Carl D. Johnson suffered a diabetic attack when driving home from Bible study on May 27, 2010, causing him to crash his truck in to a guardrail. State Trooper Davon Parker responded to the scene, proceeded to pepper spray Johnson through the car’s open window.
At the hands of such fine public servants as Trooper Davon Parker, Carl D. Johnson was beaten, pepper-sprayed multiple times, punched in the face, thrown over a railing, and tasered at least 5 times by at least 6 police officers before losing consciousness, and ultimately dying from cardiac arrest. But it would not be hyperbole to say that the agents of the Maryland State Police and Baltimore County Police murdered Carl D. Johnson that evening.
A common refrain among police apologists, in the wake of misconduct in the news, is that it was just a few “bad apples” and that most cops are “good cops”. According to a complaint filed by Johnson’s widow, there were at least fourteen police officers among as many as fifty-two respondents to the accident scene.
Where were the good cops when Carl D. Johnson was being murdered? There were 14 representatives from at least two departments there, so, you do the math.
Note: the official version of the story has Johnson, a 48-year old architect with no criminal record, “resisting arrest“. I’ll believe it when I can see the dashcam footage that corroborates that version of the events, because “stop resisting!” is boilerplate language for “Imma beat the fuck outta you and it’ll be your word against mine” (Digby also notes, this “is obviously something [cops] are taught to do for the dashboard camera so that it appears that they have reason to do what they’re doing”).
The question as it pertains to this event – as it pertains to other events where I have been critical of law enforcement – is this:
If these are allegedly the acts of “bad apples” then what about the other cops in that department? Do they know about the bad apples in their department? If not, why not? If so, why aren’t they doing anything about it? Are they afraid? Powerless? Strangled by bureaucracy? What about the good cops who occasionally witness these events and turn a blind eye to them?