"He had no idea they were approaching and was surprised at a tap on his window and a gun pointed at his face..."
The final campaign update is coming tomorrow, but today I just wanted to share this heart wrenching story about the Euclid Police from a State of Injustice contributor.
An Indiegogo supporter shared this post on Facebook and granted us permission to share it. She omitted the victims’ name in order to spare the family coming across the story and re-living the anguish of their loss again.
In 2014 on this day, I ranted about the Euclid police and their treatment of a friend of mine, who had drug arrests in his past (no convictions) and was harassed by the Euclid police. They approached him sitting on the side of the road, talking on his phone because driving and phone talking is illegal. He had no idea they were approaching and was surprised at a tap on his window and a gun pointed at his face, yelling at him to get out of the car. They yanked him out, well attempted to but he was buckled in so they got angrier with him, then used intimidation tactics to keep him off guard in the hope that he would tell them something. They kept telling him to "show them where it is" and "things would go easier on him if he told them where it is." He had no idea what "it" was and they wouldn't tell him. After some time of searching the car, they magically found a needle with a mysterious substance lying on the ground, in the snow, just outside of his vehicle.
He was arrested and kept in holding for an incredibly long time (he had been arrested before, he was familiar with the procedure). The officer in holding apologized for the delay and didn't know what was holding things up. Eventually, they came forth with a felony charge and a lesser charge and he was looking at having to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid going to trial for the felony charge. Both of which he was actually innocent of committing.
My friend was white, which is probably why he actually survived the encounter.
What is even crazier is that just before this, he had been with me at the Euclid library. I was recovering from surgery and couldn't drive, so he drove me to the library so I could get on my computer on the wifi there. He told me he felt very uncomfortable around the cop that was working security at the library (cops do part time security work at libraries and grocery stores as well as schools and I see only a need for them at grocery stores for theft deterrence). I was living in my "cops aren't so bad" mindset at that time because my experience with them prior was a couple of traffic violations and yes, I had been speeding. I hadn't noticed anything. My friend drove me in his car, registered in HIS name. He got arrested twice, one week apart, for drugs in this area because he was driving in his car, registered in his name. He was CLEAN at this time in his life, probably the longest stretch of time he had been clean. He was only visiting me because I lived alone and was limited in what I could do while recovering from surgery.
My friend was white, which is probably why he actually survived the encounter. Sadly, he did not survive his own mental illness and gave up on life a couple of months later. I suspect his encounters with police and knowing he couldn't drive a vehicle registered in his name were part of that reason.
We now have a docuseries outlining the shady practices of the Euclid police department. Please donate, if you can, to help support this story. Attention needs to be brought to the problem before it can be recognized as a problem. My friend was WHITE and not a resident of Euclid. His family is involved in many charitable works in the area. He had volunteered regularly at a Cleveland soup kitchen. Imagine how much worse it is for people not so fortunate to afford a good lawyer or who live in the city and probably got into the justice system as a kid due to cops at the library and the school or who are just not white.
I can't say if my friend would still be around if he hadn't been harassed by the police. I can say that this constant harassment didn't help his mental situation. Imagine living your entire life treated like this, which Black people DO experience, especially in Euclid. No wonder there is a higher likelihood of illness in the Black community. This is why I marched with BLM and other groups in support of victims of police brutality. I do personally know a few cops, I haven't gotten to ACAB because of these people. They were the reason I never thought of cops as bad prior to what happened to my friend.
I see problems with police, like the Euclid PD, being a top down problem. Fix it at the top, like they did in NJ. The families of the victims of the police deserve a better PD. The people living in these cities deserve a better PD. Please donate, if you can, to help this story be heard.
We are at 73% of our goal with five days remaining in our pilot season Indiegogo campaign. Please watch our first two episodes, share everywhere, and contribute if you can so that we can turn State of Injustice into a long term project.