Police brutality remains a problem in America, whether assaults committed by officers are widely reported or not.
Brian Davis was drunk on March 4, 2016, while operating his vehicle. His condition eventually caused him to lead the Nebraska state police on a chase that lasted for an hour. Once the chase was over, the man was ordered to exit his vehicle.
As he stepped out of his van, it was clear that Davis was too intoxicated to even stand properly, let alone understand what officers were telling him to do.
When Davis failed to comply with the cops' commands to get on the ground, trooper Lindsey Bixby struck Davis with the butt end of his rifle. Davis then fell to the ground momentarily after the blow, World-Herald reports.
Use of excessive Force https://t.co/eHHcHrvcFP— Video Leak Police (@VideoLeak1) July 2, 2017
After the incident, patrol veteran Bixby wrote in his report that he hadn't struck Davis in the head. He later even testified under oath, saying he hadn't used excessive force on the night of March 4. Thanks to the footage captured by the patrol car dashcam, we know he was lying.
Unfortunately for Davis — and for justice — Bixby was never fired. Instead, he was allowed to quietly resign from his job a few months later.
After the World-Herald made a public records request seeking more information on the Davis case as well as the dashcam footage of the incident, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts finally removed Bixby's boss, Patrol Superintendent Brad Rice, from his post as the leader of the patrol. Still, Ricketts allowed Rice to be put on paid administrative leave along with six other officers.
“On Thursday, the governor was fully briefed on the use of force on display in the video and the subsequent investigation,” Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage said. “The use of force on display in the video is egregious.”
After reviewing the case and the video, the deputy Sioux County attorney called the display of violence “shocking,” adding that Bixby's blow appeared “vicious.”
Still, Bixby was never charged criminally. Instead of going after the officer for both using excessive violence and lying under oath, the prosecutor decided to take into consideration that Bixby claimed to have “reasonable belief” Davis posed a danger.
While reports show Bixby may still face internal investigation and possible penalties for his actions at some point in the future, it's clear that Bixby will remain free despite the display of violence. More likely than not, this outcome will continue to give officers like Bixby the impression that they may commit acts of aggression and abuse of power while on duty and that they won't pay for it.
So if the goal is to give officers enough incentives to continue acting erratically, then officials who allowed Bixby's actions to go unpunished are getting exactly what they want.
When will we finally learn that only when these officers are punished will they begin to act responsibly?
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters