The public can now get rare glimpse at the behavior of police inside of jails, after a video was released by the Metropolitan Detention Center amidst a probe into one of the jail’s workers– Sgt. Allen who has been on paid leave since January. The Albuquerque Journal pressed for the release of the 43-minute-long video that captures the treatment of an inmate, who has been identified as Susie Chavez. Chavez was recorded receiving violent discipline, after jail workers found that she hung posters on the walls of her cell.
“Stop moving!” an officer identified as Sgt. Allen could be heard instructing, “Stand up!” During the second command, a female officer drags Chavez to her feet by her hair, beginning what would become almost an hour-long abuse session.
“Put her in a wrist lock,” Sgt. Allen instructs another jail officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center, “and twist her wrist until she shuts up and stops crying.”
For the duration of the video, captured by Sgt. Allen’s body cam, Chavez cries, shrieks and sobs as she is tasered, maced, yelled at, dragged about like a rag doll. The video is nothing short of disgusting, prompting many to call the actions taken by the police outright torture.
But it seems that us “lay people” simply do not know torture when we see torture, because according to Lt. Stephen Perkins– the president of the union that represents jail officers, neither Allen nor the other officers did anything wrong in the video.
“It’s appropriate to use force to get an inmate to stop making noise, if the ruckus is keeping the inmate from hearing and following commands,” he explained.
Oh yeah, and us simpletons simply can’t grasp the importance of context in this matter, according to Perkins who additionally said that County officials,
“release the video but don’t put it in context.”……….. “Now we have lay people … claiming things are excessive force.”
Us silly lay people! Why can’t we understand that use of excessive force is allowable and encouraged by police officers in jail– in context of course– like, say, to punish an inmate for hanging posters? That makes complete sense folks. Yessir. Um kay.
Nevertheless, even though this inmate’s treatment is justifiable, according to Lt. Perkins, the jail is now training officers on a new use-of-force policy, after private investigators hired by the county found that the jail appeared to have no standardized training for its officers.
Is this what is happening in jails all across the United States of America? If it is, we most certainly should be alarmed, especially when we consider the reality that Black people are overrepresented in the nation’s jails and prisons. Police must be held accountable for their actions on the streets and on the inside of jail and prison doors.