Law enforcement officials in Joliet, Ill., say they are in the “early stages” of investigating a traffic stop a that resulted in a broken hand, smashed car windows, a seemingly brutal beating, a tasering and a collection of viral videos that documented it all.
Twenty-one-year-old Milton Travis was headed home in his silver Chevrolet Malibu Friday night when police allege that he ignored a stop sign. As you will soon see, cops in Joliet apparently take their street signs very seriously.
According to the police account reported by the Joliet Patch, police say “officers had to aggressively apply their brakes on their squad car to avoid making contact with the other vehicle,” which is an odd way to describe an encounter with a car a car that didn’t stop, adding: “The officers had to activate their siren and horn twice before the vehicle would comply with the traffic stop.”
After the officers endured the painstaking agony of blowing their horn two times and approached the car, Travis refused to roll down his window. Even though the video recorded by one of his passengers, Deandra Robinson, 19, appears to show that the responding officer could be heard clearly through the glass, Joliet officers were still reeling from Travis’ blatant disregard for the emotions of stop signs.
“What was your probable cause of pulling me over?” Travis says in the video as the cop informs the Black & Mild-smoking driver that he would be under arrest if he doesn’t roll down the window.
After a back-and-forth argument in which Travis refused to roll down the window and lit his Black & Mild without freaking it, the police found a solution often taught in police academies, Kool-Aid commercials and Jazmine Sullivan songs: They bust his windows out his car.
For ignoring a stop sign.
An onlooker who happened to be filming the incident captured another angle of the encounter which shows police breaking the windows, snatching Travis out of the car and appearing to violently beat him with a nightstick as bystanders and the other passengers helplessly look on.
The police version of the story is that Travis “resisted the officer’s efforts to remove him from the vehicle,” leaving the cops with no alternative but to “increase their response to his resistance to the arrest,” which, according to the Official Police Dictionary of Bullshit Definitions, is the formal term for “snatching his ass out of the car.”
Police spokesman Darrell Gavin said Travis was subdued after a “brief struggle.” One of his passengers, 23-year-old Maurice Bass, was tasered because Bass wouldn’t comply with ... Well, they didn’t include that detail but I’m sure Bass refused to comply with getting his head bashed in. People are funny that way.
Travis was charged with obstructing a police officer, resisting a police officer, disobeying a stop sign, disobeying a police officer and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. Bass and Robinson, were also charged with resisting a police officer. An unnamed 16-year-old passenger was charged with a curfew violation, the Herald-News reports.
Joliet Police Department Brian Benton issued a statement on the department’s Facebook page acknowledging the investigation into the cops’ behavior, adding:
We will be reviewing the dash-cam videos, audio-recordings, police reports, and any other relevant information to determine if the officers acted in accordance with department policy and within the scope of the law.
Apparently “relevant information” doesn’t include talking to the actual people who were injured, including Travis Milton, who reportedly suffered a fractured hand from the incident.
The official police report does not state whether Travis’ Black & Mild was the wood-tipped variety or had the plastic tip. Law enforcement officials have also not issued a formal apology to Milton for breaking his hand, his car windows or his spirit. But to be fair, Travis should offer an apology for his insensitive behavior.
I’m sure that stop sign is still upset about being ignored.