17 June 2010

Police Officer Punches Woman

I'm probably not going to be in the majority with my opinion on this, but I truly believe that the woman who was punched created the situation. She brought it upon herself. The police officer is dealing with an unruly individual who is resisting, the second individual interferes with the officer in an aggressive manner, and the officer strikes the second individual. Hindsight being what it is, I'm sure that the officer wishes that he had not thrown a punch, but he was attempting to control a situation in which one person was resisting and another was interfering.

Now, the first issue that most people will have with this is the age-old "you don't hit a woman" mentality. That was great when women were docile homemakers and weren't involved in the world of men, but times have changed. Women have demanded equality with men, and this one just received an eye-opening dose of it.

Consider what the reaction would have been if the person who had interfered with the police officer, and who was subsequently struck, had been a man. People may still have felt that the officer shouldn't have throw a punch, but I don't think there would have been same emotional response that we are now seeing because the recipient of the strike was a woman.

The second issue that many people will have with this incident is one of proportionality. I believe that the police officer made a poor decision, both on a tactical and public relations level, but I truly think that he was just attempting to end the interference of a second individual quickly. Still, people will complain that the officer didn't need to strike her because she only initiated a grab.

As it is, proportionality is a B.S. argument. Generally, the proportionality argument is made after an aggressive act is responded to with a more effective use of aggression. The people who make the proportionality argument are usually the ones who instigate a situation, and then are surprised when they end up on the losing end in response to their initial instigation.

The second woman stopped using words, and then she increased her interaction with the police officer to a level of physical aggression. She did not respond to the situation proportionally to begin with, because until she chose to be physically aggressive, the interaction between her and the officer was on a verbal level.

The talking heads will try to make this into a racism and police brutality issue. Few, if any, will address the inappropriateness of the actions of the civilians in this case, though. What actually occurred will be blurred and reduced to some pithy jokes and sound-bites.

At the end of the day, however, the facts will remain that a police officer was attempting to execute his duties, the person he was interacting with resisted legitimate authority and actions, and a third party physically interfered with the officer.

If the community doesn't like that the police will respond physically when physical aggression is used against them, then maybe the community shouldn't be physically aggressive with the police to begin with. And if that is not acceptable to the community, then maybe the police should patrol around (but not in) the community, and let the community police itself.


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