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20 Years after Rodney King Beating, Police Brutality Still a Major Problem for Black Youth

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20 Years after Rodney King Beating, Police Brutality Still a Major Problem for Black Youth

CNN | March 3, 2011

(From Colorlines)  What has changed in the last twenty years is people’s access to cameras in order to film everyday interactions with police. The medium has become a crucial tool for demanding accountability for violent acts of unwarranted brutality. Rates of police brutality may not be going up, but there’s certainly much more undeniable proof of it today. In just the last year, Seattle police officer Shandy Cobane was caught on videokicking 21-year-old Martin Monetti and shouting, “I’ll beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you, homey! You feel me?” Another Seattle cop, Ian Walsh, was filmed punching a black teen in the face during a scuffle after she jaywalked across the street. Last month Houston police were caught on video beating a 15-year-old black boy with kicks and punches, even after he was handcuffed on the ground. Last summer bystanders whipped out their cell phones in time to film a Border Patrol officer crossing into Mexican territory from Texas and shooting a 15-year-old boy named Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca, who died at the scene.

But even this irrefutable evidence is no guarantee that police officers will be charged, let alone sanctioned, for their brutality. Seattle’s city prosecutor Dan Satterberg cleared Cobane of both criminal and hate crimecharges. Houston police chief Charles McClelland defended his department against community criticism about the attack. He argued that he had the offending officers disciplined immediately, but the video only surfaced last month.  (Read more)