Video of Police Brutality Ruled Inadmissible Because of Missing 11 Seconds

[Content Note: Police brutality; images of bruises at link.]

Aloni Bonilla, a young Chicana from Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and was taken to a hospital for a blood test. Once there, she alleges that the arresting officer roughed her up after she threatened to get an attorney to contest the charges. A video from the hospital shows Officer Jose Ramirez grabbing Bonilla and pushing her against the wall, before throwing her to the floor and pinning her under his knee.

But the video was ruled inadmissible at Bonilla's trial, during which she was convicted of resisting arrest, because 11 seconds of video are missing, including the immediate few seconds before the "altercation," which Officer Ramirez asserts was provoked by Bonilla having "waved her arms around and approached him to try to head butt him." The video shows Bonilla sitting in a chair, with Ramirez leaning over her, when the attack begins.

There is much more covered here by Jorge Rivas, in a story about how Bonilla has published the video on YouTube in a bid to increase awareness of her case through social media, as a panel of appellate judges consider her request for a new trial where the video can be shown as evidence.

I have a lot of questions about the police officer's report, which contains a version of events that does not appear to match the video at all. And I find it really weird that the hospital can't and/or won't comment at all on the camera, not even to confirm whether the missing footage is the result of motion detection, as has been suggested, or whether it's the result of tampering.

And I further question how it's possible that the officer claims Bonilla was waving her arms and trying to head butt him, but somehow that would have failed to activate a camera activated by motion sensors, while his merely leaning over to seemingly intimidate her did activate it.

None of this makes any sense. Except, of course, when it's filtered through a lens of a cover-up to avoid accountability. Then inconsistencies in the police report and the missing footage makes a whole lotta sense.

I also, once again, feel obliged to observe that, while I recognize and appreciate there are times police officers have to defend themselves, a physical response this intense should require more justification than the public information officer for the force saying, "She was injured as a result of being combative with the officer." That isn't good enough.

Even if the police officer's version of events is totally accurate, I fail to see how waving one's arms and leaning forward in a chair necessitate throwing someone against a wall and then on the ground and kneeing them in the back so hard they are left with permanent disk damage. Even granting the officer's version, this response should be unacceptable.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus