In an undeniable example of the apparent double standard along racial lines when it comes to law enforcement, a viral video showed a white driver angrily confronting cops and “spit on” one of the officers without even so much as receiving a ticket, let alone the kind of police brutality seemingly reserved for Black and brown people.
It was a remarkable display of police attempting to de-escalate the kind of situation that has typically resulted in death when Black or brown people find themselves in similarly contentious encounters with police.
It was unclear when the video was filmed, but it showed officers with the Minneapolis Police Department stopped at a traffic light and outside of their SUV while speaking with the driver of a car directly behind where the cops parked. The hand and voice of a Black woman could be seen filming the encounter, and she was in disbelief at what she saw next.
As the woman rolls down her window, what sounded like angry yelling could be increasingly heard, complete with expletives. Then, as the officers are leaning on the driver’s car, it slowly reverses away from the cops, coming nearly parallel with the woman’s car.
That’s when the angry voice became much more clear.
“I got y’all motherfuckers, bitch!” the white driver yelled at the cops, who had already begun retreating to their SUV. But then the white driver actually exited his vehicle and approached the cops while apparently using his cellphone to film them — in the middle of a street near an intersection.
“I got you, bitch,” the man repeated as he walked up aggressively on one of the officers, a Black cop.
Still filming, the white man pivots toward the other cop, who tells him, Get out of my face” while repeatedly pushing the driver back toward his car.
“One more word and you’re going to jail,” the cop warns.
The driver complied and got in his car before getting right back out before yelling some incoherent curse words in the cop’s face.
“Spit on me one more time!” the cop yells at the driver, who is then allowed to drive along on his merry way without any consequences for the type of police encounter that has historically gotten Black and brown people killed.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family of Jacob Blake — an unarmed Black man who police recently shot in the back multiple times while he was trying to get in his car in Kenosha, Wisconsin — tweeted the video on Monday. Watch it below.
To be clear, the officers in the video are to be applauded for not escalating things to deadly proportions. But their actions have become the exception, not the rule, which is probably the most frustrating part for people watching the video.
Was the driver’s alleged offense arrest-worthy? A law making spitting in public illegal in Minneapolis was repealed by the city council in 2015. At the time, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported it as “a victory for racial equity advocates, who said the laws were merely tools used to unfairly target people of color. However, nearly three years later, a Black man was arrested in Minneapolis for spitting on cops. Coni L. Shegog was charged with “five counts of fourth-degree assault throwing bodily fluids onto an officer,” according to the Star Tribune.
Minneapolis is also where cops are charged with murdering George Floyd over allegations of using counterfeit money, a decidedly nonviolent crime that is way less aggressive than confronting police officers in the middle of a street and spitting on one of them.
Meanwhile, cops were able to peacefully arrest the white suspected murderer of two people at a protest over Blake’s killing.
This is why athletes are kneeling amid nationwide protests against police violence and racism and what is many times a deadly combination of the two.
This is America.