United States – Tragedy struck all across the U.S. Saturday afternoon as “National Thank a Police Officer Day” (also known as “National Hug a Cop Day”) celebrations turned violent in multiple states.
Dozens of participants have been reported injured – many fatally – in what was designed to be a show of appreciation for local law enforcement entities – which, in many cases, perceived the kind gestures as threatening and reacted with force.
Albuquerque, New Mexico -- certainly no stranger to police violence -- had multiple instances today, resulting in citizens protesting in front of city hall, citing the dramatic rise in officer-related shootings as evidence additional oversight is necessary.
One such protestor, Tammy McMillin, claimed that her 7 year old son, Tommy, had been beaten by an officer after attempting to give him a sticker.
“Tommy was so excited,” Tammy told reporters, fighting back tears. “He’s always been enamored with the police, and when I told him it was National Thank a Police Officer Day, he couldn’t wait to get out there and show his support.” Stopping at a local dollar store, Tammy and Tommy found stickers which read, “Cops Are the Tops.”
“As we walked outside, it just so happened that an officer was pulling into the parking lot beside us. Tommy ran to the officer, telling him, ‘Thanks for keeping me safe.’ The officer put his hand on his hip, which I assumed was to turn down his radio.”
Tammy was shocked by what happened next. “Tommy stuck a sticker on the officer’s shirt. The officer quickly pulled out his canister of pepper spray and sprayed Tommy in the eyes. I screamed, and he pulled out his taser, threatening that if I didn’t want to get ‘juiced,’ I better stand back. Tommy was then handcuffed, thrown in the back of his cruiser, and taken to jail.”
Tammy’s son was charged with destruction of police property and sexual harassment. After posting his $30,000 bail, Tammy was able to take her son home.
“He’s so confused. He thought the police were his friends; someone he could trust to keep him safe. We all thought that.”
Tammy’s story is only one of a record-breaking number of arrests and violent incidents, including shootings, stretching from California to New Jersey. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson spoke of one such shooting during a press conference this afternoon.
“We are not releasing the suspect’s name at this time,” Dotson relayed to the large crowd consisting of both journalists and concerned citizens, “but rest assured that this shooting is entirely on the up-and-up.” Attempting to end the press conference there, he was bombarded with questions from the crowed, some of which he then reluctantly answered.
“The suspect approached our officer and asked if he was aware that it was National Hug a Cop Day,” Dotson continued, visibly annoyed. “The officer indicated that he did in fact know. The suspect continued toward the officer, arms opened wide, which as we all know is a threatening pose. The suspect proceeded to embrace the officer in what you commoners may refer to as a ‘hug.’ However, given the strength of the suspect, the officer feared he had been placed in a combative maneuver referred to as a ‘bear hug.’ Bear hugs are often used in conjunction with ‘death rolls,’ a la crocodiles. Ask Animal Planet about it if you don’t believe me. Go ahead. I’ll wait.”
The crowd was silent, perhaps deciding it best to invoke their Fifth Amendment right, just in case things took a turn for the usual. Nevertheless, Dotson continued to raise his voice with each passing statement, as if his history of escalating interactions on the job had permeated every aspect of his life. “The officer had no other recourse but to draw his service weapon and fire repeatedly, emptying the magazine into the suspect…before reloading and then emptying a second magazine into the suspect…before reloading and emptying half of a third magazine into the suspect.” When asked why the officer did not finish emptying the third magazine into the suspect, Dotson cited the incident report, in which the officer stated he suffered a cramp in his trigger finger.
As the anger amongst the crowed reached a fever pitch, Dotson exited the building without taking any further questions. In an attempt to calm the situation, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson – yeah, that Ferguson, and that Police Chief Thomas Jackson -- who later said he was the press conference “taking notes,” took the stage to assure everyone the shooting was “100% justified.”
“Look, I understand everyone is angry, but I have it on good authority that this name once masturbated at his grandparents’ house, so clearly he was a troublemaker.”
He then also left the stage, citing an FOIA request that he “go have dinner.”
In yet another alarming incident, an unarmed man in Bloomfield, NJ was shot and killed a no-knock raid.
A police spokesperson told reporters that the warrant justifying the raid was issued because the unnamed man, during a texting conversation with his friend, wondered if possibly the police were overreacting. When asked what, if any, disciplinary actions the officer may face for killing someone who posed no threat, the spokesperson replied that he had been “placed on paid vacation pending investigation.”
When asked about using the term “vacation,” he clarified his statement by screaming “STOP RESISTING, CITIZEN! STOP REACHING FOR MY GUN!”
Update (Sunday, 4:00 PM PST): Twitter users have been voicing their outrage at this weekend’s events via numerous trending topics, including #EmbraceACase, #ASlugForAHug, #ReplaceAMovieTitleWithPoliceBrutality, and #InAllSeriousnessItAppearsPoliceViolenceHasGottenABitOutOfControlAndItIsPastTimeWeHaveAnHonestDiscussionAboutIt.