Police Brutality

People are often far too eager to claim police brutality. I’ve seen false claims happen right in front of me. What happened yesterday in Pittsburgh appears to be one of those instances – a young woman claiming police brutality to save face.

It helps her cause that she’s a lesbian who was taking part in Pridefest. Because homophobia.

During the gay pride celebration in Pittsburgh yesterday, several Christian groups were protesting within legal parameters. Ariel Lawther was engaged in a heated argument with 36-year-old protester Eric Moure. Lawther’s age has been reported at somewhere between 19 and 22 years of age. According to Moure, Lawther became physical, shoving him – that’s when rookie officer Souroth Chatterji intervened. Both Moure and Officer Chatterji told the same story: upon the officer’s intervention, Lawther turned on him, hitting him with her fists and kicking him in the groin.

That was when things got hairy. Only ten seconds of video was recorded by a bystander. That was of Officer Chatterji pulling Lawther out of the crowd by her hair and punching her in the abdomen.

The video really doesn’t tell us much. It was captured at the end of the altercation and shows nothing of what was going on between Lawther and Moure. Officer Chatterji says he had already admonished Lawther and her friends not to engage in an argument with the protesters as it would lead to a fight. Officer Chatterji also says he clearly heard her tell Moure, “I will f—ing kill you!”

First things first. The protesters.

I do not give a damn how angry you may be at any protesters. I don’t give a damn what they are saying. Christians are going to protest outside of gay pride parades and festivals. It’s going to happen. We all know what those protesters are going to say. It is nothing new to anybody. You need to let them do what they’ll do and say what they’ll say. The instant you talk smack, issue threats, or get violent, YOU are the one in the wrong – it matters none what they have said or done. You deserve to go to jail. You are wrong and should be ashamed of yourself. I grew up in Evangelical Christianity and I know perfectly well how unpleasant those protesters can be; know now that nothing they do or say can ever excuse your boorish behavior if you refuse to control yourself.

You need to walk away and leave them alone. If they put their hands on you, attract all the attention you can before you fight back. Unless they do intend to do physical harm, you have no business at all engaging in any argument with them. WALK AWAY. That is what adults in the real world do.

Second…the arrest.

She clearly assaulted a protester and needed to be arrested. According to her own statements to officers after her arrest, she knew she was being violent and that it was wrong. She apologized to the officer and told him, “I didn’t know you were a cop.” She admits to assaulting him in that phrase. If an officer is being assaulted, he has every right to use force to subdue his attacker. Period. The teenager (yes, she was 16 years old) who took the video with a cell phone (who can be heard screaming “what are you doing?!?”) claims that she didn’t see Lawther get violent with the officer; she’s probably telling the truth. She also probably didn’t see what precipitated the moment she filmed. There was a pretty good-sized crowd there and the video shows that crowd getting in the way just before the officer throws punches.

Incidents like these do not help the cause of gay rights. They only serve to thoroughly embarrass us. Young gay people are essentially being taught that self-restraint is a thing of the past – you should express yourself regardless of how negative your emotions are.

Learn now a very important lesson, kids. Self-restraint is very important in the real world. You are going to hear people say things that offend you or otherwise hurt your feelings. No amount of offense will ever excuse losing your temper, starting an argument, or becoming physically violent in any way, shape, or form. I have had members of the Phelps clan say things far worse than anything those protesters were saying to you in Pittsburgh. I never yelled, never spit, never shoved, and never hit. You need to learn to tolerate people you don’t like…just like you’re demanding of the extremist religious types you can’t stand.

Don’t get into those kinds of altercations and you won’t have to deal with the police.

Comments

3 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Self restraint – & a sharp eye for litigation if one is dead set on being an activist.

  2. Lanza,

    Pretty sure yelling and smack talk are covered by the 1st amendment whatever side you are on. I guess I get what you’re trying to say but you don’t really do a good job distinguishing between physical violence which should land you in jail whether you are pro-gay or anti-gay vs mere arguing, yelling, smack talk or other boorish but non-violent behavior which both sides have a right to engage in.

  3. I’m not saying people don’t have a right to engage in smack-talk, and I think you miss my point entirely. Yes, you have a right to talk like an idiot. The problems come in when it escalates into physical violence, which in this case it did. It almost invariably does. My point is that one has a responsibility to be wise with one’s words.

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