Outrage Over Footage of Police Officer Beating a Black Man in North Carolina

The episode quickly escalates from there. Officer Chris Hickman, who was training Officer Ruggiero and wearing the body camera, orders Mr. Rush to put his hands behind his back. Mr. Rush runs, and the officers chase him, eventually tackling him to the ground.

During the arrest, Mr. Rush was shocked with a Taser, choked and beaten by Officer Hickman, according to police records.

At several points, while pinned to the ground, Mr. Rush cried, “I can’t breathe!”

The camera footage also shows Officer Hickman hitting Mr. Rush on the head over and over with a closed fist, and Mr. Rush crying out in pain as he is shocked with a Taser.

.. The administrative investigations revealed that Officer Hickman had used excessive force during the arrest and that he had engaged in “rude and discourteous behavior” on four other occasions with other members of the public

.. A supervisor who responded to the scene on the night of Mr. Rush’s arrest was disciplined for unsatisfactory performance after failing to immediately disclose all of the details gleaned from interviewing Mr. Hickman and Mr. Rush, and neglecting to view the body camera footage that day.

Mr. Rush told The Citizen Times that the supervisor accused him multiple times of lying.

“She kind of yelled a little bit, saying: ‘You’re lying. You’re lying. My officer is not going to do that,’” he said.

.. Last year, Chief Hooper faced protests after requesting $1 million to hire more officers to police the downtown area, which is near where Mr. Rush was tackled.

Dorothy Counts: Desegregation Pioneer in North Carolina

Dorothy Counts (born 1942) was one of the first black students admitted to the Harry Harding High School, in Charlotte, North Carolina. After four days of harassment that threatened her safety, her parents forced her to withdraw from the school.

.. In 1956, forty black students applied for transfers at a white school.[1] This was after the passing of the Pearsall Plan in North Carolina. At 15 years of age, on 4 September 1957, Dorothy Counts was one of the four black students enrolled at various all-white schools in the district; She was at Harry Harding High School, Charlotte, North Carolina.[2] Three students were enrolled at other schools, including Central High School. The harassment started when the wife of John Z. Warlick, the leader of the White Citizens Council, urged the boys to “keep her out” and at the same time, implored the girls to spit on her, saying, “spit on her, girls, spit on her.”[1] Dorothy walked by without reacting, but told the press that many people threw rocks at her—most of which landed in front of her feet—and that many spat on her back. Photographer Douglas Martin won the 1957 World Press Photo of the Year with an image of Counts being mocked by a crowd on her first day of school.[3]

More abuse followed that day. She had trash thrown at her while eating her dinner and the teachers ignored her.[1] The following day, she befriended two white girls, but they soon drew back because of harassment from other classmates.

Photo of students mocking Dorthy Counts

In North Carolina, Some Democrats See Their Grim Future

The GOP’s moves have many on the left worried their bare-knuckle tactics will spread nationally.

The road to political morass began six years ago in North Carolina, when national Republican donors and strategists launched a concerted effort to create a bulwark against the emerging multiracial, center-left coalition that swept Barack Obama into the White House. They sank millions of dollars into cheaply bought local and state races, seizing control of the statehouse for the first time since a now-unrecognizable Republican Party that supported racial integration and voting rights for African-Americans held it during Reconstruction.

.. the new Republican majority gerrymandered districts in which Democrats couldn’t win—which resulted in ever-more-hard-line conservatives winning primaries in each election.

.. Only a third of North Carolina’s registered voters were Republicans, but McCrory and his allies in the legislature ruled as if it were a one-party state—cracking down on abortion, slashing social services and banning state officials from considering climate change when planning development along the state’s vulnerable coastline. It didn’t matter how many would-be voters this angered, because the redrawn districts guaranteed Republican supermajorities in the statehouse and U.S. Congress.

.. Legislators also took advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rollback of the Voting Rights Act to restrict voting in black and other Democratic-leaning communities. When voters unseated McCrory and chose the Democratic attorney general, Roy Cooper, to be governor this fall, the Republican legislature greeted him with a slate of new laws stripping his powers and handing them to the legislature and Republican-controlled agencies.

.. Progressives and moderates watching across the country have been horrified about the evolution of a resolutely purple state into a hard-core bastion of untouchable conservative power—and what that might portend for a country where Donald Trump is in the White House and Republicans will control both chambers of Congress, the Supreme Court and 32 state legislatures—25 of which will have Republicans at the helm of all three branches of government.

.. Much as segregationists had used fears of racially integrated bathrooms as a cudgel during the civil rights era, fear-mongering about the specter of transgender people—imagined by many small-town conservatives to be mostly perverts and deviants

.. “How many fathers are now going to be forced to go to the ladies’ room to make sure their little girls aren’t molested?”

The North Carolina Semi-Coup

I read the whole document, and despaired — but probably not for the reason you think. I agree that the plan looks great. This is smart hardball politics. What makes me despair is the same reason the NC GOP’s behavior makes me despair: all of this is ultimately going to destroy our democracy.

Where did it start? With the Senate Democrats in the 1980s going all-out to destroy Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court? Maybe. If you’re a liberal, you no doubt have in mind a moment when the GOP started it. It doesn’t really matter. The truth is that there is no incentive on either side to stop. It’s not about fair play, respect for one’s opponents, or even the rule of law. It’s all about power: exercising it harshly, or preventing the other side from exercising it, no matter what.

.. Those people are not prepared to play by the rules of liberal democracy. Tell me, though: how does the NC GOP’s move differ in principle? The Other is such a monstrous enemy that they must be beaten down no matter what it takes. Just win. To be fair is to be weak.