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California Cops Violently Attacked a Black Man Who Was Filming Them

"I felt the asphalt just cutting in my face," said Kwesi Guss, the man who the officers attacked.

Police officers assaulted and detained a California man who was filming them earlier this month, a clear violation of his right to document public police actions.

Kwesi Guss, who is Black, witnessed the end of a police chase in Richmond, California, involving a separate individual who had been speeding. That person had pulled over near a parking lot, and was in the process of turning himself in to police.

Guss, who has filmed police activities in the past, pulled out his cell phone to do so again. That’s when another police vehicle pulled up next to him, video of the incident shows. The officer driving that vehicle ran behind it, then toward the scene, running into Guss in the process, who appeared unable to respond fast enough to the action.

“Get out of the fucking way,” the officer told Guss, according to reporting from The San Francisco Chronicle.

After the Richmond Police Department officer hit him and yelled at him, Guss reportedly replied, “Shut your bitch ass up.”

Video then shows the officer, who was several yards past Guss by this point, turn his attention back toward him. As the officer approached Guss, he started backing up. But the officer violently shoved him anyway.

Guss appeared to yell something again, which resulted in the officer shoving him a second time. At no point in the video does Guss physically provoke the officer in any way.

The officer persisted in his physical aggression, shoving Guss a total of five times before another bystander, an unidentified woman, tried to intervene. At this point, a second officer who was already at the scene came over to assist the officer assaulting Guss.

Guss is then grabbed and handcuffed. One of the officers kicked him in the ankle, forcing Guss to the ground.

“I felt the asphalt just cutting in my face,” Guss told the Chronicle, adding that he suffered abrasions on his face and bruised ribs, and that his handcuffs were so tight they cut into his wrist.

In the nearly four years since Minneapolis police choked George Floyd to death as he begged for his life, police brutality appears to have increased. In 2020, the year of George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent nationwide uprisings, police killed 1,155 people. In 2023, that number increased by nearly 8 percent, with police killing 1,247 people, according to figures from the Police Violence Report.

Indeed, police killed more people in 2023 than in any other year over the past decade. The vast majority of these killings began with police responding to suspected nonviolent offenses or situations in which no crime was reported, with police killing 109 people after stopping them for a traffic violation.

Kelly Hayes, the host of Truthout’s podcast “Movement Memos” and the co-author of the book “Let This Radicalize You,” responded to the attack on Guss by noting that there is “a long history of police targeting and attacking people who document their violence.”

“This kind of violence is meant to terrorize communities that bear witness to the realities of policing so that documentation of the brutal realities of policing can be displaced by copaganda,” Hayes said. “Kwesi Guss was providing a public service that was at odds with the impunity of policing, and that’s why he suffered this brutal attack. It’s important to understand that what was documented here was the true nature of policing, as was this attack.”

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