Euclid, OH — Richard Hubbard, arguably, should not have been driving with a suspended license. He also, should not have been uncooperative when police asked him to step out of the vehicle he was driving. But neither offense, in the minds of many objective observers, deserved the several minutes long beat down he received at the hands of Euclid police.
Because so much of the traffic stop is unknown, as only the second half of it was recorded by a spectator, there are many unanswered questions. But what is known is Hubbard appeared to be complying with police, yet was violently arrested with actions that included punches to the head, knees on the skull, twisting and turning of arms, hands, and fingers. All in all, Hubbard was horribly manhandled.
Adding insult to injury, his friend, who was recording the incident was also placed in handcuffs in a clear violation of her First-Amendment right to record police interactions. From the video, it seems she never once, although we are sure she wanted to, attempted to intervene in the violence.
Euclid police responded with a statement saying "just before 10:30 a.m., an officer pulled over Richard Hubbard, 25, of Cleveland, for a moving/traffic violation near 240 East 228th Street" according to Fox 8.
The statement also says the unnamed officer was taken to an area hospital, treated and released, but the suspect, who bore the brunt of the violent beat-down, was taken to jail and examined by a healthcare provider. Yes. That's right. The one giving the beat-down was treated at the hospital and the one receiving the actual violence got checked out when he got to jail. We, at TFTP, thought that was ironic.
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Councilwoman Taneika Hill was admittedly disturbed by the now viral video she watched which documented the treatment Hubbard received from those who were supposed to be protecting and serving the community, a community which also included Hubbard. She remarked:
I was very disturbed by what I saw.I am waiting for my chief and my mayor to respond to me and add some clarity. To me the video is very disturbing....I do not want to move ahead of facts, but at the same time the human in me, its disturbing, to see a person hitting someone to that degree is disturbing. I will never understand why the officers would continuously hit. I will never understand why the young lady [who was video recording it] was put on the ground...to me that is humiliating, cant wrap my mind around things like that...Do not want to move ahead of the facts...I am not an officer...again, I don't know what happened before, I can't speak on what happened. I can only speak on what my heart felt.
We, at TFTP want our readers to be the judge. At what point in the video could the officer have cuffed Mr. Hubbard? How can police justify mounting a suspect and giving a UFC-style ground and pound to someone involved in a simple traffic violation?
Is using one's knee to press down on a man's skull who is already under control by two other officers, somehow a part of police procedure? These questions and more remain as community leaders, and activists alike, have now joined hands and minds to question to the police tactics of Euclid's finest.
Police need to refrain from passing judgment on suspects by becoming judge and punisher. It is not the job of police to carry out corporal punishment, no matter what the department's official use of force policy states. It's simply unethical and immoral.