All too often we watch as Americans of different political stripes approach issues from a starting point that we can’t even recognize what the other person is seeing.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than the conversation surrounding interactions with police officers and citizens engaged in an interaction that leads to the citizen resisting the police officer and the interaction going viral.
A recent event at a Huntsville gas station has created another moment where people see things differently.
Some see a police officer doing his job and coming to the aid of a colleague.
Some see a police officer viciously assaulting a citizen and trying to cause him harm.
The media aren’t interested in making things better and are trying to stoke racial divisions.
Per Alabama Media Group:
By the time the man is handcuffed, five officers are visible in the video. All of them are white and the man they apprehended is Black.
Here is what we know: Kemontae Hobbs had the police called on him by an employee at the gas station for panhandling, and an officer was dispatched. The officer attempted to remove Hobbs from the scene. Hobbs resisted and was taken to the ground.
Some reports indicate he was tased.
While on the ground, a struggle ensued and the first officer involved attempted to restrain the suspect.
At this point, a camera phone comes out and starts recording.
Two other officers appear. One jumps on the suspect to help restrain him while another delivers a series of stomps to the legs of Hobbs who is still resisting.
Seconds later, he is restrained, lifted to his feet, and proceeds to walk off under his own power.
Was it a bit much? Maybe. Was it an attempt to kill and maim? No.
But here is a straightforward stone-cold fact — if Hobbs doesn’t resist, none of this happens.
This might sound familiar. The same could be said for Michael Brown, Eric Garner and George Floyd.
All of these men made a decision to resist, and without that decision, none of them are gone.
So, if your goal is to make these interactions go better, this is where all of these problems start.
Obviously, this doesn’t absolve police of their misconduct, but even if you believe the notion that police officers are seeking out black men to harm and kill, you should still want those situations to be avoided at all costs. If you think police do this for sport, you should not want to create more situations where this becomes possible.
Hating police, creating animosity and inciting more resistance is a bad decision that leads to more dead black men. Period.
During a Wednesday discussion about this situation on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith agreed that we must teach people to stop resisting.
Keith and I disagree on the severity of what happened here, but we only disagree on whether the officer that did the stomping was completely out of line.
Keith says he was, and I say it’s an understandable response to a struggling colleague in the moment.
Further investigation will bear all of this out. Retraining may be necessary, but this shouldn’t be a life-destroying moment.
It’s also a moment that doesn’t need to happen. It could have been far worse, and we agreed that more needs to be done on this issue to tell people to stop resisting.
So, we made a deal.
If Councilman Keith will film some Public Service Announcements and help us get them on TV and radio, on black-focused stations and other stations as well, I will allow Keith or the Huntsville Police Department to tase me with a taser.
We chose this deal because Keith suggested the man should be tased before being struggled with if he did not comply but, again, this seems to have happened here, and the fight went on.
Hopefully, I soon get to feel the jolt of a taser and those ads make it to air.
The fewer interactions we have with citizens resisting arrest, the fewer violent interactions will happen. Fewer violent interactions will lead to fewer injured or dead citizens or police officers.
And whatever you think of the police, their structure and their behavior, this should be the overall goal for every American.
Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.