WARNING: DISTRESSING VIDEO BELOW
As Usual, White Officers Overreact with Black Man
On February 8, Antonio Arnelo Smith was waiting in a large, grassy area outside of a Western Union in Valdosta, Georgia. Mr. Smith’s sister frequently sends him money through Western Union and he was waiting for the transfer to arrive. It appears that officers went to the area to arrest a man who had a warrant out on him. It also appears that while there, someone pointed out Mr. Smith as being suspicious.
I understand why the officers approached Mr. Smith. There’s already one person in the, rather large, general vicinity who has a warrant. It’s not unusual for criminals to be with other criminals. Maybe the person that was pointed out to the officers was with the wanted person. Maybe he was a lookout. They would want to make sure he is not wanted also. That having been said, I completely understand Mr. Smith’s agitation when he is told he is being questioned because of suspicious activity. When you know you haven’t done anything wrong it’s highly offensive to be accused of suspicious activity. Officers should realize that happens in situations like this and should not take agitation as aggression.
Unnecessary Use of Force
The first two officers seem to be attempting to be decent (though they still need some people skills training). I will be referring to them as Group 1. Two more officers (Group 2) come up behind Mr. Smith while Mr. Smith is explaining why he is there, saying that he already told them (the other officers?), saying that the people at Western Union know him, and even asks the officer to call his sister so she can verify his reason for being there. At no point does it appear that either officer in Group 1 is attempting to take Mr. Smith into custody.
It’s unknown why the officer in Group 2, a sergeant no less, decides to grab Mr. Smith in a bear hug from behind then body slam him to the ground. Mr. Smith begins crying and pleading and says, “You broke my ribs.” (It ended up being his arm that was broken). One officer even states, “Yeah, he might be broken.”
It was the Wrong man
As if the above wasn’t bad enough, listen to this bullshit.
Victim – What are you guys arresting me for?
Group 2 – We have a warrant for your arrest.
Group 1 – Hey, this was a other guy. Y’all the warrant’s over there.
Group 2 – Oh. When he radioed there’s a warrant…
Group 1 – No. There’s two different people.
Group 2 – Two different people? Oh.
Group 1 – Cause they pointed this guy out to me.
Group 2 – Okay. I got you.
Group 1 – (whispers) God damn it.
Now here’s the thing. Cops are people and they can make mistakes. However, if they had not thrown Mr. Smith to the ground this situation could have ended with, ‘Thank you for your cooperation sir. There’s no need for us to detain you any longer. Have a good day.’ But that’s not what happened. They saw a black man and even though he was not resisting, they used force beyond what was necessary for the situation, throwing him to the ground and breaking his arm in the process. This sergeant needs to be demoted at the very least.
Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed Against the City of Valdosta
Mr. Smith’s attorney has filed an excessive use of force against the City of Valdosta for the police brutality that Mr. Smith was subjected to. In the full video, on the Valdosta Daily Times website, you see that Mr. Smith refuses to let EMS see him. The officers seem baffled by this. They have no concept of how devastating an EMS bill can be for a poor person. And no, suing the city is not going to make him a rich man.
WARNING: DISTRESSING VIDEO
Was the slam necessary? pic.twitter.com/WqtssQm6H0
— King Bach (@KingBach) June 24, 2020