Monday, September 14, 2009

They do all this when the arrest is on video?

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. had it easy compared to Derryl Jenkins.

Gates, the Harvard professor arrested for disorderly conduct after forgetting the keys to his house and berating a police officer responding to a 9-1-1 report of a break-in at Gates’ house, ended up sharing a beer with President Obama and arresting officer James Crowley.

Derryl Jenkins, a 42-year-old African American man on his way to a riend's house in north Minneapolis last February, was beaten by six Minneapolis police officers after he was pulled over for allegedly going fifteen miles over the speed limit. When he raised questions about the stop, the officers punched and kicked Jenkins repeatedly while he was facedown in a snow bank, breaking two of his teeth and opening a wound above his left eye that required seven stitches to close. They also tasered him three times before placing two sets of handcuffs on him and jailing him for four days.

Neither of the charges brought against Jenkins stuck. Prosecutors dropped assault charges in March, and in July a Hennepin County judge dismissed the charge of refusing to submit to a chemical test.

In August, after obtaining police video of the incident from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, Jenkins and his attorney released the video to the press.

Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan has sent the video to the FBI for review and ordered that all videotaped use of force incidents resulting in injuries be reviewed by internal affairs. “Punching or kicking for passive resistance is not appropriate,” the chief said. Like President Obama, it seems that Chief Dolan wants to at least make this “a teachable moment.”

Meanwhile, Derryl Jenkins continues to have frequent nightmares and has become fearful of the police. No beer summit here; Jenkins has not brought suit against the Minneapolis Police Department, but he has not ruled out the possibility, either

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