Police don’t seem to have felt the need to markedly adjust how they treat Black people, despite the various protests and marches last year against their persisting culture of aggression and violence against African Americans.
Deputies from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan exposed that sad truth when they started off 2021 by accosting and arresting a Black man named La’Ron Marshall for the non-crime of walking through his neighborhood and collecting signatures for a petition, reports Insider.
A video captured by a witness to the arrest that took place on her property shows an unidentified officer falsely accusing Marshall of soliciting and then threatening him with arrest.
“I’ve got the right to petition, what am I being arrested for?” Marshall asks.
“Hindering and opposing,” the deputy says nonsensically, after Marshall denies a demand to disclose what he was collecting signatures for and show his I.D. The deputy adds that he was responding to a call from someone about Marshall. Though the woman whose porch the whole thing is happening on repeats that Marshall did nothing wrong and lives in the neighborhood, the officer goes forward with arresting the Black man—and in the presence of children who can be heard crying.
Later on in the 10-minute video, the arresting deputy can be seen shoving Marshall into a patrol car with force. This shamefully typical story of an interaction between a law enforcement officer and an innocent Black man at least has a somewhat silver lining: the deputy who disregarded the victim’s constitutional rights—not to mention his appeal to them that he was a resident of the neighborhood—has been fired for his actions.
“The conduct and actions of this case, in which Mr. Marshall was collecting signatures, does not represent our commitment to our community,” said the Calhoun County’s Sheriff’s Office in a statement on Friday announcing the deputy’s termination. “The actions that Mr. Marshall took that day of circulating a petition are protected by our constitution.”
“When we are wrong, we admit we are wrong. On January 2, we were wrong,” the statement continued.
While the Sheriff’s Office has rightfully dismissed the criminal charges made against Marshall in the bogus arrest, their supposed mea culpa statement was careful not to name the deputy who they saw fit to fire for his actions.
When The Root contacted the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office to find out why, we were only told by a spokesperson that Sheriff Steve Hinkley has chosen “not to name the deputy at this time.”
We do know it’s also typical in American policing for fired cops to be rehired at other law enforcement agencies, which helps explain why so little of them ever bother to adjust their unconstitutional and hostile behavior towards members of the public.
(Updated 3/3/22 with new details)