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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/9/14

Time to Get Rid of Racist Policing in the United States

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Cross-posted from Smirking Chimp

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It's time to get rid of the United States' racist policing double-standards.

Earlier this summer, Kalamazoo, Michigan police officers were called to respond to reports of a man, possibly drunk, acting belligerently and waving around a rifle.

When they arrived on the scene, the Kalamazoo officers found 63-year-old Joseph Houseman, a white man, who appeared to be intoxicated, and who was indeed waving around what looked to be an AK-47 assault rifle.

According to police reports of the incident, as well as dash cam footage and body microphones that were on the officers, it took nearly 40 minutes to get Houseman to peacefully surrender his weapon.

That same video and audio footage reveals how the police officers on the scene deliberated for some time over how to protect the public from Houseman, while protecting his right to openly carry a gun at the same time, under Michigan law.

The officers can be seen and heard talking with Houseman, trying to de-escalate the situation without resorting to violence.

In fact, when Houseman at one point told the officers to shoot him, one of them responded saying, "I don't want to shoot you; I'm not here to do that."

Eventually, the officers were able to subdue Houseman and take his gun, but decided against charging him.

So, in this case, when confronted with a white man who was acting belligerently and waving around a deadly assault rifle in the air, police officers talked the man down, didn't resort to violence or brutality, and were able to bring the situation to a close.

This is how a white guy is treated by police in the US.

Now, let's take a look at another situation that played out in St. Paul, Minnesota.

A cellphone video that was recently posted to YouTube shows a St. Paul police officer using excessive force against a black man, who was in a skyway, apparently just waiting to pick up his kids from school.

Initially, the officers ask the man his name and ask him why he's waiting in the skyway.

After he explains to one officer that he has the right to be waiting in a public area, and says that he's only being questioned because he's black, another St. Paul officer shows up.

After a brief discussion with the new police officer, the man is forcefully restrained and even tased. He can be heard screaming for help.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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