Clifford Owensby, 39, a paraplegic black male, said he felt powerless when he was pulled by police officers out of his vehicle, then thrown to the ground and handcuffed before being placed in the back of a patrol car. Owensby repeatedly told agents that he could not get out of his car as he was a paraplegic. He grabbed the steering wheel and was then dragged from the vehicle.
“I shouldn’t have to leave the house every day wondering if this will happen to me again,” he says. The case took place in September 2021, in Ohio, USA and is being investigated.
The police action was recorded by the video camera of one of the agents themselves and has been gaining visibility in recent days.
The exercise of such explicit racial violence, committed by state agents, draws attention, as it was filmed by cameras installed in the policemen’s own clothes, revealing that, somehow, they feel authorized to proceed in this way.
In periods of strong authoritarianism in which political leaders put out their racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, uncensored homophobia, a social climate is created where this type of explicit violence proliferates, provoking, mobilizing support from the most conservative segments of the population.
It is a type of action that recalls the studies of the Authoritarian Personality theory, on prejudice carried out during the Nazi regime, which reveal that in periods of social, economic and political crisis, people resolve their need to find scapegoats to discharge anger and frustration , choosing and strengthening leaders who always exert violence against groups they consider inferior or “not equal”.
In this context, people or groups are placed outside the limits in which moral rules and values are in force, showing that the norm of human affection has been violated and there is a psychological distancing and lack of moral commitment in relation to those who are considered “not equal” . They are outside our moral universe and “authorize” the exercise of human evil.
In Brazil, the focus of this type of violence is mainly the black population, which represents 77% of homicide victims, according to the Atlas of Violence 2021, by the Brazilian Public Security Forum.
A survey released in 2016, by this same Forum, reveals that for 70% of the population, police often abuse violence, yet 60% agree with the phrase “a good criminal is a dead criminal”. And the profile of this criminal in the social imagination is black, even though we are fed up with watching it on television, as in the case of the CPI (Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry) of Covid-19, private agents in collusion with public agents, most of whom are not black. , is not peripheral, it is not poor (quite the contrary), carrying out large thefts and embezzlement of public resources that lead to the death of thousands of Brazilians.
That is how we have to celebrate when public and private organizations take a stand and move towards a less unequal and violent Brazil, more just and equitable. However, this process must take place in a systemic way.
It is unacceptable that public managers can be tolerated and even financially supported as long as they ensure that reforms in the interest of the “elite” are carried out, at the price of an endless mortality, especially of the most vulnerable population.
There is no ESG (acronym for measuring the environmental, social and governance practices of organizations), there are no diversity and equity policies that minimize the damage caused to the country, when these leaders in the executive, legislative, judicial and corporate world are supported and strengthened.
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