OK

Just what TF is wrong with these people?

His eyes stinging with pepper spray, a developmentally disabled 21-year-old man was hit and forced to the ground before being taken into custody by California sheriff's deputies in an incident that left his family Thursday demanding justice...
Antonio Martinez was pepper-sprayed, beaten, handcuffed, and detained for hours for the crime of either being terrified to or not being capable of responding to a sheriff's deputy's questions. Just how much, what, hate?, insanity?, meanness?, assholery?, stupidity? does it take to pepper spray and beat someone you were just told had Downs Syndrome?
One of ((the deputies)) saw Martinez cover his head with his hood and, believing he might be involved in the ((domestic violence)) incident, tried to talk with him, said the spokeswoman. The 21-year-old -- who weighs 158 pounds and stands 4 feet, 11 inches tall, according to a Sheriff's Department document -- didn't respond to the commands, she added.

Martinez is well-known around the Vista neighborhood, where he lives and his family has a bakery, his sister said. He was out walking between his home and the bakery when the deputy called out to him, at which point neighborhood men explained that the young man had Down Syndrome and wasn't doing anything wrong...

The deputy didn't back off. Instead, while trying "to gain compliance and prevent a possible escape," he used pepper spray on Antonio Martinez, said Caldwell from the Sheriff's Department.

The deputy began using a baton as an agitated crowd approached, the spokeswoman added. The deputy hit Antonio Martinez with it, forcing him to the ground, then levied "a couple more strikes to get his hands free," Sheriff's Department Capt. Joe Rodi told CNN affiliate KGTV.

Police in this country believe the have a God-given right to to anything to anyone at any time and, let's face it, this belief is pretty much justified. The family of Antonio Martinez is seeking justice. But justice, when it comes to police violence, is all but unknown. In the state's entire history, California has prosecuted convicted exactly one police officer for killing someone (Oscar Grant's murderer, Johannes Meserle). You might think that along with this blanket freedom to ignore the constitution and the law would come some responsibility. But police seem incapable of dealing with the mentally ill without resorting to violence and often death (e.g., Houston Police Kill Mentally Ill Double Amputee Who Was Waving a Pen Around., or The Intrusion On A Mentally Ill Individual's Fourth Amendment Rights Is Substantial..., or this tragedy
Family members who called police Oct. 11 for help with a bipolar young man they feared would hurt himself were bewildered when three Rockford officers instead shot and killed him.
and
On July 1, Milton Hall was killed in a hail of gunfire when six Saginaw, Michigan, police officers shot him 46 times. Hall had been causing a disturbance in a convenience store and was brandishing a small knife...  it doesn't look like the 49-year-old was much of a threat to anyone at the time of his death...  Hall's mother says he had long suffered with mental illness.
There are no lack of similar incidents via a simple Google search.

On the other hand, the Sheriff's Department has actually acknowledged a wrong in this case

"We made a mistake here," ((Sheriff's Department Captain)) Rodi told KGTV.
so there is some hope of at least having the deputy fired, if not prosecuted.

Firing the deputy and even prosecution will not change police culture; it's not clear if anything will change police culture no matter how many outrages like this happen. Paradoxically, the more they happen, the less we pay attention to them. Or care.

3:36 PM PT:

10News was there as the scratches on his face and bruises on his arms were still fresh.  They were the painful reminders of what happened to him Tuesday night in Vista.

“He got pepper-sprayed so he's covering his eyes the cop kept saying, ‘get on the floor,’” said witness Melissa Mejia. “He was already on the floor.”

Mejia was working in her family's shop nearby when she heard the commotion.

“He was lying down and the officer had the baton. He kicked him a couple times, like hard,” she added.

Mejia then ran to the bakery and got his older sisters and yelled at the deputy to stop.

“He has Down syndrome. Stop you know, it’s wrong,” she said she yelled. “He wouldn’t stop, he kept going.”

10 News

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:13 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, California politics, Police Accountability Group, Parenting on the Autism Spectrum, and Invisible People.

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