DATE: 7/14/2002 05:57:00 PM
At left is a picture of Donovan Chavez, a 16 year old boy from Inglewood having his head slammed into the hood of a police cruiser by police officers. The cameraman who captured the incident on film has begun serving a 7 month prison sentence for DUI, on a warrant issued in early 1999. He came to the attention of police after videotaping the beating and selling it to the AP.
Obviously, to think that any of this was a coincidence, or that there's a justifiable explanation for any of it, you'd have to be as ridiculous as the woman who called me at the Globe this afternoon to debate the subject:
"That boy," she croaked in a nicotine-drenched rasp, heavily laced with a Boston Ghetto dialect. "The boy who was arrested."
"In California?" I said.
"Yes." She creaked. "I been hearin about this all ov' th' news, 'n I just have one. question." She pronounced these last two words very carefully.
"What did he do?"
"Before the pitcher stahted. On the guy's video. What'd the kid do? What was be bein arrested fawah?"
"I'm not sure."
"See!!" She cackled. "Nunna you news people even care about that! Obviously he was arrested f'r'a'reason, right?"
"Am I right?"
"Well, I wanna know, what was he arrested fawah."
"All right. Hang on."
"Well? What was it?"
"Hang on. I'm looking it up."
"Oh, look at that. Looking it up. Did it ever occur t'anyayautha newsmen t' look it up?"
"Ma'am. Just because I don't personally know what the charge was doesn't mean that none of them--"
"Well, why hasn't anyone said what he did?"
"Well, personally, I think it's because no one considers that the most important part of the debate here."
"Whaddya mean not the most impawtant paht? 'S the reasonahapp'nd'nthefihstplace, right?"
"Well, I don't think there are any charges that warrant his being beaten."
"Whaddya mean beaten? He got popped in the face. So what."
"Well, actually, he was slammed face first into the hood of a car. His nose was broken. Then he was punched in the eye by a cop much bigger than he was. He was also kicked. He was handcuffed at the time and unable to defend himself or attack the officers."
"Doesn'tmatta. He hadna done anythin wrong, he wouldna been there inna first place. Whaddidy do?"
"I found it."
"Oh, thank you." (sarcastically) "I hope ya boss givzya sumextr' money f'r that."
(Louder, patronizing.) "Said I hopeya boss givzya sumextr' cash fah findin that out faw me."
"Uh...anyway. It was a routine traffic stop."
(my turn to be patronizing) "A ROUTINE...TRAFFIC...STOP. They pulled him over for SPEED-ING. Or something MIN-OR like that. He's only SIX-TEEN."
"Well. Whateva. He musta done somethin'."
Where's a stiff drink when I need one?