In October 2009, a California incident rushed to international consciousness in a manner reminiscent of the Rodney King affair, also in California some years ago. If you are too young to remember Rodney King, then for your generation the signal case of alleged police brutality will be that of PhuongHo, a college freshman whose dormitory hall arrest was filmed on a suite mate’s cell phone camera. Rodney King’s arrest had been filmed with an onlooker’s video camera and watched by most Americans, and many viewers around the world, via television news shows over the next few days. But that was long before YouTube or the ubiquitousness of the world wide web. Ho’s arrest was uploaded to the web and viewed at will by millions around the world. His parents in Asia commented on the event with hours of web availability. Technology’s advance was a curious sidelight of both cases.
Here is a link to the first major newspaper story on Ho and the cell phone video. Read the story, watch the video, and then search the web for subsequent news stories such as comments by attorneys for the police officers, a televised interview with Ho, and the like. You may be asked to register to use the site linked below, but it is free.
Police Beating Caught on Tape: San Jose Police Beating Vietnamese Student – Ho Phuong
User: n/a – Added: 10/27/09
YouTube URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srBBZo6KDUc
Submit answers to your Instructor for the following questions:
1. Based on what you know from the news accounts, the arrest video, and the televised interview with Ho, do you think police used excessive force on Ho? Explain your opinion, including any relevant personal experience you have had with the criminal justice profession.
2. How do you expect the police officers involved will explain their actions if brought to trial in either a criminal or civil proceeding? Be as detailed as your knowledge and experience will permit. Background research beyond news coverage of the Ho incident is not, however, necessary or encouraged. I am interested in what you know now as you enter this course.
3. How do you expect a jury to rule if criminal charges are brought against the police officers involved? What influences your opinion?
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