Is this finally it?
Is the video of Noel Aguilar’s last moments finally the shocking police brutality video that makes the police accountability activists and police supporters unite in seeking comprehensive reform for those who wear the bases of authority in America?
I hope so.
Noel Aguilar was riding his bicycle and wearing headphones. Two Los Angeles deputies chased him down and murdered Noel after struggling with him because they said he had a gun. But they also said he used that gun to shoot a deputy, which was proven to be a lie.
In one video, the horrendous acts of many of the worst police brutality moments caught on video are summarized.
In the eight-minute video, I counted seven deadly sins from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which patrols the deadliest county for police killings in the United States, according to The Guardian.
Of the 1,000 Americans killed by law enforcement annually, Los Angeles is nearly five percent of the total, but its population makes up three percent of our national population.
Let’s run down the list of seven of the worst police killings or charged murders which cost innocent citizens their lives this year whose gory details all appear in Noel Aguilar’s transformation from a living breathing human being into nothing more than #NoelAguilar, the deceased victim of yet another peace officer rampage.
- Minor offense: Biking with headphones, a minor offense, like Eric Garner’s three untaxed loose cigarettes sold in New York.
- Shot in the back: Like Walter Scott in South Carolina, Oscar Grant in California and so many others.
- Negligent discharge: Like Eric Harris of Oklahoma, who died as a deputy told him, “Fuck your breath,” but this time, wounding a cop instead of a suspect.
- First Amendment violations: The Los Angeles deputies even took a break from their brutality efforts to chill the First Amendment just like the Texas Trooper who took a break from his violent arrest of Sandra Bland to discourage those who might have recorded the scene.
- Denying medical care: Aguilar was denied post shot medical care, like Freddie Gray in Baltimore.
- Massive coverup: Like the Laquan McDonald case in Chicago, it took a massive cover up, involving more than one bad apple, to try and sweep the whole incident under the rug.
- Caught on camera: Like the Jermaine McBean shooting out of Florida, evidence from a cell phone surfaced more than a year after the incident, destroying the initial law enforcement narrative that he was not wearing headphones when a photo of his body shows he was wearing headphones.
Like McBean, Aguilar was confronted while wearing headphones, but because the video started after his fateful struggle with deputies, we do not know if the headphones had something particular to do with the arrest and struggle like perhaps making it difficult for him to hear their orders.
Of the 10 most horrifying police brutality deaths – which doesn’t include Walter Deleon’s gruesome skull injury – seven of them share relevant methods of operation with Aguilar’s death at the hands of Los Angeles deputies.
There are other horrendous cases left off this list; the one-second encounter that killed Tamir Rice in Cleveland, the roadside encounter in Florida where an undercover cop killed Corey Jones without identifying himself and University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing’s brutal off campus kill.
These ten cases profile killer cops who shamelessly killed citizens, many over petty crimes, if there was any actually criminal activity going on at all until the officers arrived.
Now, two more Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies must be held accountable for the death of the 23-year-old Aguilar by our 19th century justice system, which is loaded with 20th century process and struggling to function overseeing a 21st century world where evidence can be generated more easily than hearsay.
Law enforcement as an American profession is a shameful state of affairs where even the basics of the Constitution are not expected to be understood under most departmental standards.
Firing a bad cop is anywhere from an exercise in futility to an act of open provocation, if you believe police union leaders.
When I met the Chief of Miami Beach’s troubled department, Dan Oates, who has a law degree and has increased hiring standards to college educated officers only, the man physically winced when discussing the difficulties he faced trying to fire bad cops.
One of those bad officers was involved in shooting innocent bystanders on Memorial Day 2011. That same officer broke departmental policy by firing a taser unannounced, provoking another officer with an assault rifle to kill a citizen in front of shocked witnesses on Miami Beach’s famed Alton Road.
Police unions assist many officers to reclaim their professional credentials after performing unspeakably unjustified acts of violence.
If police unions put the same effort into weeding out bad cops and prosecuting criminal cops as it does defending the indefensible, the corruption and abuse would see a huge decline.
So why don’t they?
Police and their unions need to consider some words of wisdom from someone far wiser than I, and begin mending their ways.
“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.”