(H/T Yun Xu)
Last week, Jianqing “Jessica” Klyzek — the 32-year-old owner of a Chicago-area salon — filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department alleging excessive forced and racial discrimination during a police raid of her business. Klyzek released surveillance video document the incident, which occurred last year; in the video, several officers enter the business, grab Klyzek by the arm, throw her to the ground and handcuff her. During the arrest, the following exchange can be heard:
Officer: You’re not fucking American! I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the fuck you came from!
Klyzek: I’m a citizen, okay?
Officer: No, you’re not! No, you’re not a citizen! No, you’re not! No, you’re not! You’re here on our borrowed time, so mind your own fucking business before I shut this whole fucking place down. And I’ll take this place and then whoever owns it will fucking kill you because they don’t care about you, okay?
I’ll take this building. You’ll be dead and your family will be dead.
Video after the jump.
Klyzek is a naturalized citizen originally from China. She also alleges that she was hit in the head while she was kneeling and handcuffed (I didn’t see it in the video; perhaps others caught it?). The video also shows that prior to her arrest, Klyzek was screaming and hysterical although this occurred after Officer Frank Messina first laid hands on Klyzek; Klyzek alleges that this was because she felt threatened by the officers, thinking she was being robbed or attacked. Later, Officer Gerald DiPasquale was the voice of the man heard in the video. Klyzek was subsequently charged with a felony count of assault on a police officer — the cops alleged that Klyzek bit and scratched the cops — although the case was dropped after the security video was submitted by Klyzek’s attorney.
The incidence occurred after an undercover vice officer reported that he was offered sex by one of the salon’s employees. Subsequent to the raid, one masseuse was charged with solicitation and plead guilty to a misdemeanour crime; two others were charged with failing to display their masseuse licenses although those charges were dropped.
Chicago PD is now reporting that an officer involved in the raid has been placed on desk duty, which is basically a dictionary definition of a slap on the wrist. Chicago PD Superintendent Garry McCarthy also cited sensitivity training that police officers in the city routinely undergo. Otherwise, Chicago PD is basically chalking this incident up to “these things happen”.
When asked if he’s worried about the department’s image following such a brazen incident caught on video, McCarthy told reporters at an unrelated news conference that “undesirable things happen after in a though…
“…As human beings, we make blunders,” he mentioned. “Everyone has bad days. And sadly we’re held to a typical where we’re not allowed to have poor days.”
These are exactly the kinds of incidents that promote distrust of law enforcement in marginalized communities, which can lead to high rates of underreporting of crimes and consequently greater risk of violence within immigrant groups.
Law enforcement has a deplorable history of overt brutality against people of colour, including Asian Americans. In the 1970’s, Chinatown residents — particularly Asian American men — were routinely targeted by racial profiling efforts from local cops as gangsters. In New York City last year, an 84-year-old Chinese American man was beaten bloody by cops for the crime of jaywalking.
Police are not thugs. They are charged with the responsibility to serve and protect their communities — all members of their communities, and not just those they like. There is absolutely no excuse for a police officer to treat a suspect in the discriminatory manner that is captured in that security video. Suspect or not, being arrested or not, Klyzek did not deserve this treatment. There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour from any person, let alone a member of law enforcement. Of course, language barriers are sometimes partly to blame — indeed, Klyzek is not fluent in English — but that alone does not explain the racist language and brutal assault that policed used to victimize Klyzek and others.
Law enforcement can do better than this. It’s not unreasonable to expect far better than this.