Challenge police brutality at your own risk

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Marilyn Mosby: Photo by Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office

Marilyn Mosby, Chris LeDay, and Ramsey Orta don’t appear to have much in common. Mosby is Maryland’s State’s Attorney. LeDay is employed by Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta. Orta currently has five felony charges against him. What links them is the steep price they are paying for challenging police brutality.

Soon after reviewing the evidence surrounding Freddie Gray’s death while in custody of the police, Mosby indicted six officers who were involved in the arrest and hospital transportation that preceded Gray’s spinal injury and death. The police defendants, who opted to have their cases decided by a judge rather than a jury of their peers, were acquitted. Now a lynch mob is calling for Mosby’s resignation.

LeDay, also finds his job (and freedom) in jeopardy. LeDay was responsible for the release of the video showing police shooting an already restrained Alton Sterling outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to Delay, the day after the shooting, police arrived at his job at Dobbins Air Reserve Base brandishing M-16 rifles. They claimed to be arresting LeDay on suspicion of assault and battery; however, the only charges filed after more than 24 hours in police custody were for unpaid parking tickets. Now LeDay, who is a contractor, is having difficulty getting his security clearance approved and has not been allowed back at work. “There aren’t any charges, he never had a warrant for an assault. My client has never had any criminal history,” Attorney Tiffany Simmons told reporters.

Perhaps fearing a repeat of what he’d witnessed two years earlier, Orta, who recorded Eric Garner being choked to death by police, was recently arrested for videotaping police who had stopped a car for having a defective brake light. According to the police, the driver, Anthony Sainphor, was agitated and arrested for possessing a fake Delaware non-driver’s ID card. Orta began videotaping the encounter as Sainphor was being handcuffed. Police say they arrested Orta, as well when he handed Sainphor a business card after police had instructed him to back up.

These three very different situations have only one thing in common: each took action to hold police officers accountable. That too appears to be risky for Black people.

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