It’s a story all too familiar to many of us by now: a police officer uses clearly excessive force on a nonviolent civilian while a witness catches the whole thing on video. The fact that we see so many of these stories doesn’t mean each instance isn’t important. On the contrary, it shows just how real of a problem excessive use of force by police officers is in America. This latest incident comes out of Los Angeles, California.
Six year Army veteran Jermaine Green was riding the bus in Los Angeles recently when a passenger pushing a stroller walked on board. Curiously, the woman’s stroller was carrying no child, but was full of pillows. According to Green, it was “very obvious she had special needs.” Green says the woman was polite to everyone when she boarded the bus.
“The lady got on the bus with her stroller full of pillows, and she was very polite,” Green said. “She said ‘hi’ to everybody and sat down.”
At the next stop, two LA County Sheriff’s deputies boarded the bus and called the woman out by name. They told her she needed to get off the bus. The woman responded by cursing at the deputies.
“After that they grab her, and she cusses them out and calls [the male deputy] a big shot,” Green said. “Next thing you know, he gives her a big shot.”
Green, who started filming the incident once the confrontation began, caught the punch on video. Here it is:
After knocking the woman to the ground and removing her from the bus, the male deputy approached Green and asked him to turn over his phone.
“He comes to me and he says ‘Look, you can be under arrest if you don’t give me that video.’ And then he said ‘Do you have any warrants?’ And I said no I don’t have any warrants, I’m a veteran and I just came back. I did six years. I have no record. And he said ‘well we’ll see about that.’”
Green posted the video on the internet shortly after the incident. His time in the Army gave him a unique perspective on the deputy’s failure to follow protocol when dealing with the woman.
“In the Army they gave us extensive training for rules of engagement,” Green says. “There are proper protocols and different steps you take. This lady didn’t do anything, she was not combative, and he actually turned combative on her.”
A spokesperson from the LA County Sheriff’s Department says the incident is under investigation.