When I want a sense of d?j? vu I'll go back to my hometown, which is in fact where I am right now.
What I don't want is to see "The Rodney King Beating Part II."
This time it's the "Stanley Miller Beating," and it's a zillion times worse than its predecessor.
I mean, this time instead of some herky-jerky, amateur video we have professional video shot from a television news helicopter (and by the way, how did our angry officer miss that?). It very clearly shows the officer pounding Miller's head with a flashlight after Miller has clearly surrendered.
The guy put up his hands and got on the ground! And the officer who did the beating is the third one to reach Miller who is already being restrained by another officer.
What a coward, to beat a man in handcuffs! And how can the third man on the scene possibly justify this use of force?
Think I'm being anti-cop?
Well, I am personally proud to say that most of what I just said comes from a conversation I overheard among some of our local officers. They were clearly angry about the incident because, as one of them said, this kind of thing makes their job so much harder.
Ditto, officer. My thoughts exactly.
Fortunately L.A. officials, including Mayor James Hahn and Police Chief William Bratton, seem to be fully cognizant of the damage this incident will cause to their force and to law enforcement around the country. They've taken immediate action, according to a Reuters report, and even the city's district attorney is currently withholding charges of car theft against Miller until a future time.
Of course, Miller is still in jail for a parole violation, and the fact that he took a beating here doesn't excuse him from any law breaking he may have done. But he did, in the end, try to do the right thing by giving up and he is due some consideration for how his actions were met.
Surely no city knows better than Los Angeles what can happen if this situation is not properly addressed. That city was torn by riots after the officers who beat King were acquitted, and the shock waves from those riots sent a tremor throughout the country.
I think it helps that the evidence in this case is so much clearer than the Rodney King case. Let's hope Bratton is true to his pledge to "go where the truth will take us."
Not only should the flashlight wielding officer be severely punished, but some penalty must be levied against at least some of the other officers on the scene who failed to restrain him.
May such be the case, and may those of us in Clayton County not take this incident as an excuse to attack the officers we have here.
Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.