How does a series of kicks and punches land the victim behind bars? This is a question many are asking about 24-year old Shaquille O’Neal, who was video recorded being brutality beaten by two Chicago police officers.
After the video went viral on Facebook, the suspect is facing charges under accounts of “assaulting an officer, violating parole, possession of drugs, and disorderly conduct” according WGNTV.
According to Fox 32 Chicago, police say that they saw O’Neal engaging in a drug deal with three bags of heroine on him, and they were attempting to stop him in the act. Police also say that O’Neal fled, at which point they decided to use force against him. He bit one of the officers on the hand, and they began to stomp on him.
O’Neal’s representative and attorney, Michael Oppenheimer , states, “People run from police for all sorts of reasons. One of the problems is you have lots of young African American men who are quite simply afraid of the police and they're afraid of what police will do to them, and so they run,” Oppenheimer said.
O’Neal was beaten until he went “limp” and unconscious. 24 hours later, O’Neal was charged in an attempt to justify the police’s actions towards their suspect, and the police was initially put on desk duty. He was just recently dismissed from his law enforcement duties.
While no one can necessarily justifying O’Neal’s actions or the police officer’s actions because of a lot of hearsay, but nonetheless the extent to which the police beat this man was unnecessary.
Unfortunately, this type of thing is not unheard of between the Police Department and the citizens of Chicago.
One of the most popular cases was the McDonald Case. LaQuan McDonald was shot 16 times by police officer Jason Van Dyke in the crisp fall of 2014. Not only was this member of the law enforcement initially not held accountable for his actions, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s emails were leaked that revealed an attempt to coverup the video to ensure that it wouldn’t be released to the public in exchange for a 5 million dollar settlement.
Another case was the case of a the 17-year old Cedrick Chatman who was killed in the middle of the day of 2013 . Similarly to the McDonald case, according to CNN, city officials attempted to withhold the video and did so for almost three years.
The Independent Police Review Authority acknowledges that from 2009-2016, police officials have killed 106 people and wounded 237 people. These numbers are outrageous considering according to the same source, 89.1% of the causes of death is gunshot. From this, we know that something needs to change.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged to utilize a quarter of a million dollars last year from the Chicago Police Department Policing Program to finance gun buyback programs, says ABC new in October 2015.
More recently, Rahm Emanuel made more of a effort to make our streets safer by increasing the number of law enforcements on the street during the Labor Day weekend.
New York Times quoted Emanuel:“If we all come together and reclaim our streets, reclaim our parks, there’s no room for the gangbangers,” on the same weekend.
In December 2015, Emanuel finally commented after the resolution of the McDonald case and the continuous rejection from the black community, Emanuel said during his apology stating he wanted “nothing less than complete and total reform to the system and the culture that it breeds”.
While he makes promises and has made progress, the McDonald case and his involvement in it almost cost his the mayoral race last year. This goes to show while, yes, progress is being made, there isn't enough plan being done to make our neighborhoods safer and for the people of it to feel safe.
A New York Times survey conducted May 2016 confirmed that 70% of the poll disapproved of Emanuel and his progress.
All in all, Chicagoans are afraid to let their children play outside for fear of the police. Chicagoans fear going outside at night for fear of being shot or even the possibility of interacting with law enforcement. Even worse, black Chicagoans have lost faith in Mayor Emanuel’s ability to improve our progressively worsening crime rate and overall environment.
So, if Chicagoans, live in fear and fear to trust, I leave you with the the final thought to decide: If the people cant trust the police to protect them, who can they trust?