by Justin Gardner, The Free Thought Project:
Merced, CA – Police stormed into a hookah lounge in the early morning hours on Sunday, July 9 in a manner that can be described as nothing short of terroristic. Video captured by a security guard at Chandelier’s Hookah Lounge shows us once again that all too often, cops are the ones who needlessly escalate situations into fear and violence.
The video begins with multiple cops screaming at patrons to back up, right after barging in with riot guns and batons. The crowd of people enjoying a relaxing Saturday night socializing at the hookah lounge are bewildered and frightened by this sudden act of aggression.
One cop fires a rubber projectile at a man who was being pushed backward by another cop, which causes even more panic as people are trying to flee the room. The video cuts to another segment after cops, with tasers drawn and pointed, have managed to put several people on the ground. Others are letting their frustration at this unprovoked violence be known, as we can hear one person shout, “Why the f—k are y’all doing this?!”
According to the Merced Sun-Star:
“The video was corroborated by multiple witnesses, including one black female UC Merced student. She said police first entered the building with flashlights. They left, and people resumed the event thinking the situation was over. But the police rushed back in with guns and Tasers drawn, causing the confusion and fear.
During all this, one officer slammed the student’s friend to the floor and sat on his neck. As the student began to protest, saying he can’t breathe, an officer shouted, stay back or I’ll shoot.”
Indeed, the assault on innocent patrons begs the question: why did the cops do this?
The Mercer Police Department (MCD) stated they were looking for a suspected burglar in the area, who was not caught. Instead, five people were arrested from a situation entirely created by the cops.
Assuming the MCD statement is true, does the most logical approach to apprehending a burglar involve storming a social club as if it’s a military raid? It’s ludicrous to expect that everyone will immediately become quiet and complacent as armed police storm suddenly into the building.
In fact, that would be disturbing as it would indicate an entirely submissive population.
There is no escaping the fact that cops created this situation, and it will sow more fear, anger and distrust among the community which cops are supposed to “protect and serve.” Fortunately, no one was killed or seriously injured, from what we know, but that could have easily happened with Tasers, riot guns and the excessive force used.
The department says an investigation is ongoing, but we know there’s a very good chance they will find they did nothing wrong. It’s all too easy to create the narrative that the patrons’ actions justified the violent response, and most media will simply echo this without question.
This kind of disturbing assault on innocent people—who are supposedly protected by constitutional rights—cannot be allowed to be normalized. Please share this video so we can continue to expose the ever-encroaching police state.