Hey everybody, did you hear the news? Two days ago, in DC's U Street neighborhood, there was an "encounter" between a "wheelchair-bound man" and Metro Transit Police. What kind of "encounter" was it? Did the wheelchair-bound man and the Metro Transit Police trade some recipes, or something? Did they come together to share their feelings with one another? Are Metro Transit Police now providing street-side psychotherapy sessions with DC's underserved populations?
Nah. Mostly these two cops just hoisted the wheelchair-bound man out of chair, threw him on the ground, and cracked his head open on the sidewalk. There's video of the whole thing. Also, some terrifically weaselly reporting from the Washington Post, who apparently find the "encounter" too vague an incident to actually describe correctly.
According to statements provided by the police, the unidentified man was spotted by Metro Transit Police with an alcoholic beverage that he was allegedly drinking in public. The transit cops "tried to issue a citation, but [the unidentified man] 'refused to comply.'" He was then informed that he would be placed under arrest, and is said to have resisted that arrest. The transit police allege that, at some point, the man assaulted a police officer -- from his wheelchair.
So, okay, this is all crime blotter stuff. What gets the matter extra special attention from the newspaper is the video of the "encounter."
You can pretty much see for yourself what happened. Now, maybe send an email to the Post's reporter, Martin Well, so you can explain it to him. Because he's seemingly lost on the basic concepts here.
A video posted on the YouTube Web site of an apparent physical encounter between Metro Transit Police and a man in a wheelchair was shown Sunday on Washington television stations, and Metro said it is looking into the matter.
That's the lede (like I said, it's the video that makes this extra newsy). Why is this characterized as an "apparent physical encounter?" Is there really any doubt that a physical encounter took place? I guess if you narrate the video like this, it can be confusing.
The video begins with the man in the chair, two officers alongside. A few seconds later, all three have pitched forward and are prone. Still later, the officers are standing while the man remains on the ground, with off-camera voices appearing to express dismay.
The narrative jumps from the man being in the chair to "pitched forward and prone," with the officers. Then it jumps to the officers standing. What's left out is the officers hoisting and heaving the man face-first on the ground. Also, the reason the police are later seen to be standing is because both apparently retain that physical ability, over the man who was in the wheelchair.
This paragraph is also magical:
Metro issued a statement Sunday saying that the man, whom police have not identified, had resisted arrest, "which resulted in him falling out of his wheelchair."
Ha, yes, that's how cause and effect works! The man resisted arrest, and the wheels of fate were thus set in motion, spinning on to the inevitable conclusion of the man "falling" from his wheelchair. That was quite a fall he took, too. You know, the one that happened because he was lifted into the air and thrown on the ground?
The report also goes on to describe the unidentified man as having sustained an "apparent injury," because I guess you can't rule out the possibility that he had carefully placed a pool of his own blood on the sidewalk prior to the "encounter."