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A viral video from McComb, MS, shows a member of the Mississippi Highway Patrol violently handling Eugene Lewis as his brothers video record the unidentified officer.
Packer and Darius Lewis, Eugene’s brothers, can be heard in the background narrating the officer’s actions and exchanging words from time to time. From the video, the two stay feet away from the officer and their brother.
Despite having handcuffed Eugene, the officer can be seen pulling him down to the ground by his neck and then tossing him into the grass on the side of the road and then jumping on him. All three brothers were arrested, according to local news.
Mayor of McComb Mississippi has also seen the footage.
The mayor of McComb, Q. Lockley, issued a press release shortly after:
“I know that many of you like myself, have viewed the video of the Mississippi Highway Patrol Officer and Mr. Eugene Lewis. I am alarmed as well as disturbed over it. Last night, after viewing it several times, I contacted Representative Daryl Porter and asked him to intervene on behalf of the City of McComb since it involved a Highway Patrol Officer. I was informed this morning that an internal investigation was going to be conducted. I ask that you allow the investigation to be completed but at the same time let your voice be heard.”
Lockley said that although it was outside his jurisdiction, he wanted assurances it would be investigated.
“This is alarming that something like this would happen within the city limits of McComb,” Lockley said.
Both the Internal Affairs and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are investigating. The predominantly Black community sits approximately 80 miles south of Jackson, MS.
Eugene told WJTV he didn’t know what would have happened had his brother not live-streamed. He said the officer first pulled him over for allegedly doing 35 mph in a 30.
Rep. Daryl Porter released a statement also confirming the state investigation. Porter represents the 98th district, covering Pike and Walthall Counties.
“Those who have watched the video, including myself, find the contents alarming,” wrote Porter.
A racist cop in Mississippi goes on a power trip and assaults a handcuffed Black man.
This is why you always record the police. pic.twitter.com/qOS50eyCHe
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) August 8, 2022
Same story, different characters.
“I can’t never let this go,” Eugene told WJTV. “I ain’t did nothing to him. And I know this same white guy will do to another Black guy like that.”
If you want to see just how much has changed in America, all you have to do is google “Black men police” and thousands, if not millions of stories have been covered which detail all sort of seemingly routine police encounters that somehow end in the most abruptly violent and anger-inducing outcomes. Black men have been targeted in America for a very long time,even before America itself was founded.
The origins of modern-day policing can be traced back to the “Slave Patrol.” According to the NAACP, the earliest formal slave patrol was created in the Carolinas in the early 1700s with one mission: to establish a system of terror and squash slave uprisings with the capacity to pursue, apprehend, and return runaway slaves to their owners. Tactics included the use of excessive force to control and produce desired slave behavior.
This was only a job to them, it was their duty. In my home state of North Carolina, they even made an oath:
“I [patroller’s name], do swear, that I will as searcher for guns, swords, and other weapons among the slaves in my district, faithfully, and as privately as I can, discharge the trust reposed in me as the law directs, to the best of my power. So help me, God.”
Slave Patrols continued until the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment. Following the Civil War, during Reconstruction, slave patrols were replaced by militia-style groups who were empowered to control and deny access to equal rights to freed slaves. They relentlessly and systematically enforced Black Codes, strict local and state laws that regulated and restricted access to labor, wages, voting rights, and general freedoms for formerly enslaved people.
As the cops in Uvalde, Texas watched and waited while schoolchildren were murdered in their classrooms, that same patience, even in error, is rarely afforded to Black folks who they have seen as enemy number one since we were forcefully enslaved in America. While the cop’s name who was filmed beating Eugene remains unknown, what is clear is he felt comfortable hiding behind his badge to inflict pain on a Black body, just like those who came before him.