I’m waiting to see the formation of “Police Against Police Brutality”. Until some loud voices within law enforcement start condemning the atrocities committed by their co-workers, they are essentially aiding and abetting the violation of individual’s rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Cops should not be surprised by the rising distrust of police officers, when they fail to condemn abuses perpetuated from their own ranks. Unless police are willing to purge their organizations of thugs and criminals, they should not expect cooperation or respect from the innocent public. After all, we are just trying to get home to our families at the end of the day.
But in an incident occurring Labor Day Weekend 2012, New York City police seemed more interested in displaying their “authority” and how big their… muscles are, than “protecting and serving” until they could return to the safety of their home at the end of their shift. But there is no safety in the private residences of the streets they patrol. A man, Edwin Avellanet, was approached by officers while taking out the trash at his mother’s Staten Island home. They asked why there was an orange cone in the street, and he told them it was to reserve a parking spot. After asking the man for his identification, the man acted within his rights protected by the Fourth amendment to refuse to show the officers his ID. The man then ran back into his mother, Evelyn Lugo’s home, rightfully fearing what the officers would do next. According to the Daily Caller:
Police pursued him, broke down the door of Lugo’s house and entered without a warrant. The officers then attacked the other people in the house, according to Lugo’s lawsuit. Several members of the family were pepper sprayed and beaten with clubs, causing bruises, welts and other injuries.
But the cruelest and most senseless act of violence was reserved for Lugo’s pet parakeet, Tito. Officers overturned Tito’s cage, knocking the pretty green bird out into the apartment. Lugo’s daughter, Anna Febles, begged the police to be careful with Tito. Instead, they smashed him.
“I screamed, ‘The bird!’” said Febles in a statement. “And he said, ‘F— the bird,’ and he, like, stepped on it.”
…“I was hurt on the inside, in my heart,” said Lugo, reacting to the death of her bird and the injuries to her children, grandchildren and friends.
After the home invasion and assault on the family, the police officers charged them with various crimes, which were eventually dropped, because obviously the police were the only criminals in this instance. This traumatic incident has caused depression and anxiety for the homeowner and mother of ten, whose family and friends were assaulted and beaten by police after they smashed several first floor windows, and kicked down the door.
According to the NYDailyNews, more police arrived and swarmed the house before violently throwing Lugo to the ground, and arresting her daughter who had ducked into another room after suffering an asthma attack brought on by the cops’ pepper spray. Luis Ortega, who is pictured below with injuries inflicted by the police officers, was also originally charged, before all charges were dismissed and sealed. It is these arrests which form the basis of the lawsuit for malicious prosecution, as well as unlawful search and seizure, and excessive force. No warrant was obtained by police before entering the house. The incident was entirely based on Avellant’s refusal to show ID, and subsequent retreat into the home.
While police today get away with crimes unthinkable to civilians, they should be held to a higher standard than the public, because of the power they have. There is no indication that the officers involved were even punished internally, let alone charged with breaking and entering, assault and battery, and destruction of property. I would also add intimidating a witness based on the fact that their victims were charged with crimes. And after being convicted, judges should come down on police officers more heavily than the general public because of the trust they have betrayed. But instead we live in a world where police can hide behind their badge and uniform to remain criminal thugs at large. And if people like this aren’t punished, is it any wonder that police attract to their ranks those who want to beat, abuse, and harass?
If you are a police officer who does not violate people’s rights, you should be more outraged than anyone. Your criminal co-workers are placing you in the same category as thugs with badges, and you need to take a stand against these atrocities, or accept that you are complicit in crimes disgusting for gang members, never-mind police.