Thursday, May 24, 2018

Who Would YOU Believe?

She got stopped because she was driving erratically... at 1:30 in the morning. 

The Texas trooper who pulled her car over suspected she'd been drinking, thanks to the bottles in the car and the open cup. She performed all his tests, albeit slowly, and blew just under the limit for a DUI.

He booked her for a DWI, instead. (She blew a second test just under a DUI limit, two hours later.) Eventually her family produced bail at the station, and she was released...

Only to accuse the policeman of groping and attempting to rape her. Her accusations were graphic and shocking. She said she barely got away from him, and went to the hospital. Her fiance, who had been there for part of the traffic stop, 'strongly backed up' her account.

Little did Sherita Dixon-Cole realize that Officer Hubbard, the trooper she was accusing, had a bodycam on that recorded everything. 

A prominent activist, Shaun King, immediately jumped on the bandwagon, accusing the Texas Department of Public Safety -- and Hubbard -- of horrendous crimes. This was just another example, King said, of the treatment that black women had to endure everywhere, ever since antiquity, practically. He was regularly contacted by people who'd been victimized and he stood up for them, with his heart on his sleeve. That was just the way he was.
     According to him, he'd vetted the story carefully. Dixon-Cole had a sterling reputation. The person who stood up for her was a source King had trusted for years. Everybody said she was a wonderful person, no way this could be made up.

But he didn't bother to view the bodycam footage. 

To his credit, he says he eventually watched the hour-plus footage (3 times), but he also brought it to an editor, to see if it had been doctored. (The editor said it had not.) Unfortunately for Dixon-Cole, the entire tape shows nothing but a professional, respectful policeman who was doing his job.

    See for yourself.  (It's pretty matter-of-fact. Boring, even.)

And now King is sorry.  "I can't even begin to make sense of why someone would concoct such an awful story," he says in a followup article he wrote, 'When the Victim Turns Out to be the Victimizer.' "Particularly in light of the reality that both police brutality and sexual assaults are a very real crisis in this nation. It does a tremendous disservice to actual victims when something horrible like this is fabricated. It provides an unfair spotlight to a good cop and undeserved cover for the bad ones who will try to use an incident like this as false proof of their innocence."

Does this sound like an apology to you? An admission, perhaps -- but does he ever address the real issue, that he jumped on the bandwagon without bothering to double-check the facts?

The Texas Department of Public Safety, who released the bodycam footage, had this to say:
Following the arrest, spurious and false accusations related to this traffic stop were made against the Texas Trooper. Upon learning of those allegations, the Texas Department of Public Safety immediately took action to review the video in connection with this traffic stop and arrest. The video shows absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect. The Department is appalled that anyone would make such a despicable, slanderous and false accusation against a peace officer who willingly risks his life every day to protect and serve the public.

More here on this shameful incident.

More on Sherita Dixon-Cole herself. She continues to insist that it really happened, and the bodycam tape was somehow edited. At least her lawyer apologized. Kinda. Sort of. I guess that's something. (Here's his statement, along with King's.)

Charges are being considered...

This brings all sorts of interesting questions to mind. 

*Who would you have believed, had Officer Hubbard NOT been wearing a bodycam?

*How many black journalists are admitting that they may have jumped to conclusions, based on their predeliction to certain beliefs?

*How many assault and rape accusations are actually true? (Or, for that matter, police brutality incidents.) How many have another side to the story...or never happened at all?

*How many true incidents -- that deserve public anger and prosecution -- will now be dismissed or ignored because of this one?

I keep thinking of the #MeToo campaign; it is sooo easy to make sexual abuse accusations now, without actual proof from things that happened months or years ago. Sadly, it gives the real criminals an 'out' by saying that their accusers made it up. (Harvey Weinstein rushes quickly into view.)

If they didn't, this will be even harder to prove. 

True rascists are sprouting up everywhere now, saying that all accusations are false, people are just going for the $$, 'they're all the same,' etc etc. Plenty of crude language and swear words adorn these lovely tributes to idiocy. (Who 'They' are isn't always clear -- sometimes it's the 'people,' sometimes it's the police. Or 'The Man.' Depends on who's making the comments.)


Who's apologized to Officer Hubbard, for trying to ruin his life?

Certainly not Sherita Dixon-Cole.

(See the update on all this -- NOW Who Would You Believe?)


Kris said...

This is why I have trouble with MeToo. It's far too easy to say something and destroy someones life when it is tainted by distant memory - or simply not true.

Cindy Brick said...

The hard part to me -- in the vast majority of cases, we'll never know for sure.

I do believe that everyone will eventually have to stand in front of the Great Judge and explains their actions... but it would be nice to see their butts singed a little here on earth, too. Especially if they really deserve it!

More on this story in a day or two.

Thanks for writing, Kris.