Years ago, I lived in Boston‘s West Fens – a corner of the ghetto area, Roxbury. In those days, Boston police had one of the few mounted police divisions. These cops loved their horses, and saw the posting as a position of honor and dignity. The cops would be assigned to different beats throughout the city, and would become intrinsic parts of their neighborhoods. Our particular horse-cop was a Black woman of about 40, and her horse was a brown and white Appaloosa. Every morning like clockwork, a certain elderly woman from the community would apply her fire engine– red lipstick, and kiss the horse in the middle of the white patch on his face. After a while, the lipstick began to stain the horse’s fur, and he developed a tattoo of red lips – right smack on his kisser (sorry, couldn’t resist). We nicknamed him, “Kissface.”
Kissface and his mounted partner did more to prevent crime than we’ll ever know. This cop knew everybody in the neighborhood, and usually referred to us by our first names. She’d break up fights, get brown baggers to find some shelter for their imbibing, help abused spouses to find protection – and above all – counsel us. Sitting atop Kissface, this woman would gently remind you that what you were doing was illegal, and it would probably be a good idea for you to knock it off. In all the years I lived there, I saw her intervene in hundreds of situations, but I don’t think I ever saw her make an arrest. She relied on the peer pressure only a neighborhood is capable of – and an understanding of the inherent decency buried within all people.
But those days are gone.
And something has changed in the makeup of police. Marsha Graham of AnotherBoomerBlog reports today, on 2 separate cases of police, beating Deaf offenders during traffic stops. In Settlement reached in police abuse of deaf motorist and in Hard of Hearing, Mentally Impaired Woman allegedly Battered by Police Officer, Ms. Graham restates the need for training of police in dealing with the Deaf and HoH, and for interpreters to be present at arrests and other police interactions with the Deaf community. I couldn’t agree more with this essential point, but I think the problem goes much deeper.
While it’s easy for cops to say they don’t know how to deal with the Deaf, and that training would help prevent these tragedies from occurring, I find that to be an overused and overly convenient excuse for simple bullying and bad behavior. I’m not a cop, but you can’t tell me that the woman above did anything to warrant the kind of beating she endured. We’re all capable of telling when we’re dealing with someone who’s confused or at a mental disadvantage – Deaf or not. And truthfully, it wouldn’t have mattered if she was a Rhodes scholar with perfect hearing and 20/20 vision. It wouldn’t even matter if she were Bonnie Parker. There is absolutely no excuse for beating someone like this. I don’t care how tough your job is. If you can justify this kind of behavior – then it’s time to switch careers.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
- Deaf International Festival at UGA: Connect with Your Community (georgiapathway.wordpress.com)
- Handicapped Woman Calls 911 During Brutal Beating by Cops (endtimebibleprophecy.wordpress.com)
- Blogging Against Disablism: Coming Together. (catsandchocolate.com)
- Communicating with Deaf People (allsignlanguage.blogspot.com)
- May 2013 at DeafInPrison.com (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Cleveland Police axes its horse section to save cash (hartlepoolmail.co.uk)
- Amazing ASL Video Informs About Domestic Abuse (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- April at DeafInPrison.com (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Stop Hearing Loss Bullying Video Now Online (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Broken Sign: Important Announcement from BitcoDavid (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
14 thoughts on ““Kissface” the Horse”
I’m of two minds about the police brutality we see today. The police brutality of the past far surpasses anything that goes on today.
We have no concept of what it used to be like except by studying history. Police were often involved in lynchings either through direct participation under a KKK hood or through allowing the mob to take someone.
Consider Without Sanctuary http://withoutsanctuary.org – if you have never seen this, I urge you all to do so – I have a tough stomach and I was sickened.
The police used to be private contractors who were paid by the arrest and/or conviction. So the bear who claimed to be rabbit in your prior story was pretty much how it used to be.
Unlike Canada, where the Canadian Mounties (not perfect, but far better than our system) were there at the very edges of the frontier our system always was very corrupt.
Sad to say, the situation today may be the best it has ever been in America. We need to do far more to fix it, but we must do so without totally alienating the honest and respectable police officers who are attempting to do their best and who all too often die in the service of their communities.
I am absolutely against police brutality, however, they are trained to take people down in certain ways. Taking someone to the pavement to cuff them while they are fighting off an officer often results in injuries like the lady with the black eye. Are there other methods that would be better/easier/safer that would also protect the police officer? If so, we should insist on that sort of training.
I have had two negative police interactions over my lifetime. In neither case was I physically assaulted, but once I did have a gun pointed at me. I suppose I am lucky not to be dead, instead.
Yes, it is true that police brutality and police corruption may be on the wane, but that’s only because we’ve learned methods to stop it. One such method is recording it on video, but we also have numerous stories of people with iPhones, getting beaten up and arrested for trying to do just that.
Like everything else, you can have good cops – even great ones, and you can have scumbags. I’ve known some really dirty cops in my life – and some worthy of sainthood. The problem is, the bad ones don’t just hurt themselves, they hurt everybody.
Nonetheless, there’s nothing you can tell me, about take-downs or anything else, that will justify to my mind, what happened to that poor woman. Those particular cops can offer no defense for their behavior, or for their lack of control.
Oh, I’ve known some ghastly cops and I’ve also known some who could have been canonized for sainthood.
I’m only saying that if the takedown they were trained to do left that sort of damage then we need to re-train people.
I am not excusing the behavior, nor am I excusing the woman who resisted arrest. It was a situation that went out of control way too fast. Hopefully, the police department actually examines what happened rather than closing the blue line. Undoubtedly, there will be a lawsuit that arises from this in civil court.
Agreed. (BTW we’re still missing you at the meetups.)
Well, I’m about 1.5 hours away, so that’s a problem. You have a mobile hotspot. Maybe we could Skype?
That’s just insane. It’s terrible to think that those that we rely on can be so inept.
Colleen, thanks for the comment. Obviously, I agree.
absolutely agree- there is NO justification, especially from those sworn to serve & PROTECT. Someone posted this in one of my groups…More Mayberry, less ParaMilitary.
this is beyond a retraining issue- one only needs to look at what was done to Kelly Thomas to know that all the stories we are hearing about police brutality and murder by cop is NOT a training issue.
Interestingly enough, even on the Deaf and HoH attorney’s group list, even among the criminal law attorneys, we seem to all be wondering what the heck happened. Most of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop.
An oral deaf criminal law attorney from Washington state is keeping an eye on this case since is pretty much in his back yard. He’s gotten the official charges and posted them to our group.
Apparently it happened on camera (police cruiser camera) so the lawyer is waiting to see if it it will corroborate one side or the other. It is distressing to think this HoH woman was so badly injured, although I’m glad it was not worse (think Rodney King).
My personal opinion is that they overreacted. My personal opinion and $3 will barely buy a large cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts. So, like the other lawyerly types who are not part of this case, for now I observe it looks bad for the cops, but I don’t have enough information yet to point a legal finger.