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.My reaction:
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.
- 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.
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