No protests for black police officer putting choke hold on black suspect he pinned to a car

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A Jackson, Miss. police officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation after video surfaced last week showing him pinning a suspect to a car by his neck.

As the officer pins the man to the car, he can also be heard berating the suspect. Both men are black.

As the Jackson Free Press reports, the officer who was placed on leave is Myron Smith. Jackson Police Department Public Information Officer Sam Brown told the paper, “When the video surfaced, it got to Chief James Davis, and he immediately placed (Smith) on administrative leave and turned it over him to Internal Affairs.”

Multiple videos of the incident were posted to social media. In them, bystanders can be heard telling Smith that the suspect allegedly can’t breathe, though the officer disputes them.

“What did I tell you to do, what did I tell you to do? When I told you to leave, what are you out here doing?” Smith can be heard shouting at the suspect.

As he continued to pin the suspect to the vehicle, the officer can also be heard yelling to him, “make me,” though it’s not clear what he meant.

“Make me, make me, I say, make me,” a visibly angry Smith said.

At one point in the video, a woman tries to get Smith to release the suspect by the neck, but he refuses, growing more agitated.

“Get off me, get off me, I say get off me,” he said.

The woman told Smith, “He can’t breathe, he is not able to breathe, he is shaking sir, he can’t breathe.”

The officer responded, “Ma’am, do you see my hands? I am not even choking him.”

In a statement, Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba’s office said he wants to foster a positive environment and relationship between police and the general public.

“This administration is clear that we are trying to build an approach to public safety that is about trust, collaboration, and integrity. Any actions that do not reflect those principles have no place in the City of Jackson,” Lumumba said.

Despite what many would see as unjust, unfair treatment by the officer against a suspect, there were no reported riots or episodes of looting in response to the incident. Also, there were no blanket condemnations of police being agents of bigotry and racism.

Meanwhile, demonstrations and rioting are taking place in cities all over the country in response to the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, who was allegedly killed by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis last week.

Floyd died after he was pinned to the pavement for several minutes by Chauvin following his arrest for allegedly passing a phony $20 bill.

The demonstrations are causing untold amounts of damage to taxpayer-funded police vehicles and buildings, as well as businesses that are being indiscriminately destroyed.

That included the destruction of a new sports bar owned by Korboi Balla, a black Brooklyn Center Fire Department firefighter who was set to open it in a few weeks after coronavirus-related business closure orders were lifted.

Balla had put his life savings into the business. The good news is, a GoFundMe drive has raised more than enough money for Balla to rebuild.


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Jon Dougherty


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