“I’m going to punch you again.”
Over the weekend, Denorver “Dee” Garrett was wrestled to the ground and arrested by several Louisville Metro Police officers. While pinned face down on a concrete sidewalk, one of the officers punched Dee in the head several times.
He was downtown protesting police brutality, and he became its latest victim. Officially, he was arrested for “causing a disturbance to the public and causing a safety issue to motorists,” and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest according to the citation.
At one point on a video taken of the assault, Dee can be heard saying, “You just punched me!”
“I’m going to punch you again,” one officer responded, before leaning into three more brutal punches to Dee’s face and head.
The officer should be fired and criminally prosecuted, as any other violent criminal would be prosecuted.
First, there is no ambiguity or question of the brutality Dee suffered. After being released from jail, he spoke to the media just outside of the courthouse — a few feet away from the spot on the sidewalk where he was attacked — and his swollen eye, bruises and cuts evidenced the severity of the assault.
Police Chief Erika Shields announced LMPD will conduct an internal investigation into the officer and supervisor. “This raises serious questions and is not consistent with LMPD training,” Shields said in a statement about the video.
That’s simply unacceptable.
Whatever questions Shields might have, video of the attack provides enough answers to demonstrate this officer is clearly unqualified for the job:
Where he failed has nothing to do with training — it cannot be fixed with department policies or operating procedures. It was a failure of common sense.
He lacks common sense, self-awareness and basic, human decency. He’s selfish. He demonstrated reckless disregard for human life, human rights and every other police officer — with LMPD and across the country.
Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse, either. To be a police officer, today, you have to be aware that the biggest story in the country, right now, is the trial of a police officer who killed a Black man by kneeling on his neck for almost 10 minutes. You have to be aware that the person you are punching in the face is protesting where protesters of police brutality have been rallying for a year. You have to understand — or at least expect — that you are being videoed every time you engage with someone in public. (That little camera on your uniform should have tipped you off.)
Add it all up — rather, any one of these failings is evidence this officer is not qualified for the job.
You don’t have to believe my liberal, virtue-signaling wokeness. Take the “woke” words of religious, conservative televangelist Pat Robertson: “We don’t have the finest in the police department …. We need police. We need them and we need to honor them and I’m all for it,” he continued. “But at the same time, we cannot have a bunch of clowns running around who are underpaid and who really are not the best and brightest. We’ve got to have the best in there.”
We need the best in there, and we need to hold them to an even higher standard. And we need a police force that will defend that higher standard.
What happened to Dee over the weekend was completely unacceptable. His human rights were violated, violently and criminally. And when the police violate one person’s rights, it is only reasonable for everyone to question whether government is holding up its end of the original bargain.
There is no question that Dee was the victim of a violent crime. But, this officer’s selfish, criminal act was also a gut punch to the rest of the community, still suffering from previous acts of police violence, and further destroying faith in our government.