At this point, there’s very little that can change my opinion that cops are the most inhumane group of people in the country. If they’re not brutalizing Black bodies in the middle of the street, then chances are they’re violating them while confined in a jail cell. Example: A Black woman in Illinois was pinned, tased, and stripped naked while there were at least two male officers witnessing.
You really have to wonder how these people can even act like they’re the “good guys” anymore.
According to Vice News, it was a rainy October day in 2019 when Ariel Harrison encountered Macomb Police officers after dropping her three kids off at a nearby YMCA. Harrison saw police lights flashing behind her, and assuming they were pulling over someone else, she pulled to the side of the road and continued to drive slowly. Once she realized they were pulling her over, she came to a stop and was immediately met with aggression when the officers approached her car.
“When they pulled me over, they didn’t really explain to me, they just pulled me out of my car,” Harrison told Vice News. Harrison said that she tried to explain to the officer that the driver’s side window wouldn’t roll down, and when she unlocked her door, the officer opened it and immediately escalated the situation.
“Ariel’s being given multiple, simultaneous, and even contradictory instructions as a disabled driver who is blind in her left eye,” Democratic Women of McDonough County founder Heather McMeekan told VICE News. “She’s being told, ‘Put it in park, open the door, unbuckle your seatbelt, give me your driver’s license, give me your vehicle registration.’ They literally give her just a few seconds.”
The Democratic Women of McDonough County are an Illinois-based organization committed to fighting racial and social injustice. They stepped in to help Harrison with her case after her public defender failed to dispute the charge that she assaulted the police officer. So far the organization has started a petition to have the charges dropped against Harrison, a GoFundMe to help her pay for legal services, and they have managed to have two videos of the incident released. The first video is security footage of three correctional officers—two male and one female—tasing Harrison as they remove her sweater and handcuffs.
A second video, which was released last month, takes place hours later. In the footage, Harrison approaches the door of the cell as two officers, one male and one female, enter. While aiming a taser at Harrison, the female officer demands that she take her clothes off, according to...McMeekan.
Harrison said she refused over fears of being sexually assaulted, as a male officer was also in the room at the time.
“I had told her that it’s not right. That he wasn’t supposed to be there while I changed,” Harrison said. “She told me, ‘Well, he’s here with me.’ Basically, she didn’t really care. I felt like she violated my rights.”
Instead of giving Harrison privacy to follow the orders, the video shows the female officer with the taser beginning to remove Harrison’s top as the male officer watches. Eventually he joins in on removing Harrison’s clothing as a third officer, another male, walks into the cell. The third officer restrains Harrison’s legs by kneeling on them as the first two officers remove the rest of her garments.
The three officers then exit the cell, leaving Harrison naked and alone before returning to hand her a cloak to cover herself.
“That stuff happened so fast,” Harrison said, recounting the events of that night. “When I watch the video of them doing that stuff to me, I’m in shock. It’s like I look at them and say ‘That couldn’t be me.’”
The Macomb Police Department sent a statement to Vice basically saying they’re all good with how things went down. “The incident was documented by involved personnel. Additionally, the incident was further reviewed by Department Supervisory personnel and documented per Macomb Police Policy and Procedures,” the statement said. “The Macomb Police Department serves our community in a fair and unbiased manner as we report events objectively, impartially, and without bias.”
The officers involved with the incident have explained that Harrison was resisting arrest, and I guess they think that excuses them for acting like inhumane thugs.
Harrison was handcuffed and transported to the McDonough County Jail. Outside of the building, the abuse would continue, according to Harrision. Terrified and still not understanding why she was being arrested, she admits that she failed to comply with commands to get out of the police vehicle.
That’s when one of the corrections officers allegedly approached the police vehicle and removed Harrison by force and slammed her to the ground. She said she unknowingly grabbed the collar of an officer on her blindside in hopes of breaking the fall. That contact led to the aggravated battery charge.
Another corrections officer, who maintains that Harrison was resisting arrest, then tased her multiple times, according to the police booking report. The mother of three says she passed out during the interaction and later woke up in her cell.
The officer’s account of what happened only states that Harrison was placed in a holding cell and makes no mention that Harrison passed out. It also says that officers asked Harrison if she would comply with a sobriety test and refused.
Harrison is currently facing five to seven years in prison for charges that include aggravated battery, driving under the influence, resisting a peace officer, and improper lane usage. As a result of the incident, she has also lost custody of her kids. Although the officers arrested her for driving under the influence, Harrison told Vice News she never received a breathalyzer test nor was told why she was being arrested.
“I’ve never done wrong. I’ve never messed with the law,” Harrison told Vice News. I came down here to Macomb to let my kids live and be free. But now my kids have been taken from me, and I have these cases against me.”