Wildwood, PA – A video posted on Facebook of a cop ‘sucker punching’ a man before handcuffing him has caused outrage in the community and prompted an investigation by Cape May County prosecutors.
Citizens Against Abusive Power Systems (CAAPS) uploaded the video Monday afternoon, saying the incident occurred June 18. The officer and the man arrested have not been publicly identified.
Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto told local NBC10 the man was suspected in a “disorderly persons complaint” and says we don’t know what happened beforehand. However, during the video we can plainly see that the man was simply standing there, when the cop suddenly punches the man in the face like a schoolyard bully.
It seems impossible to conclude that this is normal protocol in dealing with a suspect in a minor complaint. Even if the man was belligerent and insulting, cops are supposed to apply de-escalation tactics in order to reduce the likelihood of violence.
The department gave no other details, including what led to the arrest. Meanwhile, this officer is still on duty despite his clear proclivity for violence.
CAAPS is asking that anyone with more information come forward “so we can get this officer off the street.” The non-profit group based in Clifton Heights, PA “investigates, exploits, and fights corruption and abuse, and provides support services to victims of abuse,” according to their homepage.
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As more and more examples of police brutality are exposed – such as suddenly punching a man in the face and knocking him to the ground – it begs the question of what gets these cops into a state of mind where violence is their first response?
A study published June 19 provides scientific evidence that cops with low self-control in their personal lives “are more likely to use deadly force on the job.”
“Researchers measured self-control based on eight indicators including whether the officer had financial problems or had been in a car accident. Each indicator increased the likelihood of an officer's involvement in a shooting by 21 percent, according to the research…
Officers were more likely to be involved in deadly shootings if they scored lower in self-control based on the following factors: a history of a suspended driver's license, involvement in a motor vehicle accident, had ever been behind on paying bills, had loans or debts over $1,000, been under any type of court order, been divorced or separated or received a traffic ticket in the past five years.”
This study only looked at deadly shootings. It would be interesting, and likely quite revealing, if we could also analyze the data with respect to all cases of police brutality. Who knows how many of the eight indicators were present in the aforementioned cop who sucker punched a man before handcuffing him?
"What we see in criminology more generally is that a pattern of indicators tends to raise more of a yellow flag but not necessarily a red flag," said co-author Dr. Alex Piquero. "But police departments can and should develop and employ screening devices to help them identify applicants who may need more additional vetting as well as continue to monitor their officers' behavior and provide additional screening and training over the course of the officers' careers. Done well, this should help departments recruit and retain the best officers who can work with the community to keep our cities safe."
Sadly, this advice is not likely to be taken seriously by many police departments. While there are ‘good cops’ who do everything they can to de-escalate and avoid violence, far too often we see violent, authoritarian behavior from cops, which results in innocent lives being lost and families shattered.