As the world has been in conversation about the insufficient policing during the Capitol insurrection that took place on January 6, a signature of police violence was taking place in Queens, New York just four days prior.
Long Island resident, Sircarlyle Arnold, was headed to a candlelight vigil in honor of a deceased friend when he was pulled over for allegedly riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). In an eyewitness-captured video, Arnold can be seen accosted by an NYPD officer who knelt on his neck for over a minute.
The Queens District Attorney General’s office is currently investigating the incident, as the kneeling maneuver was banned by NYC lawmakers following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Arnold’s attorney, Olayemi Olurin, says his client was non-resistant and unarmed at the time of violent detainment.
"Despite the national, international outrage over George Floyd, despite the people hysterically telling him to stop, at not one point in the video did that officer lift his knee off Carlyle's neck," Olurin told NBC New York.
The civilian-captured footage highlights witnesses screaming at the officer to remove his knee from Arnold’s neck. Fortunately, the incident did not end fatally.
And while Arnold was in the potentially deadly clutches of NYPD on January 2, the juxtaposition of his situation to that of hundreds of armed white men who stormed the Capitol and killed a police officer could not be a more glaring indication of the difference in American policing along racial lines.
We were on the verge of a new hashtag in the early days of 2021 with the arrest of Sircarlyle Arnold. But in the nation’s Capitol building, America’s white sons and daughters of anarchy waged war on democracy and were able to leave the scene.
New year. Same country. The script writes itself.
About the Author
Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate, and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be
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