Madison County, MS — If you don’t break the law, we are told, you have nothing to worry about from cops. Sadly, those who blindly repeat that phrase remain irresponsibly oblivious to the real problem of police abusing innocent people. As a recent ACLU lawsuit shows, being innocent is no guarantee police won’t kick in your door, strangle you, beat you, and force you to fill out a false statement.
In June of last year, six Madison County Sheriff’s deputies forced their way into the home of Quinnetta and Khadafy Manning. The deputies broke into their home and abused them, demanding they write a witness statement about an alleged burglary — only, the Mannings had never witnessed this burglary.
Luckily for the Mannings, the deputies did not notice that Quinnetta began filming their abuse.
“Officer, please, Why are you handling me like this?” asked an innocent Khadafy Manning as he struggled to breathe with the deputy’s hand around his throat.
“Because you ain’t actin’ right,” barks the abusive tyrant as he and his cronies invade an innocent family’s home at 7:00 am on a Saturday.
Even if Khadafy Manning had committed a crime, the excessive force by the police was entirely unwarranted as he is disabled and uses a cane to walk.
When the Mannings tell the deputies they have no idea about the burglary, one of the deputies threatens to kidnap and extort them over it.
“Now, y’all come clean, or you can go down to jail and, by Tuesday, you can see a judge and get you about a $50,000 bond for burglary,” he says of his power to legally kidnap and extort people.
With the threat of violence and kidnapping, the deputy tells Khadafy that he can either falsely sign the witness statement or else.
“Either you put it on paper, or, you’re just as guilty as he is and we going down to jail,” the deputy demands.
After Khadafy refuses once more to falsify a statement about an alleged crime he knew nothing about, police turned up the violence. He was choked once more, thrown to the ground, dragged out of his front door and beaten by public servants.
As the ACLU explains, terrified for her family’s safety, Mrs. Manning wrote what they demanded while her husband — a disabled man who uses a cane — was dragged down stairs and beaten in a patrol car until he, too, wrote a false statement.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the Manning’s abuse captured on video is that deprivation of rights, beatings, false confessions and unchecked aggression toward black people in Madison county happens on a regular basis.
Black individuals are almost five times more likely than white people to be arrested in Madison County. While only 38% of Madison County’s population is Black, 73% of arrests made by the sheriff’s department between May and October of 2016 were of Black people.
There are so many similar instances of abuse in Madison county that the ACLU has filed a class action lawsuit against the Madison County Sheriff Department.
As the ACLU reports, the plaintiffs in our lawsuit are 10 individuals who — absent any wrongdoing — have been illegally stopped, frisked, searched, arrested, pulled over, subjected to unjustified physical force, or endured home invasions. Their stories, along with historical evidence and statistical data, reveal striking racial disparities in the Madison County Sheriff’s Department’s practices. The lawsuit will show that the department treats innocent people as if they are criminals, tramples on the rights of the Black community in Madison County, and perpetuates fear and suspicion of the police. These actions hurt their ability to provide and promote public safety.
The ACLU says they hope this lawsuit helps to curb the abuse and violence doled about the tyrannical department. However, if history is any indicator, the only people to suffer from lawsuits against the police — even successful ones — are the taxpayers.
The next time someone tells you that being innocent is a way to protect yourself from cops, share this article with them.