In the aftermath of the refusals from grand juries to indict officers caught on camera killing unarmed citizens, the general public – particularly within so-called “minority” communities – has almost come to expect such brutal cops to walk, without facing justice.
But while police officials have been characteristically taking their time to react to video leaks of officer misconduct and brutality, a viral video out of Knoxville, Tennessee actually got some results – almost instantly.
The extreme and well-documented video had many parallels to the Eric Garner choking incident in New York City. But the key differences here are found in the fact that the officer was fired immediately. In addition to this, the student he was caught on video choking never died… Oh, and did we mention that when Frank Phillips, a Knox County Sheriff’s officer, was fired, the victim in that case was Caucasian?
Did this play a factor in the swift response by police officials?
Officer Phillips can be seen in the video that got him fired choking college student Jarod Dotson during an arrest for public intoxication WBIR reported that police responded to a “disturbance” call near the University of Tennessee, when an 800 person house party spilled over into the streets.
The police report said that Dotson ignored repeated instructions to return inside, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Deputy Brandon Gilliam noted in the official report that Dotson “began to physically resist officers’ instructions to place his hands behind his back, and at one point grabbed on to an officer’s leg.”
It is worth noting that the freelance photographer who documented the choking incident said in an interview with The Washington Post that Dotson did not seem to be resisting arrest whatsoever.
In a press release after the incident, Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones said that “in my 34 years of law enforcement experience, excessive force has never been tolerated. After an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, I believe excessive force was used in this incident. The investigation will now be turned over to the Knox County Attorney General’s Office to determine any further action.”
Eventually 47-year-old Officer Phillips chose to take “deferred retirement” instead of appealing his firing, but the result was the same. Phillips was no longer permitted to be a police officer after he was caught on camera choking Dotson, even while not facing charges.
Compare and contrast this with the refusal to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in relation to the death of Eric Garner. Do you think that race played a factor?
(Article by Moreh B.D.K.) VIA COUNTER CURRENT NEWS