As is often documented, complete innocence is no shield against police brutality. Too often, police state defenders say, "If you don't want to die at the hands of the police, don't violate the law." Not only is the basis of this argument erroneous, since violating the law is not a justification for death, but these individuals are also disregarding the instances in which completely innocent people have been victimised by police brutality. Joseph Pettaway was among these innocent individuals.
On the evening of July 7, 2018, Pettaway died when Montgomery Police officer Nicholas Barber unleashed his K-9 on the innocent man and forced him to maul him for more than two minutes. Pettaway would die from his wounds.
Joseph's sister, Yvonne Pettaway-Frazier, told the Montgomery Advertiser, "I witnessed it with my own eyes." His whole body was on the ground that morning. Since then, the family has launched a lawsuit to seek justice.
The Pettaway family has campaigned for years to get the body camera video, which, according to them, the police never recognised existed. As part of their lawsuit, the family has now gotten the footage, which purportedly shows cops laughing as Pettaway dies at their feet and confirms their allegations.
This footage has been a source of contention as police refuse to disclose it out of concern that it may incite riots among Montgomery residents. Christopher East, the city attorney of Montgomery, stated in a report by Lynda Edwards the city's contentious justification for keeping this film hidden.
According to the city attorney, the film has "the potential to create or facilitate public disorder based only on its horrific imagery."
Robert Balin, an expert on the First Amendment and lecturer at Columbia Law School, told Edwards, "An imagined fear that riots may occur if people react in a particular way is very different from citing specific national security concerns, such as the life of an undercover law enforcement agent being at risk if certain information is released."
On the night he was mauled to death, Pettaway had not injured anybody and had not committed a crime. Nevertheless, he was murdered because the police opted to escalate to lethal force first and then ask questions. The cops reportedly responded to a burglary in progress complaint that evening. But there was no theft.
Pettaway had a key to his mother's residence and was authorised to be there. However, instead of just asking the guy to come outside or banging on the door, Officer Barber launched the K-9, blind to the possibility that the individual or individuals inside may be innocent.
"It might have been a child in there," claimed Walter Pettaway, brother of Joseph. Indeed,
According to the family's complaint, Pettaway was bitten by the K-9 for about two minutes before Barber removed the animal. According to the lawsuit, throughout the remainder of the video, "despite Mr. Pettaway's obvious and profuse bleeding and his apparent shock, no police officer examines or evaluates JLP's wound and no police officer administers the most basic, essential, obvious, and immediately required care to stem or reduce his bleeding."
Instead of assisting the family in their pursuit of justice for their deceased loved one, the city and department have circled the waggons and refused to cooperate. The refusal to provide the footage is a significant aspect of this lack of cooperation.
"The video footage is certainly incriminating," argues the plaintiff's request to remove the secret classification. However, neither the extreme odiousness nor the shockingly reprehensible release of the police dog to attack Mr Pettaway, nor the failure of the defendants to attend to Mr Pettaway's imminently fatal injury that their dog inflicted, entitles the defendants to conceal or conceal the video recording of those actions and inactions."
Barber has not yet been charged in this matter, and it is unknown whether or not he received internal punishment since the department refuses to accept that he is employed by them.
Joseph's sister made a perceptive statement after her brother's death. If the positions were reversed and Joseph had hurt the K-9, you can be guaranteed that he would be incarcerated at this moment. Due to the fact that the guy whose K-9 killed an innocent man is armed and has a badge, no one has been arrested, and it is unlikely that anybody ever will be.
"They stood there and let the dog murder him," claimed Lizzie Mae Pettaway. "They must pay for their actions. If someone had killed the dog, they would have demanded compensation."
"He was the son of someone, the brother of somebody, and the uncle of somebody. Frazier-Pettaway said that he was not simply a piece of flesh." At some point, kids just assess someone based on their appearance or where they hang out. They would not appreciate such treatment. I do not wish anybody ill fortune, but you should not judge others based on their appearance or attire. "[You shouldn't] simply stand there and carry on a conversation after allowing the dog to rip him to shreds and watch him bleed to death."