PASSAIC, N.J. (WPIX) – A police officer in New Jersey, captured on surveillance tape viciously beating a mentally ill man, has been reassigned while an investigation into the incident is underway.
Passaic cop Joseph J. Rios III, a seven-year veteran of the force, has not been charged in the May 29 attack but instead has been assigned to desk duty. [...]
Holloway, who has filed an Internal Affairs report, claims he was taking his routine walk when he was suddenly approached by Rios and another officer in a police cruiser. Holloway said he was zipping up his sweatshirt, as requested by the female officer, when Rios launched the attack. Holloway said Rios jumped out of his cruiser and threw him against a car hood for no reason.
Holloway, who reportedly suffers from schizophrenia, was arrested after the incident and charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and wandering with the intent to purchase drugs.
This video from WPIX includes footage of protesters, including an interview with a protester who claims that she was also beaten by Officer Rios a year ago.
Although the assaulted man — like nearly all of the protesters — was Black, none of the news reports I’ve seen have pointed out that these assaults have a racist and sexist aspect. But although all kinds of people are assaulted by cops, the victims in these stories seem to be disproportionately brown-skinned men (both African-American and Latino).
Here’s the footage from the security camera. It really looks like the only thing that stopped the beating from going on much longer was the arrival of more cops.
It’s extraordinary that a surveillance camera happened to be aimed at just the right spot. Without that, everyone would dismiss Holloway as a liar (after all, he’s both black and mentally disabled, plus he now has an arrest record — so that’s three strikes), and this story would never have made the news. How many of the people of color who are arrested for things like “resisting arrest” are innocent victims of police assault, who just didn’t have the luck to have a video camera capture the incident?
I also wondered, was he targeted because he is disabled? From the footage, it doesn’t seem so; there’s nothing to indicate that the cop who beat him knew he was disabled. But maybe he was targeted for his disability, and I’m just not knowledgeable enough to spot it. I certainly can’t dismiss the possibility.
(Via Radley Balko).