Of Cabbages and Kings

March 19, 2007

Reasonable force

Filed under: Across the Universe, Law — Chinmayi @ 5:48 pm

An excerpt from something that Priyamvada Gopal wrote for the Guardian:

“Perhaps a guy, whether rapist or policeman, has gotta do what a guy’s gotta do, including dragging this young woman to the police van with her trousers around her knees, while she, an epilepsy sufferer, flails and foams at the mouth. It is entirely possible, meanwhile, that PC Anthony Mulhall was, in fact, using “approved techniques” and “reasonable force”. Perhaps this is why the image disturbs us. Or ought to…Perhaps what should really worry us is that we live in a time when the very definition of what constitutes “reasonable” force is expanding rapidly. And that it is taking more and more people into the ambit of gratuitous violence. What might once have been clandestine, off-camera activity, is now rapidly becoming part of the public and the ordinary.”

Read the rest of the article here.

I have heard police and army violence defended a thousand times. People insisting that we need to legitimise state-violence because it protects us from terrorism and suchlike. And I’ve always wondered – who’s going to protect us from police excesses, ‘fake encounters’, and from the military and para-military forces who are famously brutal (towards civillians) in states where they are given power?

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