Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Screw You, Anna Frank!"

"In spite of everything," Anna Frank scribbled in her diary, "I still believe that people are good at heart." The mitigating factor being, of course, that she wrote this while hiding in a tiny attic with seven other people, eluding Nazis hellbent on destroying her. Perhaps she would have revised or redacted that diary entry once the Nazis found her and whisked her off to Bergen-Belsen, where she later died of typhus. We'll never know.

We do know one thing though. There are people in the world who are not good at heart. Truly not. And one of them, Charlette Marshall-Jones, 44, is currently suspended without pay from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Detention Center pending the investigation into why, for the love of Pete, she dumped quadraplegic Brian Sterner,32, from a wheelchair to the floor during his booking last month on traffic charges.

Some other people who are possibly not good at heart might be Sgt. Gary Hinson, 51, Cpl. Steven Dickey, 45 and Cpl. Decondra Williams, Marshall-Jones acting supervisors on the day of the incident, who were all put on administrative leave with pay during the investigation. We might be willing to give the supervisors a pass, depending on what they did or did not witness directly while the incident was occurring, and what they did or did not do once it was over and they were (or were not, as the case may be) made aware of it. In any case, every person seen in the video below who watched it happen and didn't flinch needs to be fired, de-pensioned, and given extensive mental health intervention.

But Deputy Marshall-Jones was, unfortunately for her sorry ass, caught on videotape, intentionally up-ending the back of the wheelchair Sterner was sitting in and dumping him to the ground. Imagine her surprise when Sterner didn't simply leap from the wheelchair, yelling, "Ha ha... you got me, Deputy! I was just joshin' ya!" No, instead Sterner (pretty predictably, considering his obviously atrophied lower limbs) collapsed to the floor in a heap, with what I would imagine was a pretty audible "ka-thunk". The video below is the local Tampa Bay newsstation coverage of the incident, for your viewing... uhhh... pleasure(?).

I'm sure that Deputy Marshall-Jones had what she thought was a really, really good reason for dumping Sterner, and I'm sure her lawyers will be more than happy to spin that tale for us in a couple of weeks. They'll be telling us, a la the Rodney King beating video, that what we saw really wasn't what we saw, that law enforcement is a brutal game requiring brutal tactics, and that those para- and quadripalegics can be the most dangerous form of hardened criminal. I mean, there is no audio on the surveillance tape. We don't know how Sterner taunted and tormented the Deputy. Maybe he called her "Deputy Fatty McFattButt" and it made her cry and not feel so good about herself. Maybe he said something unrepeatable about the Buckaneers or the Marlins or whatever sports teams she worships. Sadly, I think the real reason Deputy Marshall-Jones did what she did was because, well, frankly, deep down, she's kind of just not very nice. Yeah, I know. Maybe she was once and the job soured her. Maybe she still is at home, with her husband and kids. Hell, Hitler loved his dogs. So did Leona Helmsley. Kenneth Lay was a helluva family man, I hear. That still didn't make them good, decent people in the grand scheme of things.

So, here's a big shout out to the suspended deputies for this exhibition of rampant inhumanity. It just goes to show you that for every fervent believer, like Anna Frank, in audacious hope and optimism with regard to the goodness of humanity at large, there are a bunch of other losers out there willing and anxious to prove her a little idiot for daring to believe.


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