22-year-old college student Joseph Swink was brutally beaten by police after they mistook him for a suspect (Anton Simmons) in a car chase. Those police officers in St. Louis county are now apologizing for their actions that left Swink with severe damage to his ear and a totaled car. Swink was on his way from his internship when he was then followed by police.
He reportedly crashed his car, making way for the police (because surely they weren’t after him) as the police violently chased him. The car started filling with smoke and Swink, confused and scared, exited the car and ran. The police chased him down, thinking he was Simmons, who had 17 separate warrants out for his arrest. Obviously, the police caught up with Swink and proceeded to beat him black and blue.
According to St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez, “All the sirens and lights were going off. It was very loud and they couldn’t hear anything the citizen was saying.” Eventually, they got a radio call saying the real suspect was in custody. The police have since apologized to Swink for their actions and said that their mistake had “zero to do about race.” But Swink doesn’t agree. He said, “There was nobody black on the scene, just a lot of white cops. I didn’t feel safe around them,” he said. “I think they probably felt they could get away with it because I was and they can do this.”
Obviously there’s an issue with either how these suspect descriptions are given to police officers or the police officers’ discretion on how they approach potential suspects. It’s no denying that Black men are typically racially profiled by authorities and often lose their lives because of it. Thank goodness the officers received the radio call that the actual suspect was in custody because who knows what would have happened to Swink? Chances are, he wouldn’t be here to tell the tale.
Remember back in 2009 when police nearby Ferguson mistakenly arrested a man, beat him brutally, as they did with Swink and then charged the man with destruction of property because his blood got on their uniforms. It’s sad that police can act as if the whole world is some sick game of Grand Theft Auto and they can run around terrorizing citizens without regard of their own safety, fears or rights as human beings. What will it take for the authorities to be held accountable for abusing their power?
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