Here are some other examples of the police over-reacting and/or abusing their authority during my teen and Army years:
Punk Rockers, anywhere, USA!!! If there's one group that the police absolutely HATED, it was punk rockers. It seems that just about every punk show I went to in LA was violently stopped and broken up by the LAPD, and after seeing them in action numerous times, wondered what the problem was with Rodney King; from what I saw in the videotape, the LAPD actually went easy on him, compared to what I've seen them do countless times to punk rockers. Also, anyone who had a Mohawk or whose head looked like an anti-ship mine or an exotic bird was routinely verbally and physically abused by cops wherever they were. Punk-lic Intoxication. Driving While Punk. Whatever you want to call it, it was active oppression by the police. Show any outward sign that you are trying to beat on the State, even verbally, and the State will beat on YOU.
In the leadup to the 1984 Olympics, the LAPD worked triple-overtime to clean up the streets. I wasn't living there at the time, but visited frequently. It seemed that every single night, all elements of the LAPD were out in force, with the helicopters and their noise, searchlights and PA systems being regular visitors. One night, there was a commotion outside, and I opened the door to see a scrawny Mexican kid in a choke hold. Evidently, even someone selling dime bags of weed was a grave threat as far as the LAPD was concerned.
A buddy of mine was in a gasthaus in Germany with his girlfriend when some asshole picked a fight with him. My buddy, being the badass that he was, proceeded to beat the shit out of him. The asshole turned out to be an off-duty MP (Military Police) whose barracks were close by, and him and six other off-duty MPs returned to the place and beat my buddy within an inch of his life. The MPs suppressed the whole incident, of course.
Once in El Paso, Texas, while in a heavy metal bar that usually had decent bands playing (for El Paso), three drunk, crazy Mexicans were causing a scene at the front door because they weren't being allowed in, I guess because they were drunk, crazy Mexicans. We left the bar about half an hour later, only to see them randomly throwing rocks at windows in various buildings, breaking one each time. Suddenly, the El Paso police arrived from all directions, netting us with them. Then they separated us, as they thought we were going to fight them, which we were. While we were being more-or-less compliant, the Mexicans were not, and the cops proceeded to beat them. One of them yelled out, "Hey, you can't do that!!! That's police brutality!!!" A gigantic white cop grabbed him by his hair and said, "Oh, I'll show you some fucking POLICE BRUTALITY," and smashed his face on a cop car about ten times. The motherfuckers had it coming, but still.
While visiting Jaurez, Mexico, a buddy and I went to a certain bar, and he immediately spotted an old flame; him and her went off to fuck somewhere. I was sitting alone at the bar pondering my next move, when a particularly skanky-looking hooker cozied up to me and asked me to buy her a drink. I offered to buy her a flea collar instead. Not fully understanding what I said, she apparently got a translation from the bartender, and immediately threw a glass of water on me, which I actually appreciated, because it was kind of hot that night. Within a few minutes, two Juarez cops entered the bar from another entrance, wrestled me down, handcuffed me, and then robbed me of the $40 I had as well as a phone card. Maybe the $40 would have been better spent on the hooker, but at least I didn’t wind up with some funky STD.
While a civilian in Germany, a co-worker invited us all to a party at her house. She was married to a MP, who, as usual, was kind of a dick, but the party was actually pretty good. I was impressed by their furniture, decor, and other household items, and it dawned on me that it was a little outside their means, as he was a Private First Class and she made not much above minimum wage, but some people manage money very well, so I thought nothing further about it. Several weeks later, a pair of MPs were busted red-handed by their own supervisor while stealing booze from the local Enlisted man's club. They squealed like the pigs that they were, and revealed a theft ring that comprised approx. a dozen MPs, our party host being one of them. Not surprisingly, that whole incident was suppressed, too.