A man has been scarred for life after a random encounter with a police officer in Grand Prairie, Texas, last week.
According to The Root, the 39-year-old black man named Rashaun A. Barnes was standing on a sidewalk in front of a convenience store on July 31 when an officer approached him and proceeded to, essentially, harass him without giving any reason for the stop.
Despite not knowing why he was being detained, Barnes reportedly complied with the officer’s demands by sitting down for nearly 30 minutes before trying to get up and walk away.
When Barnes tried to leave, the officer allegedly followed him and shot him with his Taser, which left Barnes unconscious.
Barnes found himself in the back of an ambulance when he finally woke up, suffering from scarring across his face and left and right arms. There were no police escorts accompanying him to the hospital, and he had not been charged with a crime.
Following the incident, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt — known for representing the family of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, who was fatally shot by Balch Springs police earlier this year — is now representing Barnes.
Merritt expressed concern about the likelihood of officers violating department policy by not filing an incident report.
“This is a clear case of racial profiling and excessive force,” Merritt said. “The officer responsible must be immediately suspended and appropriately prosecuted. A full investigation into the incident must be conducted to determine what role other officers may have played in a cover up and/or violating departmental procedures concerning reporting the incident.”
In addition to calling for a full investigation of the officers, Merritt is holding President Donald Trump accountable for his part in inciting state violence in his recent speech to Law Enforcement in New York during which he encouraged police brutality.
“...when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice,” Trump said. “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, OK?”
Merritt reportedly told The Root that Trump’s words serve as an open invitation for law enforcement to be violent against suspects with complete immunity, which they’ve pretty much already been doing.
“Although technically immune from liability, President Trump is guilty of criminal incitement in his speech encouraging police brutality,” Merritt said. “Black Lives Matter and pro-police reform activists have been sued in at least two federal lawsuits alleging their rhetoric caused violence against law enforcement. The president of the US should be held at least equally culpable.”
In the face of constant instances of police brutality against people of color occurring on a regular basis, the question looms: Does United States law enforcement have any boundaries?
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