October 13, 2023
From The Real News Network
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Brittany Trevino of New Braunfels, Texas, was going through her family storage unit two years ago when she was suddenly accosted by police and arrested under questionable circumstances. Trevino’s possession of a small pipe used to smoke legal CBD hemp was used to charge her with drug paraphernalia, a crime for which she was ultimately convicted. Despite this injustice, Trevino tried to move on with her life—then, one day, she encountered the same officer who arrested her. Overcome with displeasure, Trevino made a rude gesture to the officer, who responded by walking away from a traffic stop he was conducting to pull Trevino over and arrest her for failing to signal a lane change. Police Accountability Report reviews the footage and evidence surrounding Trevino’s case, and speaks with Brittany personally to examine how much of a burden the system has placed on her life and family.

Production: Stephen Janis, Taya Graham
Post-Production: Stephen Janis, Adam Coley


Transcript

The following is a rushed transcript and may contain errors. A proofread version will be made available as soon as possible.

Taya Graham:

Hello, my name is Taya Graham and welcome to the Police Accountability Report. As I always make clear, this show has a single purpose holding the politically powerful institutional policing accountable. And to do so, we don’t just focus on the bad behavior of individual cops. Instead, we examine the system that makes bad policing possible. And today we will achieve that goal by showing you this video of the arrest of a Texas woman that was prompted by simply letting her displeasure known about an overly aggressive cop. But it’s why the police decided to place handcuffs on her and what happened before the arrest occurred that we will be unpacking today. A prime example of how the extraordinary powers we grant police can be used to retaliate against us.

But before I get started, I want you to know that if you have video evidence of police misconduct, please email it to us privately at [email protected] or reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter at @tayasbaltimore and we might be able to investigate for you. And please like, share and comment on our videos. It helps us get the word out and can even help our guests. And of course, you know I read your comments and appreciate them. You see those little hearts I give out down there. And we do have a Patreon called Accountability Reports. So if you feel inspired to donate, please do. We don’t run ads or take corporate dollars, so anything you can spare is truly appreciated. All right, we’ve gotten that out of the way.

Now, one of the biggest challenges to holding police accountable is fighting back against the unique set of powers that are vested in them and ability to retaliate using the law that is both treacherous and consequential when abused by the people who wield it. That’s because if a department or even a single cop doesn’t like what you have to say, they have an easy and extremely effective way to push back, namely the arrest. And the series of events depicted in the video I’m showing you now is a perfect example of that truism. It reveals exactly how police can literally cage a critic and as a result, throw an innocent life into chaos. The story starts in New Braunfels, Texas. Three years ago, that’s when police there decided to arrest Brittany Sams. Brittany had been visiting a family storage unit searching for an Instapot, but suddenly, and without warning police pounced, let’s watch.

Brittany Trevino:

[inaudible 00:02:15] this guy just beat me up. This guy just beat me up.

Speaker 3:

She’s resisting.

Speaker 4:

Relax.

Brittany Trevino:

I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.

Speaker 4:

[inaudible 00:02:26].

Brittany Trevino:

[inaudible 00:02:26] a liar.

Speaker 3:

Stop resisting, damn it.

Brittany Trevino:

You are a liar. You are a liar and you beat me up. Please I’m not resisting.

Speaker 4:

Move your hand.

Brittany Trevino:

I’m not resisting. I just… Oh my God-

Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:02:30].

Brittany Trevino:

… He just beat me up. He just for real beat me up.

Speaker 3:

Relax.

Taya Graham:

Now it’s worth noting the police had not an iota of evidence or probable cause to arrest Brittany. In fact, after searching her car and aggressively patting her down, the only charge that could conjure was, I’m not even kidding, drug paraphernalia due to a pipe they found in her car that she contends was filled with legal CBD or hemp. Just watch.

Speaker 3:

Listen.

Brittany Trevino:

[inaudible 00:03:00] beat me up. I’m serious.

Speaker 3:

Hey.

Brittany Trevino:

For no reason, he grabbed me. He started threatening me. He slammed me against the car because he was like, I going to slam you against the car. He said it so defiantly, so cocky.

Speaker 3:

What is your name? Have you ever been to [inaudible 00:03:12] Texas ID or driver’s license?

Brittany Trevino:

Yes, of course I have.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Brittany Trevino:

Of course I have.

Speaker 3:

The reason it looks like there’s a lot of people here. We have some people in training. Okay, that’s all it is. So listen. Okay, I need you to level with me on one thing, other than the marijuana pipe. Is there anything, anything in your car?

Brittany Trevino:

I already told you the answer to that question. No, I’m not a [inaudible 00:03:34].

Speaker 3:

I don’t understand why they just don’t freaking comply.

Speaker 4:

That’s because you caught them doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing.

Speaker 3:

So right now all I’ve got is a class C, which I don’t know if they’re going to take but she was resisting. So I got that. Wire cutter in the glove box. Other than that, there’s nothing I can link her to unless she threw it back here.

Speaker 4:

[inaudible 00:04:00]. All right, I’m going to put you in handcuffs. Okay?

Speaker 3:

So this is what you’re going to be charged with. All over drug paraphernalia.

Taya Graham:

But that didn’t matter because Brittany was dragged into court over the charges, not just any court, but in municipal court, which generally speaking is designed solely to process fines and tickets issued by local cops, not adjudicate justice. But that ordeal was not the end of the turmoil for Brittany, not in the least. Because after having to defend herself in court on bogus charges and after being convicted of that same meaningless crime, Brittany was upset to say the least. The process had cost her time, money, and work. And that’s where the next chapter in the saga begins. The point where we show you, not tell you just how destructive the power of police can be when it is subject to the slightest pushback.

That’s because roughly a month ago, Brittany was driving when she spotted the same officer who arrested her. This time, he was conducting a traffic stop angry and still suffering from the fallout over her questionable arrest, Brittany did what every American has the right to do, express her displeasure with the government. Now she decided to make the statement in the most concise and admittedly creative way possible. Her act of defiance expressed in the raising of the middle finger, a legally protected act that succinctly expressed her sentiment regarding the officer in question. But that same officer decided that with regards to him, the first amendment was not applicable at all and that aiming a middle finger in his direction was in fact a criminal act. Because shortly after Brittany furnished her one star review of his job performance, that same officer left the scene of the car stop, raced after Brittany and proceeded to pull her over. Take a look.

Brittany Trevino:

Why? Because the cop that arrested me for resisting arrest now has pulled me over for flipping him off.

Speaker 3:

I’m going [inaudible 00:06:07].

Brittany Trevino:

I know who you are.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Brittany Trevino:

I know who you are.

Speaker 3:

That’s fine.

Brittany Trevino:

You’re pulling me over for flipping you off.

Speaker 3:

Ma’am-

Brittany Trevino:

Yes you are. You are retaliating against me. You turned your sirens on and everything ran over here like a crazy person.

Speaker 3:

Okay. Well ma’am, the reason why you’re being contacted is you failed to a signal lane change when you flipped me off.

Brittany Trevino:

Okay.

Speaker 3:

Okay? So go ahead and step by the car.

Speaker 5:

[inaudible 00:06:30].

Brittany Trevino:

He’s hurt me before. Please don’t let him do anything to me. Please. Please. Please. Please don’t. I flipped him off because he’s been illegal to me.

Taya Graham:

And then without any warning, he declared Brittany under arrest for, and I’m not kidding, failing to signal before a lane change, just watch.

Speaker 3:

All right. [inaudible 00:06:53]. You’re under arrest for fail to signal a lane change.

Brittany Trevino:

I’m under arrest for failing to signal a lane change?

Speaker 3:

Yes, ma’am.

Brittany Trevino:

I’m under arrest for failing to signal a lane change?

Speaker 3:

Yes, ma’am.

Taya Graham:

Now, it’s worth noting that the Texas Transportation Code calls for up to a $200 fine for failing to signal a lane change. But nowhere in the law is there any mention of jail time for this infraction. Hence, cuffs and an arrest are not warranted. But just moments later, that same officer made an astonishing admission when he was questioned by a supervisor, the cop actually admitted, at least tacitly, that he had specifically targeted Brittany, a startling confession that reveals just how easy it is for officers to retaliate against their critics. Take a listen.

Speaker 6:

Did she not have a driver’s license or what? Why are we arresting her for a traffic infraction?

Speaker 3:

Well, she comes down the street, comes right towards me, as I’m walking back by the car to be doing nothing, she flips me off. And then as she does that, she gets in the lane and fails to single a lane change. You think it’s going to be an issue?

Speaker 6:

Given your history her.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

Any other person you would write a ticket to, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

So that’s how you have to treat every interaction.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Taya Graham:

So I just want to take a second to make an important point here. Often during the encounters we report on people ask for a supervisor, and often police respond in ways that could generously be characterized as dismissive. However, as this case proves, that request is firmly founded in the fact that during a questionable arrest, another set of eyes or the presence of another cop can help. It’s not a perfect or guaranteed solution, but as this encounter demonstrates it can’t hurt. Just listen again as the supervisor questions the officer’s justification for the arrest.

Speaker 3:

You think it’s going to be an issue?

Speaker 6:

Given your history with her.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

So any other person you would a ticket to, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

So that’s how you have to treat every interaction.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Taya Graham:

Unfortunately, in this case, the near arrest was not the end of the consequences for Brittany, an ongoing ordeal that we will be discussing with her shortly. But before we do, I’m joined by my reporting partner, Stephen Janis, who’s been reaching out to police and looking into this story. Stephen, thank you so much for joining me.

Stephen Janis:

Taya. Thanks thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

Taya Graham:

So first, Stephen, what are police saying about this arrest?

Stephen Janis:

Well, Taya, we reached out to everyone possible in this government. We reached out to the city manager, the assistant city manager, the liaison between the police department and the police chief asking them specific questions about this officer and other problems within the department. They have not got back to us yet, but we will keep following up with this because we are going to get answers about this cop, about this arrest and about this whole fiasco, I promise you that.

Taya Graham:

So what details do we have about the first arrest and the municipal courts? How do those types of courts differ and why are they so problematic?

Stephen Janis:

Municipal courts are basically profit centers for cities. They’re run by the city government. So hence you don’t have the separation of powers like you have with a real independent judiciary. They are basically cash registers for politicians to raise money off the backs of the people. Basically, we know in this situation, she couldn’t get a public defender, you can’t get a public defender. It’s very hard to appeal. There’s a study in the Harvard Law Review which shows that municipal courts are really, really, really isolated from the entire legal system. Not independent, don’t have many defense attorneys and basically run by the people who are enacting laws and trying to extract fines. It’s a mess and it’s not something I think that’s healthy for our democracy.

Taya Graham:

What concerns does this series of events raise for you? I mean, what have you found looking into the town and the police department itself?

Stephen Janis:

Well Taya, I looked at the town finances extremely revealing. Over 50% of the discretionary spending of the budget goes into policing law enforcement and public safety. Whereas only 13% to 12% goes into quality of life. And I think this is exemplar of what happens when you overinvest in policing because you have these bogus arrests, you have police who have nothing better to do. Why would a cop pursue something for giving them a finger? It makes no sense if there was other crime going on, and yet the city still spends half of its discretionary income or half its discretionary budget on policing. It’s absurd. This is really exemplar of the problem with over-policing and why we spend too much on arresting and punishing people and not taking care of them.

Taya Graham:

And now to learn about what happened to her before and after the arrest and how she’s fighting back, I’m joined by Brittany. Brittany, thank you so much for joining me.

Brittany Trevino:

Thank you for having me, Taya.

Taya Graham:

So why did the officer approach you in the incident that we’re seeing from last month?

Brittany Trevino:

Well, I gave him… He was blocking the lane I was in, so I had to switch lanes. And when I seen him, I flipped him off. He left his traffic stop and he came and pulled me over. He said I did not use my turn signal.

Taya Graham:

So did he say he was pulling you over for exercising your first amendment rights or did he have another pretext?

Brittany Trevino:

I think he had talked to the other officers on his way to pull me over because they had showed up behind him. He waited until they got out or started pulling up to get out of his car and then he came up to me quickly while they were pulling up and getting out of their vehicles. And he had that conversation with me in the window, told me to get out of the car and he told me to get out of the car right when the other officer, the least ranking officer that came up afterwards, he told him to put me in handcuffs. So I just turned around and he did put me in handcuffs. He was not aggressive or anything to me. He was fine to me. He was just doing whatever he was told. But he’s the one that put me in handcuffs and then Akers was going to have me transported by him to the jail. So

Taya Graham:

Talk to me a little bit about what you heard later in the recording. I mean, what did his supervisor tell him about the arrest he was trying to affect? Because we hear Officer Akers say he wanted to arrest you and put you in jail for not using a turn signal. I have that right.

Brittany Trevino:

So actually I didn’t even realize what had been caught on the livestream until the next day when people started commenting on it because I just closed it and was done with it. But after I reviewed it, I did hear him say that he was taking me to jail for failure to use a turn signal. And then the superior officer, the sergeant asked if he would do that to anybody else and he said he would give a ticket to anybody else that wasn’t me. And he said, so you got to give her a ticket too and let her go. And then he told them that they could let me go, and he went and sat in his car and waited for them to get his ticket for the turn signal signed and then they gave it back to him when he left.

Taya Graham:

This shows just how important it can be to have a supervisor on the scene. But it seemed that seeing Officer Akers, having your hands put behind your back and the cuffing itself was just very traumatizing. How did you feel in that moment? You seemed so scared and stressed. What were you thinking?

Brittany Trevino:

Oh, I am terrified to go to jail. Previously, why I flipped him off when I was driving by is that I had a really bad experience over the last two years with this certain officer. I mean, I wouldn’t just go around flipping off any cop. I would flip off Patrick Akers because of an arrest that he put me through in 2019 or the beginning of 2020 it was. And then that just concluded last month.

Taya Graham:

So you previously had a bad experience with him. Can you talk about that? Let me show some of the video and tell me what we’re seeing here.

Brittany Trevino:

I was really actually super glad when the other two officers ran around the corner to come save Akers because he had put in… He made a call on the radio for all officers in town to turn on their lights and sirens and speed there as quickly as possible. So every officer in town was on their way to save him from me during this interaction. But as soon as they turned the corner, I was just so happy that somebody else was there. I mean, I was in a dark alleyway alone with this man and he was saying things that did not make sense to me. It was almost immediate that he grabbed me and shoved his camera into my back and started screaming, stop resisting. He had me shoved into my vehicle. I could not move if I wanted to turn around, I couldn’t. And his reasoning for it, I could not, I literally couldn’t understand. I mean, I didn’t understand that night. I didn’t understand for probably I didn’t fully understand until I went to trial.

Taya Graham:

Can you tell me what you were charged for with this arrest and what the results of the case were?

Brittany Trevino:

Said I was under arrest for resisting arrest and then there was a pipe like a CBD that… Okay, in this town you can buy hemp flour and you can buy pipes to smoke just like tobacco. They’re glass pipes. And I had a glass pipe, multicolored glass pipe on my seat, I guess. And when he seen that, he whipped out his handcuffs. He had already been grabbing me and I was up against my car when he seen it. But you know the exact second when he sees it, because he sees it, he gets a sigh of relief. You can tell because he is like, oh, how am I going to explain this? And then it’s like he gets confident and he’s like, ah, you are doing all of this because you have a marijuana pipe.

And then they ripped apart my vehicle, so that’s more cost, by the way. I mean ripped. He took my Michael Kor’s wallet that I had just gotten for Christmas, tore the stitching, pulled out the venting from underneath my dash. I had to get it put back up in there, the vents. And then it looked like he had taken a knife or something and tried to peel up my airbags that are factory sealed. It’s like he was looking anywhere to find something and you can tell if you watch the interaction afterwards, you can tell that he is getting more and more upset that all he found in there was a pipe that they did not even test. They told me at my trial that was my… I could have had it tested, but I didn’t. I could have brought proof that I was innocent, but I did not do that.

Taya Graham:

So what were the consequences of that arrest? How did it impact you financially or even emotionally or even physically? I mean you were just recovering from an accident when this happened, right?

Brittany Trevino:

So I mean, I guess I’ll start with physically. I mean physically my wrist now, it clicks all the time and it’s ever since then. And then my shoulder, I can’t really put my hand behind my back anymore comfortably at all. So I definitely have damage that’s lasted at least two years physically. But also at the time of the first arrest, I had only been walking a couple weeks. I had not been walking since January of that year, and this happened in July, June or July, and I just started walking when he was doing that to me. It was just like, I mean, nobody wants to be approached in a dark alleyway alone, first of all. So there’s that.

Taya Graham:

And how did it impact your family and your finances?

Brittany Trevino:

Cost, first of all, I went to jail. So that was $1,500 cash to the court. It had to be paid. So my husband basically took all the money we didn’t have and got me out of jail, which is great. He’s amazing, but he’s also went through a lot because of this. It’s put a lot of strain on our family, especially for me to be so traumatized by it that it has affected my life. Just not wanting to leave the house, not wanting to… I get scared when I see him. And yeah, I flipped him off, but I flipped him off for the sake of America because I mean, this is not right. What he did to me was completely wrong to do. Financially $1,500 right away.

And then I have gone to court at least twice a month every month, including now. So right as my trial ended is when I flipped him off and got pulled over. So it has not stopped since June of 2020 that I’ve been going to court at least once a month, usually twice. I’ve had a couple trials. Those were five days, one of them was five days, one of them was one day. So the cost of just traveling to back and from is substantial. It’s at least $40 a month just to drive to these places. And then either my husband doesn’t go to work or my sister doesn’t go to work.

So I added it up and I think it was a total of 45 days in the last two years I have spent in a courtroom all day long. So I mean that’s over a month of income just in court dates. And then to top it off, I had to pay for my public defender, which was $1,500. I wasn’t allowed to have a public defender in the other one. And the costs just keep going. There’s court costs on top of it, which is about $350. For the trials, I have to pay overtime for the police, I was reading. It has overtime for them. So not only does he… It’s like he gets a bonus when he does things like this. Because now he gets to sit in court and not have to actually go do his job, and all he is got to do is sit there and lie and he gets paid overtime.

Taya Graham:

You mentioned an unusual detail about your arrest with Officer Akers, and it’s actually something I have never heard before, but you had confirmed by IA, internal investigations. What was it? I have never had anyone mention this to me before.

Brittany Trevino:

He handcuffed his self to me.

Speaker 3:

Just waiting for you guys to get here. I couldn’t get the cuffs off and I got my shit stuff up inside the cuff. So we were just tangled together for like until you guys got here.

Brittany Trevino:

That’s why I didn’t get slammed on the ground. They had to come help him, release himself from me and re-put other handcuffs on me after they de-handcuffed us from each other. I found out that only in the internal affairs meeting when I went to meet with the Internal Affairs, he said, “Well, I think Akers is just a little embarrassed about something.” And he goes, “Okay, right here. He had handcuffed himself to you. His radio and his shirt or something were caught in the handcuffs, so you guys were attached to each other until the other officers came and detached you.”

Taya Graham:

Thank you so much, Brittany. And now to get more background on this department and its fraught relationship with the community, I’m joined by Cop Watcher and First Amendment activist Corners News, who’s been following the story? Corners, thank you so much for joining me again.

Corners News:

Thank you, Taya, for having me again.

Taya Graham:

Now you were performing a cop watch and had an encounter with the New Braunfels, Texas Police Department. Let’s watch a little bit of the encounter.

Speaker 3:

Huh?

Corners News:

You know him?

Speaker 3:

No.

Corners News:

Do you know him?

Speaker 3:

What?

Corners News:

Do you know him?

Speaker 3:

What’s that?

Corners News:

Do you know him?

Speaker 3:

Yes, I do.

Corners News:

Okay.

Speaker 3:

You all know him? He staying here.

Corners News:

[inaudible 00:22:58] what?

Speaker 3:

Is he staying here?

Corners News:

Maybe.

Speaker 3:

Okay. Can I help you?

Corners News:

No, no, no. [inaudible 00:23:05].

Taya Graham:

Can you describe what you were recording?

Corners News:

I noticed police lights. So I decided to make a U-turn to go and record that interaction. When I got there, the interaction was over, but I noticed the units were speeding to another location without emergency lights. So they went into a motel and they stopped a person that was walking in the parking lot. He had a backpack and he seemed like he was probably going home or something. He didn’t appear to be homeless or anything like that, so they were questioning that person. So I decided to get down in my car and started recording.

Taya Graham:

So the officer asked you to step back while you were recording and you did. Let’s watch some of the video and then you tell me what happened next.

Corners News:

You can pat me down if you want, man.

Speaker 3:

I’m going to detain you until I’m done with my investigation. You can keep recording.

Corners News:

It’s right there on record.

Speaker 9:

We’ve asked you multiple times quit interfering and your interfering.

Corners News:

I need double… I have a injured rotator cuff.

Both officers Akers and I forgot the other officer’s name. They told me to move back because they might arrest me for interference or something like that. So I did move a little bit back. I want to say I was somewhere around 15 to 20 feet away from them. So I wasn’t speaking to them. I wasn’t interfering in any way. So the other officer decided to arrest… Well, they cuffed me because I wasn’t moving back. So they placed cuff cuffs on me and they placed them so tight. And so at that point they decided to release the guy and that’s when they released me.

Taya Graham:

So the officer said that you were put in cuffs because you weren’t listening and that you were walking in a threatening manner. Do you agree with their assessment?

Corners News:

That would be… I mean, how do you walk in a threatening manner? I don’t see anyone walking in a threatening manner unless you’re making threats or something of that sort. But when you’re silently walking towards them to record them, unless they consider a camera a threat, maybe, I would see that. But I don’t see how me walking and recording is threatening in any way.

Taya Graham:

So I noticed that on your video as well as Brittany’s video, there were comments that specifically referenced Officer Akers. Now usually commenters talk about police officers in general, not the police officer actually depicted in the video. What have you heard from the community about Officer Akers’s interaction with the public?

Corners News:

When I posted that video on my channel, I received, I want to say, three or four different comments from females in that area that had dealt with Patrick Akers and one of them was Brittany and I went into her… I think she posted a link on her page. So I clicked on that link and I saw body cam where Akers, without warning just walks up to her and starts grabbing her and detaining her for no crime. They hadn’t received… I believe they didn’t receive a complaint regarding her or anything, she was just there. They initiated a call and he started grabbing her and detaining her for whatever reason. And another comment that somebody posted is that Akers went into somebody’s house without a warrant and threatened with arrest, they was not allowed to go in or something like that.

Taya Graham:

Why do you think they’re reaching out to you instead of local media in the town? Why are they reaching out to you instead of the local newspaper or local TV station?

Corners News:

I know here in my area, local media doesn’t cover any sort of stories on police misconduct unless there’s a death or there’s something serious. But they usually don’t cover any misconduct.

Taya Graham:

Now, one of the most unsettling aspects of this story is not just the disturbing videos we watched. What I mean is the fact that a cop could put someone in handcuffs who had hurt his feelings. It’s not just symbolic of the overreach by law enforcement. Rather, the careless abuse of power we watched is an example of a deeper problem that bad policing is just a symptom of. So what do I mean?

Well, I want you to think about the near arrest of Britney, not as simply a bad act of a single cop. Instead, consider the behavior we just witnessed as symbolic of a deeper and more insidious problem. What I mean is that how that officer responded to a single expression of displeasure on behalf of a citizen is an embodiment of a broader antipathy towards we the people that continues to have serious implications for other facets of American society.

How do I know this? Well, consider recent article by the Washington Post that focused on America’s falling life expectancy, it was a startling piece that showed the number of years the average American is expected to live has fallen drastically over the past decade. Worse yet, this trend has continued even as similarly situated countries have continued to make steady progress increasing lifespans. One of the most troubling aspects of the findings is the seemingly uniquely American version of the problem. The decrease in life expectancy comes even as we spend the highest amount per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world. In other words, we spend the most to get the worst results. Seriously.

Now, the reason I bring up this entirely unrelated problem in a discussion about police is simple. First, I think there is no better barometer of societal failure than the shrinking lifespan of a nation’s residents. I mean, what could be more indicative of a failure of American’s institutions then its citizenry having less and less time on this earth.

Now, just a quick caveat. The reason behind this drop was complex. Some of the decrease was attributed to COVID-related deaths. Another stat that weighed heavily on the problem were the so-called deaths of despair, meaning ailments like cirrhosis of the liver from drinking or drug overdoses. And finally, a good portion was attributed to the increase in obesity among Americans, fueled primarily by subsidies of processed foods by the government that makes us more likely to have unhealthy diets. All of these factors add up to a recipe for bad outcomes. A really, really bad report card for the great American experiment. But what makes this heartbreaking story even more distressing is something that has nothing to do with statistics, death rates, or even the suffering it portends a reaction to this alarming report that says more about why it is related to this bogus arrest than any other fact I can conjure.

Put simply, despite the gravitas of this potent new American reality, despite the failure it represents, the story I have just recounted for you was met with total and confounding silence from our political establishment. It simply came and went with hardly a remark from the people we elect to represent us. I mean, it is really telling that the health and duration of the lives of Americans would hardly cause a blip on the radar of the political elite. It is profoundly revealing that this shocking deficit passed unacknowledged by both national and local leadership. Meanwhile, contrast that deafening silence with the constant calls for more police. And even more revealing, the never ending political brawl over crime and violence, which usually centers over whether you are for or against law enforcement to begin with.

I mean, think of the actions of the officer we just watched as a symbol of that mystifying lack of response. Ponder his speedy reaction as a stark contrast to the deafening silence that occurred when our collective health failures were revealed for the whole world to see. It’s troubling, isn’t it? How quickly an officer can punish someone who questions him. And even more troubling how quickly the elite are willing to defend police when they violate someone’s rights. But it’s all justice telling what little consternation was caused by the aforementioned catastrophe of human suffering. How little action has been taken to even debate the root causes of this defining failure of American policy. And now contrast that lack of initiative with the system’s massive capability to deploy a pair of handcuffs. Measure our mass incarceration project and arrest heavy approach to law enforcement against the background of a pricey, yet ineffective healthcare system.

It’s easy to see which is more efficient. When we rebel, when we push back, the reaction is swift. When we challenge and stand up to arbitrary government power, the consequences are merciless. When we die prematurely, crickets. Just like the cop who chased down Brittany to slap cuffs on her, just like the cops who arrested her while searching her family’s own storage locker, just like the system that fails to deliver the basic right to a longer life, the elites who control this country let their priorities be known to us every day. That our lives should be burdened by punishment, not bolstered with longevity. And when someone raises a voice in dissent to this deadly calculus or questions necessity or even justification for these types of destructive policies, the response is immediate, drastic and consequential.

I want you to think about what that means. Why it happens, and who is responsible, who decides the value of our lives and puts limitations on our freedom. And when you answer that question, I think you’ll understand who is truly responsible for this mess we live in. And when you do, I hope you’ll join us on that often quixotic quest to hold them accountable for all of this. I want to thank Brittany and Corners News for speaking with us today. Thank you both for stepping forward and sharing your experiences. And of course, I have to thank Intrepid reporter Stephen Janis for his writing, research and editing on this piece. Thank you, Stephen.

Stephen Janis:

Taya, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Taya Graham:

And I want to thank Mods and Friends of the show, Noli D. and Lacey R. for their support. Thank you both and a very special thank you to our Accountability Report Patreons. We appreciate you and I look forward to thanking each and every single one of you personally in our next livestream, especially Patreon associate producers, John E.R., David K., Louis P. and super friends Shane Bushtup, Pineapple Girl, Chris R., Amata Rarites and Angela True.

And I want you watching to know that if you have video evidence of police misconduct or brutality, please share it with us and we might be able to investigate for you. Please reach out to us. You can email us tips privately at [email protected] and share your evidence of police misconduct. You can also message us at @police_accountability_report on Facebook or Instagram or at @eyesonpolice at Twitter. And of course you can always message me directly at @tayasbaltimore on Twitter or Facebook. And please like and comment. I do read your comments and appreciate them. And we will have a Patreon link pinned in the comments below for Accountability Reports. So if you feel inspired to donate, please do. We don’t run ads or take corporate dollars, so anything you can spare is greatly appreciated. My name is Taya Graham and I am your host of the Police Accountability Report. Please be safe out there.

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Source: Therealnews.com