(NaturalNews) Some observers think police brutality may be on the rise, as a pair of recent court cases would appear to indicate, but more than anything, the cases - and a pattern of police behavior since the so-called "war on terror" began - definitely project a growing police state mentality among civil servants charged with serving the public.
Perhaps the most famous instance of police misconduct in recent history is the L.A.P.D. beating of the late Rodney King. A construction worker who was on parole for robbery, he became known nationally after a video showing him being beaten by several officers following a late-night car chase on March 3, 1991 made headlines.
But there have been a number of cases since then, and while the vast majority are not nearly as high profile, when taken together, they could be the foundation of darker days ahead.
Case in point
Such concerns are rooted in cases like this recent one in near Rockford, Ill., a mid-sized city located on both banks of the Rock River in far northern Illinois. There, police have been accused of using a taser on a suspect before beating him for telling a friend she could refuse to take a field sobriety test, then allegedly accusing the man of assaulting an officer.
According to federal court papers, the plaintiff, Craig Clark, has named the Village of Pecatonica, which is west of Rockford, and Officer Douglas Hendricksen, as well as Winnebago County Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Broullard, in a suit.
Clark has claimed that he was leaving a bar in the town of Durand, which is also west of Rockford, with a female friend when his car was stopped by Broullard. While the deputy ran the female friend's identification and called for back-up, Clark went back into the bar, court papers said.
"Plaintiff was standing on the rear porch of the bar when defendant-Officer Broullard-started administering the field sobriety test to Colleen," the female friend, the papers said. "Plaintiff yelled out to Colleen that she could refuse the field sobriety test."
When he did so, the deputy allegedly began to yell at Clark. "At this time, defendant-Officer Hendricksen approached plaintiff on the porch and pointed his taser at plaintiff." The papers say that Clark was not taking an aggressive stance towards the officers, but that Hendricksen told Clark he was placing him under arrest.
"Really?" Clark said, according to the papers. "Defendant-Officer Hendricksen then fired his Taser at plaintiff," says the complaint, which then said Hendricksen drew his asp from his belt and began striking Clark - an act that Broullard allegedly did nothing to stop.
The complaint says that Hendricksen told Broullard that Clark had taken his Taser, though Broullard had allegedly dropped it.
"Defendant-Officer Broullard struck plaintiff in the face with his fists and elbow," according to the complaint before Hendricksen used a Taser on Clark once again.
Did Clark get beaten, tased and arrested because he really deserved it, or because the officers involved just didn't think he had a right to speak his mind? And if what he said was against some statute, did it warrant the violent treatment?
Patterns of behavior
Those questions, and others, scream for answers, as you read about other recent cases of alleged police brutality:
-- In Nashville, two brothers recently filed suit in federal court against officers they say assaulted them; one brother says he was assaulted by the officers for videotaping them assaulting his brother.
-- An officer assigned to a Dolton, Ill., school physically assaulted a 15-year-old special needs child in 2010, all of which was caught on surveillance camera, ostensibly because the boy's shirt was not tucked in. That same officer was later accused of rape.
-- An undercover Greenville County officer tased and punched an 18-year-old in the face 13 times. Though at a known drug house, it did not appear as though the suspect was giving the officer much grief prior to his beat down.
-- A security camera from a nearby Del Taco restaurant caught L.A.P.D officers (a pattern here in and of itself?) roughly handling Michelle Jordan, after being pulled over on a routine traffic stop (she was texting on her cell phone while driving). Post-arrest images showed bruises on her face and body after being mishandled by police.
-- From the March 6, 2012, edition of the Chicago Tribune: "Eugene Gruber was drunk, hostile and uncooperative when he walked into the Lake County Jail, but a day later, he was paralyzed, had a broken neck and barely registered a pulse after an encounter with guards, records show." He died four months later.