay, that's fine, don't worry about my mom." I'm nice to my mom. We go over policebuilding lock and close. Then we go over home. Then I rest more then sleep. Then [word crossed out] I wake up and go bathroom wash my face, then I eat. I just watch TV. Bye.

  5. David, there's a long, long history of police brutality against black people in this country. As soon as the door was opened and Love was seen to be black, excessive force was used on him. Just because they didn't scream slurs while doing it doesn't mean that there is no racism there.

    If one person dies from use of a Taser (and many more than one have) then it constitutes deadly force.

    Wallflower, thanks a ton for the transcript!


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