St. Paul, Minnesota:
Video Exposes Savage Assault by Pigs and Attack Dog on Unarmed Black Man
November 7, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Watch this police dash-cam video. The picture is a little fuzzy—but there’s no mistaking that what it shows is sickening and enraging. A group of cops are brutalizing Frank Baker, a 53-year-old Black man, who falls to the ground. He cries out in terror and pain—not only because of the beating but because a snarling police attack dog is biting down on his leg. The cops shout at Baker, “Don’t fucking move” while praising the dog, “Good boy.”
Images flash into your mind as the short video plays. Runaway slaves being hunted down by slave catchers and their packs of dogs... Bull Connor unleashing police dogs on teenage protesters in Birmingham... LAPD, with their swinging batons, swarming on Rodney King lying helplessly on the ground...
This happened in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 24. Frank Baker was doing nothing unlawful. He didn’t have a weapon on him. He was simply coming home from work and talking on his cell phone in his parked car when he was set upon by these vicious pigs and their K-9. After brutalizing Baker, the police cited him for “obstruction” (prosecutors later decided not to pursue the case). This outrage is only now coming to widespread attention because the St. Paul police finally released the video—following a request under state law from Minnesota Public Radio News—and the police chief had to issue a public apology to Baker.
The cops claimed in their report that they were acting on an alert about an armed Black man with dreadlocks and white shirt—and that they thought Frank Baker was their suspect. Haven’t we heard this over and over again, where cops beat, arrest, and even execute innocent Black people because they “fit the description”? In fact, we heard it this July when a cop stopped Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man, in a St. Paul suburb—the cop telling the dispatcher that Castile looked like a robbery suspect because of his “wide-set nose” and proceeding to shoot him dead through the car window.
The cops said that they unleashed the dog on Frank Baker because he supposedly hesitated getting out of the car and the cops couldn’t see both hands. Again, how many times have we seen this before, where Black people are brutalized and even killed for nothing because the pigs claim they didn’t obey orders fast enough or made a “wrong” move? Too many times to count... and it has to fucking stop!
On that night back in June, the bites of the police dog “went down to the bone,” according to Frank Baker’s lawyer. He needed multiple surgeries and still has huge, deep scars on his left leg. As Baker was on the ground, writhing in agony from the dog literally tearing flesh off his leg, one of the cops also delivered several kicks full force into his midsection—resulting in a partially collapsed lung and broken ribs.
Now, four months after this criminal assault on an unarmed man, the police chief has had to publicly admit to what happened. He announced that the K-9 cop involved was suspended for 30 days and the cop who kicked Baker was placed on unpaid leave. And he said the case has prompted the force to put in place more “training ... to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” This is an insidious attempt to try to limit the damage from the exposure that’s been forced to the light of day and to misdirect the widespread outrage among the people toward false “solutions” like more training for the pigs.
Why weren’t the two cops not only immediately kicked off the force but hit with criminal charges for the terror and serious injuries they inflicted on Frank Baker? What about the other cops on the scene or, for that matter, their supervising officers, who knew what happened—why aren’t they even punished within the department, let alone charged with abetting the assault and conspiring in its cover-up?
Because to do so would start pointing to the reality that this is not just about this one incident or a few “rotten apples.” The police across the U.S. play a definite role for those who rule over the people. It is an armed force that serves and protects a system—a capitalist-imperialist system that has as one of its key pillars the continuing, and in many ways intensifying, oppression of Black people as well as Latino, Native American, and other oppressed people.
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.