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Police officers killed another innocent person this week. This time the victim was an overweight, asthmatic Fort Worth man. Police entered his home looking for cocaine, which they failed to find. CBS Dallas Fort Worth talked to the mother of Jarmaine Darden, 34.
“They physically pulled him off the couch because, like I said, he was asleep,” Donna Randle said. “They pulled him off the couch and they tried to put him on his stomach. He can’t breathe on his stomach. He don’t even lie on the bed on his stomach.”
The report claimed Darden resisted arrest, but there were witnesses who claim otherwise. His mother explains: “He had his hands behind his back the whole time,” Randle said. “But me and about five other people were hollering the whole time, ‘He cannot breathe like that. Please handcuff him on his side.’”
Officers ignored the family when they warned that Darden could not breathe on his stomach. Instead, the officers told Darden to get on his stomach or get tased, and then tased him twice, until he stopped breathing.
How can a seated man in obviously very poor health pose enough of a threat to officers that force is necessary? And why, for the love of all that’s holy, were police in his home in the first place? He did not have cocaine, and even if he did, there is no way in hell anyone needed to die over it.
Home invasions are scary situations, and on an individual level I don’t blame police officers for being too quick with a taser if they feel afraid. But there’s clearly a problem when police feel free to tase, or beat people to death, or shoot them at traffic stops for handing over BB guns, at will. And this fear is precisely the reason home invasions should be very rare occurrences. And that’s one huge problem with the war on drugs: It has caused a huge spike in the violence and frequency of raids of private residences, all while utterly failing to reduce the sale or use of drugs. Let’s not forget it also leads to horrible stuff like police going undercover to Bust autistic schoolchild for marijuana.
Do you think the war on drugs has been worth the militarization of police, erosion of civil liberties and loss of lives?
Written by Cathy Reisenwitz.
Follow Cathy on Twitter at @CathyReisenwitz, and check out her blog: sexandthestate.com.
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