Body slam in Fort Collins reveals our biases

Years ago a high school student ask me when I thought women would be equal in our society. My response was treated with mixed reaction by the class when I began by saying not until they received equal pay for equal work. The girls in class applauded while the guys groaned. Then I followed with, “And also when they are given the same punishments for the same crimes.” The two groups’ reactions did a 180.

Like many of you, I have seen the footage of a Fort Collins police officer body slamming a young woman to the ground. It is brief and in the few seconds shows the cop picking the woman up and slamming her face down to the ground. There is no audio and because of the brevity of the clip, it fails to shows the entire interaction between the two. There is no way to know who said what and what tone was used, but that did not prevent the clip from going viral.

What bothers me about the clip is not so much the use of force, but the angle people have taken with it. Essentially, people post it as if this is no way for a cop to treat a woman, no matter what she has done or said. I can’t help but think where all the outrage is from women who demand equal treatment by men.

I have yet to see a post that has mentioned this was wrong under any circumstance without pointing out the victim was female. I get it, we are raised never to hit or physically abuse women, which to me only reinforces the notion it is okay to do so to men. In my mind, it is either wrong to treat anyone in this manner or it is justified under certain circumstances.

Would this be an issue if the officer in question were female? Would a female cop have handled the situation differently? If so, do we need more female cops and fewer males? Had the cop been female and the citizen male, this video would still go viral, only the tone would be different. The cop would be viewed as a hero and the victim would be laughed at endlessly.

A look at our criminal justice system will show the incarceration rate and length of sentences of men far exceeds the crimes men commit compared to women. A male is more likely to be sent to the Big House than a woman by a male dominated judicial system because male judges tend to be more sympathetic to females. Men may be the beneficiaries of a salary imbalance, but are just the opposite by a far greater margin when it comes to sentencing for crimes.

Here is where I have an issue with the so-called women’s movement. It tends to ignore the inequality of the areas women benefit from while focuses on the areas they lag in. Judges are more likely to break up a family and send daddy to prison because they still believe a kid needs their mother more than their father. This thinking not only diminishes the role a father plays in a child’s life, it encourages reckless behavior by men which results in far too many walking away from their parental responsibilities.

If this white cop had slammed a black male to the ground, would Fort Collins be bracing itself for a Black Lives Matter protest? I am willing to bet yes. Why? Because many in the African American community are tired of white cops treating blacks in this manner. I get it.This incident becomes a highly volatile racial issue as a result and we become a little more divided as a nation.

One of the primary reasons people of color and, in this case, women, will be left thinking police are a bunch of corrupt Neanderthals is because they try to remove race and gender from the equation when they analyze an event and come to their conclusions. When those conclusions result in an offending cop or police force being found to have done nothing wrong, the public reacts with gender or racial bias.

Police are in a no win situation because we tend to think actions like the Fort Collins police represent a bias against a particular group of people, but when those same actions are done to white males, they are either justified or we think differently. Sure, when 95 percent of a police force is white and male and 75 percent of the arrests are of blacks, it smacks of racism. This has to change.

However, let me reiterate, I am not defending or denouncing what happened to the young female in Fort Collins. I am just saying, we need to debate these incidents in human terms and not gender or racial if we are ever going to become a culture that truly models equality. Until we do, we will always be a nation divided.

In general, it just is not a good idea for anyone, male or female, black or white, to pop off at a cop. It is not a good idea to ignore the requests of police officers and you should never reach for something, especially after being told to put your hands in the air. This is just common sense. But then, if we were a nation of common sense, women would not have to still fight for equal pay, blacks would not be singled out because of their color, and we would all look at events like what happened in Fort Collins in human terms and nothing else.

Top photo: Screen shot from video, which is poor quality