30 Reasons Why Saying 'Don’t Want to Get Hurt by Cops? Don’t Break the Law' Is Totally Wrong

Human Rights

"Don’t want to get hurt by police? Don’t break the law."

It's common phrase among those who unquestioningly support law enforcement regardless of documented incidents of corruption and misconduct.

The badge and uniform are infallible in the eyes of those who are too afraid to question authority. Police kill, we are told, because they have to make it home to their families at night. Police only harm those guilty of a crime, and if you don’t want to get shot by police, don’t break the law, they say.

In an attempt to break through to the apologist crowd, we have gathered 30 stories from our archives of examples in which police have hurt innocent people, who have not broken the law. Tragically, some of those hurt or killed were children; others were disabled and mentally ill.

Jonathan Sanders had broken no law before he was chased down by a Mississippi cop who threw him to the ground and strangled him to death in front of family members.

Esmeralda Rossi was getting into the shower when two Arizona cops illegally entered her home, pulled her towel off, assaulted and arrested her as she screamed in horror. Rossi had broken no law.

Eric Wilson was on his way home from his job at Lighthouse for the Blind when he was stopped by two Little Rock Police officers alleging he fit the description of a suspect. The fact that Wilson is legally blind did not stop the officers from assaulting a man who could not even see them.

Dillon Taylor had just walked out of a convenience store after purchasing a drink when police mistook him for a suspect. Taylor, who had in headphones at the time, did not hear the officer’s commands clearly. Officer Bron Cruz shot in broad daylight, despite Dillon Taylor not having committed a crime.

Daniel Chong was kidnapped by police and held in a dark cell for five days without food or water. He had broken no law and the officers who nearly killed him said that he had been at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Floyd Dent, a retired grandfather, was pulled over by cops who alleged he was a drug dealer. He was pulled from his vehicle and severely beaten on the side of the road by multiple cops. Video evidence later showed him to be innocent, and implicated an officer for planting drugs on his vehicle.

Antonio Martinez was 22 years old when he was brutally attacked, pepper sprayed and arrested by officer Jeffrey Guy. Martinez, who has Down syndrome and the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, had committed no crime. After realizing their idiocy, the Sheriff offered his family a frozen turkey as compensation.

Sureshbhai Patel, 57, was left paralyzed after officer Eric Parker brutalized him. He had committed no crime. Days after the attack, apologists set up a fundraiser for Parker.

Parker Mansell Jr. is in a wheelchair due to health complications. When police came to his house to serve a warrant to his son, they deployed a taser into the stomach of this immobile senior citizen.

Dustin Theoharis was asleep in his bed when two cops busted into his bedroom and began to unload their pistols on the unarmed man. It is estimated that the two officers fired over 20 rounds, of which 16 landed in Theoharis. Theoharis was not the man police were looking for and had committed no crime.

Sharod Kindell was on his way home when he pulled over to answer a cell phone call. He was not committing any crime. When police saw this “suspicious activity,” they pulled Kindell out of his vehicle before he could put it in gear. Instead of telling Kindell to put the vehicle back to park, an officer opened fire. Kindell received inadequate treatment for his gunshots and was held in torturous conditions for weeks.

Roger Carlos was photographing a building of what was soon to be home to his wife’s medical practice when he was ransacked by an undercover drug task force officer and two SAPD SWAT members. He was beaten to the point of hospitalization after cops mistook him for another suspect, who happened to already be in police custody.

Chad Chadwick was innocent when he was shot, tasered, brutally beaten, and had stun grenades thrown at him by SWAT officers. Those same officers tried to cover up their mistake by charging him with six criminal offenses including felony assault on a police officer.

David Hooks was killed by police as he lay face down in his own home. Police mistakenly raided the home based on a bogus tip from a car thief about methamphetamine. 

Akai Gurley was walking to his apartment with his girlfriend when he startled a pair of rookie cops. Instead of saying, “hello” or “hi,” NYPD officer Peter Liang shot him.

Maria Fernada Godinez was having a night out at an Orlando club when a cop fired his weapon at someone outside the club, instantly killing Godinez. The police charged the man, who had not fired a shot, with her murder.

Henry Davis was mistaken by police for another man. He was then brutally beaten by Ferguson cops. Despite being innocent, the Ferguson PD charged him with property damage for getting his blood on their uniforms.

Jody Kozma is a 25-year-old woman who is mentally impaired. Police accused her of shoplifting before assaulting her and throwing her to the ground. After they had reviewed the tapes, they discovered Kozma hadn’t stolen anything.

Jerry Waller was asleep in his bed when police mistakenly burst into his home. Thinking he was being robbed, Waller went for his gun. The senior citizen was gunned down in his own bed and the officers responsible for his death were never disciplined.

Juan Ortiza 4′ 11″ Hispanic teen with Down syndrome, was mistaken by two veteran cops for a 5′ 8″ white man. Police violently assaulted the young man in his front yard, in front of his parents. 

Najee Rivera was run over by two officers after they pulled him over, leaving him severely injured. Police said Rivera attempted to run away from them and that he “went for their batons.” However, months later, a surveillance tape from a nearby store showed that everything the officers said was a lie.

Robert Saylor was a young man with Down syndrome who threw a tantrum after watching a movie and refused to leave the theater. Three off-duty cops, moonlighting as security, killed him. Saylor had not committed a crime, and the officers were never charged with one.

Gilberto Powell is another Down syndrome man who was beaten after cops saw a “bulge in his pants.” Cops mistook his colostomy bag for an erection and severely beat him.

Kelly Thomas was a schizophrenic homeless man who was detained by several officers who then beat him to death, on camera. Thomas had not committed a crime.

Luis Rodriguez was an innocent man who was killed by multiple officers after leaving a movie theater with his wife and daughter. The murder was captured on video.

Douglas Zerby was watering his lawn when neighbors called the cops because they saw Zerby holding what they thought was a gun. It was actually a water hose nozzle. Officers approached Zerby, and without any warning, fired, fatally wounding Zerby with 12 rounds that entered his chest, arms and lower legs.

Tamir Rice was playing with a BB gun at a park when officer Timothy Loehmann pulled up and shot the boy, without ever giving him a chance.

John Crawford was looking to purchase a BB gun at an Ohio Walmart when multiple officers rushed in and shot him on sight. He had committed no crime and harmed no one.

Last is Baby Bou, whose face was blown apart after officers threw a stun grenade into his crib as he slept.

The next time you see the Gene Wilder meme asserting that only criminals are harmed by the police, do humanity a favor and share this article in hopes of waking them up.

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