Do I even need to say it?
Surely, what is known doesn’t need to be put in words—but you want me to say it, don’t you?
Fine, I’ll say it:
There are two Americas.
Just last week, I addressed the issue of police officers thinking that being led in a car chase justifies them beating Black suspects when they finally get them to stop. Today, I have the opportunity to point out the difference in police response when the fleeing suspect is white, old, probably rich and *checks notes* a state’s goddamn Senate majority leader.
Meet Kansas state Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop (R). Last month, a highway patrol officer chased Suellentrop for 10 minutes while the senator sped down a highway in Topeka, Kansas, driving towards oncoming traffic and nearly colliding with multiple cars. A blood test later showed that Suellentrop had more than double the legal blood alcohol limit in his system—and this MF allegedly had the nerve to lash out at the cop that pulled him over.
From the Washington Post:
“All for going the wrong way,” Suellentrop said to the state highway patrol officer who had arrested him, according to an affidavit. “Donut boy.”
As a phlebotomist took a blood sample, 69-year-old Suellentrop also allegedly told Kansas Highway Patrol Officer Austin Shepley that he would beat him in a fight.
“He looked me up and down stating he played state sports competitively” in high school, Shepley wrote in the affidavit, which was reported by the Topeka Capital-Journal and other local media on Thursday. “He stated he could ‘take me.’”
So, obviously, what happened after that was the officer lost his temper, let his ego supersede his training and beat the dog shit out of this hooligan who showed no respect for authority and the blue lives that matter, right? Tell me there was at least some form of chokehold applied. A knee to the back of the neck for at least a few minutes? CERTAINLY, SOMEONE WITH A BADGE AND GUN WAS IN FEAR FOR THEIR LIFE, CORRECT?
*sigh* I don’t really need to say it, do I?
Anyway, according to the Post, Shepley began his pursuit of Suellentrop after multiple motorists called 911 and reported that the senator nearly hit them and that he was driving “in the wrong lane.” Shepley said he personally witnessed Suellentrop almost hit two cars while driving as fast as 90 mph in a 65 mph zone.
Shepley used “tactical vehicle intervention” techniques to stop the speeding SUV twice before he was finally successful. He then approached the vehicle with his gun drawn—the only part of this story that would sound familiar to Black people—and ordered Suellentrop to turn his engine off. Suellentrop allegedly didn’t comply.
So we know what happened next, right? Shepley continued to point his gun at Suellentrop with violent intent while shouting expletives at him and threatening to shoot him in the face if he didn’t do what he was told, right? At least nine more police cars came to back him up, didn’t they?
*deep sigh* More from the Post:
“As I approached the driver, he had his left hand out the window and looked back at me with a confused, frightened, blank stare,” Shepley wrote. “He was not registering my commands or responding to them.”
Shepley holstered his gun and reached into the vehicle to switch the engine off. According to the affidavit, the officer could smell “the odor of an alcoholic beverage” inside the SUV. Shepley pulled Suellentrop out of the SUV and placed him in handcuffs before placing him in the police cruiser’s passenger seat.
He holstered his gun? HOLSTERED HIS GUN?? TF do you meeeeean he holstered his gun?
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say police officers are actually trained to deescalate hostile situations and they only forget said training when dealing with a suspect who is...Do I even need to say it?
Anyway, after Suellentrop was charged with a felony for eluding police, he announced that he would pass most of his duties as a Senate majority leader to Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Larry Alley (R), according to the Kansas City Star. But after the details of his arrest came out Thursday, Democratic senators in the state said that isn’t enough.
“While Senator Suellentrop deserves due process and appropriate consequences for his irresponsible behavior, he also deserves to be held to the same level of accountability as the Kansans he has been elected to represent,” state Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes (D) said in a statement Thursday, KSNT reports. “I am disappointed that he has not come to this conclusion himself.”
It might be disappointing, but it isn’t surprising. Clearly, Suellentrop knows which America he lives in.