Hayden Nelson, the officer of the Logan City Police Department who abused me on January 14, 2020 (aka the worst day of my life), is being sued along with a dozen other officers for abusing someone else more egregiously that same year, and the city of Logan for sweeping it under the rug. I learned about this lawsuit from Cache Valley Transparency, a first amendment auditing YouTube channel that LCPD has been illegally trying to squelch with bogus privacy complaints and stalking charges. I expect it will be thrown out soon thanks to the legal doctrine of qualified immunity that exists for the sole purpose of enabling cops and other government officials to violate people's constitutional rights with impunity, but I'd love to be wrong. At least it validates my perception of what happened to me. The incident described in the lawsuit is far worse than mine, yet the disgusting incompetence and maliciousness of the officers involved is identical, and the subsequent cover-up by the police department is also very familiar. I've reached out to the district court to ask if I can get involved somehow and testify about the kind of people Hayden Nelson and the department leaders are, I've reached out to the department leaders to mock them (again), and I've reached out to city attorney Craig Carlston to politely explain that these words he's quoted as saying are a load of crap:
"I know that the police department, and all the officers, take these things very seriously. My experience with the police department is they've been really diligent about complying with the constitution and state code, and they care deeply about those things."
A couple years before my experience, I had come to recognize that police brutality specifically against black men was a problem. Before then, of course I heard about the endless string of murders by law enforcement but as a card-carrying conservative I was required to believe that racism magically disappeared in the 1960s, so I had to assume that most of the victims brought it on themselves by not cooperating. However, when confronted by more information, I changed my mind, because honest adults do that sometimes. And I still didn't get mad about it. I just saw it as a terrible fact of life that I couldn't do anything about. And in fairness, it's true that my subsequent attempts to do something about it have had no discernible effect on anything except the number of my Facebook friends. But I feel guilty for not getting angry about it until it affected me personally. I guess I've just got to forgive myself and move on. I'm determined not to let the issues drop even if everyone else who jumped on the George Floyd bandwagon loses interest.
There are really two issues here with substantial overlap: police abuse, which affects all races to some degree, and systemic racism, which encompasses far more than police abuse. I want to eradicate both. I recognize the intersectionality in my own situation, that even as Hayden Nelson bullied and discriminated against me for being autistic and "weird," things almost certainly went better for me than they would have if I had darker skin. I feel a special love for Elijah McClain, one of the most Christlike individuals in the world, who was murdered by three police officers and two paramedics for "looking sketchy." (Okay, so the actual charge is manslaughter, but I can't grasp the fine legal distinction between murdering someone and merely assaulting them to death for no reason.) I made him my Facebook profile picture some time ago so people can't forget about him or the pending legal action against his murd- I mean manslaughterers. Now when I see his picture it really feels like I'm looking at myself. I hope that's not some kind of inappropriate appropriation or white savior thing. I want to live vicariously through him in some sense to keep him alive in some sense, but not in a weird way.
Today is Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the US, kind of. White people in the South used all kinds of legal loopholes to keep black people in conditions that were slavery in all but name. Still, it was an important day. And now thanks to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, it's a federal holiday and a state holiday in every state. Time will tell whether this is an empty symbolic gesture or whether the awareness generated by it translates into a reduction of racism in the United States. So far, it's certainly exposed a lot of racists here in Utah, and I assume elsewhere as well since these Utahans usually just parrot whatever the other Trump worshipers are saying. You might think that celebrating the end of slavery was something we could all agree on. You would be wrong. This holiday, according to them, is a fake holiday, a made-up holiday (as opposed to the naturally occuring holidays that are woven into the fabric of the universe), PC culture, and/or wokeism, or it's bad because we have too many holidays already or because we don't have a holiday for some other group that they've never cared about in their lives (and 9 times out of 10 we actually do have such a holiday), or they've never heard of it and would rather boast about their ignorance than fix it, or they don't see why black people can't just let go and stop focusing on the past and focus on the time white people declared their independence from England instead. Yeah, these people who think they're Christians are going to be really surprised when Jesus incinerates them.
I didn't know about Juneteenth until a few years ago either. But as soon as I learned, I had no objections to it because I'm not that much of a monster. I'm happy to celebrate it now. USU did some great events over the last few days that I would write about in detail if I'd gotten more sleep. As soon as I sign off here I'm headed to the final one, an interfaith devotional with the Bonner family and some other cool people.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.