Kent police should be watched for brutality

Chris Kok

On Jan. 18, the Daily Kent Stater reported on a party in which Rick Rucker and three other people were arrested by Kent police officers, who used excessive force. On Jan. 31, the Stater reported that one of the police officers was pushed by a partygoer.

Something doesn’t sound right. If the police were pushed, why didn’t they file an assaulting an officer charge? Why did it take 13 days for the cops to claim that they were pushed?

I can’t claim to know what happened on the night of the party, and until a video tape of the incident surfaces, nobody can know with certainty what happened. But, what I do know is that police should not be taken for their word. Cops lie! They might not lie every time, but there are many occasions in which cops will distort the facts in order to protect themselves.

A case in point is the 2005 trial of Lyndal Kimble. Kimble was beaten WWF style by the Warren police. In his case, someone videotaped the incident. At his trial, when the cops had to present the video tape as evidence, the DVD was conveniently scratched. If the protesters I was with didn’t have another copy of the tape, Kimble would have been charged with assaulting an officer. It is obvious that the Warren police tried to destroy the evidence in order to protect themselves from justice.

From Rodney King, to the New Orleans police beating of Robert Davis, to the NYPD’s murder of Sean Bell — police brutality is a serious issue. The most serious part is that the cops usually escape justice.

Currently, the Kent police are out of control. There is nobody to police the police. Some friends of mine were smoking outside of their apartment at Townhomes when someone shined a flashlight in their face. One of them said, “get that F*#!ing flashlight out of my face.” It turned out that the person with the flashlight was a cop, and the person who complained about the light went to jail that night after being slammed into the cop car. Another person who was hanging out there started to argue with the cops about the arrest of his friend. Result? He also went to jail.

Personally I have been searched without consent. After complaining to the supervisor of the Kent police, I realized that they do not care about civil rights, but only about officer rights.

The Kent police will not be stopped unless students take action. With today’s modern technology and easy access to video cameras, students need to film cops in action. If the cops get out of control, it will be on tape. If they see the filming, they will be less likely to get out of control.

Anti-Racist Action is organizing a great program based on this idea: Cop Watch. This is where people film the police when they are called to various places. After the cops leave, members of Cop Watch will pass out ACLU “Know your rights” cards to the people at the scene. For anyone interested in policing the police, ARA meets Tuesday nights at 8:30 in Room 314 of the Student Center.

So, if you are sick of the police, you should help police the police.

Chris Kok is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].