A case study in use of force by police

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David Ovalle and Charles Rabin, “Miami-Dade cop relieved of duty for hitting woman taunting him for ‘acting like you white’.” Miami Herald, July 2, 2020.

How could Gadfly see this video last night and not try to see it through the paradigm in the Bethlehem use of force directive that we posted about yesterday?


Read the whole Miami Herald story above for details before and after the incident captured in the video recording here. The woman certainly seems to be acting as a knuckiehead, a delightful term coined by one of our grandsons about his own behavior.

The officer sees the woman as resisting his order, as an aggressor who touched him, “headbutted” him.

The officer sees the woman as an “active aggressor.”

The officer “said he ordered the woman to get her belongings so she could be escorted out. ‘That was when Ms. Anderson aggressively approached this officer violating this officer’s personal space, bumped [him] with her body and struck [him] with her head on his chin,’ he wrote in his report.”

In terms of the paradigm, the officer viewed the woman as resisting through “active aggression” and thus the “hard empty hand technique” of what looks like a “palm heel strike” was legitimately used to maintain control.

The officer struck the woman with an “open hand,” what a police union official called a “diversionary strike” against a “belligerent” subject who was right in the officer’s face.

Was the officer acting properly?

He got fired.

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Now it may be neither here nor there, but it’s worth noting that the woman is black, the officer is “a Black officer of Puerto Rican heritage,” and that she was accusing him of acting white. Jeez, what a racial gnarl.

Was this a proper use of force?

One thought on “A case study in use of force by police

  1. No, since there were other officer right there, it seems clear that the officer over-reacted with a full-force swing to her face. His report does not seem to reflect what the video shows,

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