It’s a rare thing when black victims of police violence receive any semblance of justice. Well, justice still hasn’t exactly happened for 19-year-old Uwimana Gasito—who was involved in an altercation in front of a Lansing, Mi 7/11 in February that led to him being handled excessively by an arresting officer—but, he is at least having all charges dropped against him, WILX 10 reported.
About a month ago, Gasito posted to Facebook a photo of himself with a swollen eye and full patches of skin removed from his eye and forehead area with a caption claiming he’d been the victim of excessive force by police.
“If you didn’t know I was assaulted by the East Lansing Police Department on Saturday Night. I was recording the police who I believe were unlawfully arresting my friend. While recording three officers arrested me,” the post read. “They threw me to the ground. While I was on the ground in handcuffs the officer was pushing my head into the ground scraping my forehead back and forth. All of this because I was recording the officer attempting to arrest my friend.. I am trying to retrieve the video from my cellphone as we speak. This is the abuse I had to face this past weekend. Police brutality is real. This is my story. This is my truth. This is my pain.”
Gasito told News 10 that he and his brother went to get a drink from 7-Eleven when another man accused him of touching his girlfriend leading to a fight breaking out. Police arrived at the scene minutes later.
“They came and put handcuffs on me. At first, I was scared because I didn’t know why they arrested me so I was resisting a little bit and then all of a sudden they drop me to the ground,” said Gasito.
The East Lansing City Commission urged city officials to release any video evidence relating to the police brutality investigation that ensued, but, ultimately, it did no good as it was determined, per usual, that there was insufficient evidence to prove any allegations of excessive force, according to Lansing State Journal.
“At this point in time, no action has been taken against any of the police officers,” said East Lansing Police Chief Larry Sparkes after he said he found “insufficient information to clearly prove or disprove the allegations.”
After multiple people criticized the investigation’s results and policing in East Lansing, Mayor Ruth Beier said just because this wasn’t a use of excessive force doesn’t mean police handled it perfectly.
“I agree that it could have been done better,” Beier said, adding that’s the point of conversations officials started having, even before the incident, about policing and potential reforms.
Beier said the point of the update on the investigation was to get all the information out in the open.
So Gasito will not likely be receiving any real form of justice and his one consolation may be that all charges against him have been dropped as of Thursday. This decision came after Lansing’s former Police Chief Larry Sparkes found one of the officers involved in the incident had another excessive force complaint filed against him December. That officer is currently on paid administrative leave, according to News 10, leaving us with a single question: what the fuck does a cop have to do to at least lose his paycheck?
Despite the officer in question not being held accountable, Sparke did appear to acknowledge an inherent problem in the department’s investigation process.
“We recognize that there are things we need to do to improve our internal review process and we are actively working to make necessary improvements. We apologize to the community for this oversight,” said Sparkes in a news release. “This remains a top priority for the police department and we are committed to being transparent with the public as we work through making these improvements.”
I’m sure people like Gasito will sleep well tonight knowing that, while cops still appear to have free-reign in handling suspects however the hell they want to, the department is working on it. (Unfortunately, there is still no sarcasm font.)