My colleagues from The Sun newsroom — Tim Prudente, Jessica Anderson and McKenna Oxenden — have a story today about the police in Ocean City and the videos of their violent confrontations with young men on the Boardwalk. The story quotes a retired police captain and use-of-force expert named Ashley Heiberger, and Heiberger focuses on the same part of this matter that I do in today’s column — the five hard knees to the body of a young man by a very large, still unidentified OC police officer.
“There are certainly times when a knee strike is an appropriate tactic,” Heiberger says in the story. “Looking only at what we saw on the video, when the one person was on the ground and the person was delivering knee strikes, I think it’s going to be pretty difficult to articulate a level of threat or resistance to justify those knee strikes.”
You can read the Sun story at this link.
Here is the Sun’s editorial on the matter.
I have already received lots of comments on the column, much of it scathingly profane in defense of the cops.
One reader wrote to say the teens arrested in OC were probably rotten kids with the usual rotten backgrounds. “Of course,” I responded, “you don’t for a minute question or infer anything negative about the cops and their upbringing, do you?”
And then there are the “if” people, who say if the young men in Ocean City had not misbehaved, if they had followed cops’ orders and not become mouthy and if they had not resisted arrest, this never would have happened, cops would not have brutalized them. This is perfectly obvious. In the ideal world — and we all know that’s what family-friendly Ocean City strives to be, right? — kids would never misbehave and cops would never have to make arrests. But they do, it’s in their job description. Brutality is not.