Body cam footage has been released of police response to the incident at a Virgina LA Fitness. For those that happen to be unawares of the latest incident of trivial police summonings on people of color, a gym-goer sought out the assistance of police after he was hit with what eyewitnesses have described as a “hard screen” or “hard pick” in a game of pickup basketball Monday evening at an LA Fitness. Deadspin reports that a gym employee called police and alleged that one of the patrons had been “assaulted”. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office dispatched a cop to the gym.
In the video, the police officer addresses the clerk at the desk. The officer asks for the description of the “suspect” to which the female employee responds, “He’s tall and he has a beard … he’s probably, like, Middle Eastern … black shirt … a little shorter [than the police].” The officer gets the description and seeks out the culprit. He is soon seen speaking with both the “screener” and the “screenee”.
SCREENER: So big man pushed me in the back while we’re standing underneath the basketball—all I did was make a basketball play into him like this [mimes making a basketball play into him]. That’s all I did. If he wants to cry about that that’s a basketball—it’s part of basketball.
SCREENEE: Brandon, Brandon, you know that you didn’t do that. Admit what you did. Admit what you did—
SCREENER: No. That’s all I did.
The two parties go back and forth over what actually happened. What becomes apparent is the complete waste of police resources the call has turned out to be. Instead of fighting and preventing real crime, the officer has devolved into a referee between two parties. The body cam footage reveals that the party taking offense to the common b-ball practice is an insufferable little prick and the officer is ready wrap things up. The cop asks about the true nature of the game and inquires about the pressing of charges.
“Is this something where you’re gonna press charges for assault and battery, or just some heated basketball shit?” the officer asks.
SCREENEE: I mean, I thought it was just heated, but I mean, I’m not gonna have him run straight down, and elbow me in the head—
SCREENER: And I’m not gonna take you punching me in the back either.
SCREENEE: I know but—
SCREENER: And then you called me a bitch right afterwards too.
SCREENEE: I called it, yeah.
POLICE: Sounds to me like some normal basketball shit.
SCREENER: That’s all it is.
POLICE [to SCREENEE]: What is it?
SCREENEE: [long pause] It’s not normal basketball shit.
The spoiled baby then declines about pressing charges in fear of retaliation. Instead, he wants the other player to be kicked out of the gym for the day. Common sense says that such an action could elicit retaliation as well but apparently “screenee” hasn’t considered that. The officer says it is not up to him to kick someone out of the gym. He is there to enforce the law and charge criminals. The banning of patrons is up to the gym management.
“My job is to press charges against people that commit crimes,” he reminds everyone.)
The gym manager tells the players they can both leave or both stay. The screenee appears unsatisfied by this ultimatum.
SCREENEE: I don’t have a choice. If I press charges, he’ll come retaliate against me, if I want to go home, if I want …
POLICE: Look, I’m not saying you have to press charges, I’m saying in terms of whether you stay or go is not my decision. Do you want a police report filed for this particular incident?
SCRENEE: [flustered hand gesture, walks back onto court]
The screenee eventually leaves the conversation dissatisfied with the response of police and management. The officer leaves on a good note cracking jokes with the gym manager.
“I ain’t here for you!” the police officer says to some men who appear strong. “He takes steroids,” says the manager, walking away. “Okay,” says the police officer.