A video showing a police officer beating an unarmed young Black male was going viral on Tuesday in what appeared to be the latest instance of police brutality in California. The footage, apparently filmed by a bystander in the town of Rancho Cordova, captured the unidentified white officer on the ground struggling with a reported teenager and unsuccessfully trying to handcuff him.
The video was posted to Twitter on Monday — the day it reportedly happened — with the tweet claiming that it showed an officer with the Rancho Cordova Police Department (RCPD) targeted the boy over a cigar.
“RCPD brutally tackled and hit my best friend’s 14 year old brother today over a swisher sweet!” the tweet said. “The officer had no reason to brutalize and traumatize this boy like this! He has a pre existing health condition which could be fatal under this kind of stress! Unjustifiable!”
RCPD brutally tackled and hit my best friend’s 14 year old brother today over a swisher sweet! The officer had no reason to brutalize and traumatize this boy like this! He has a pre existing health condition which could be fatal under this kind of stress! Unjustifiable! pic.twitter.com/94fqyu3J28
— De$ (@destiinoo_) April 28, 2020
While Swisher Sweets cigars are popularly hollowed out and used to roll marijuana, there was neither any reference to weed in the tweet nor on the video.
The 15-second clip may not have been long enough for some viewers to fully grasp the context to the encounter, but even if it was over a “Swisher Sweet” it should be noted that recreational marijuana is legal in California. Granted, the minimum age for people to consume marijuana in California is older than the reported age of the victim on the video. However, police training, in theory, should have properly prepared officers to handle minors no matter what the offense, but especially if the alleged crime was a non-violent one like marijuana use.
Notably, the police officer from the department in suburban Sacramento wasn’t wearing any personal protective equipment to guard both himself and anyone near him against possibly contracting the coronavirus, the high.y contagious respiratory disease ravaging America and especially northern California.
Considering that a rising number of cities have begun ordering their police departments to either delay arrests for nonviolent offenses or stop them altogether, the response by the police officer in Rancho Cordova appeared to be egregious at worst and criminal at best. According to RCPD’s website, crime statistics for the city have been trending down all year. While seemingly every crime from murder to robbery to arson is listed on the cite, conspicuously missing is any reference to marijuana. Of course, that’s probably because, as mentioned earlier, marijuana is fully legal in the state of California.
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