Target Practice is our daily aim at a hypocritical politician, worthless law or random nincompoop who deserves a bit of buckshot in the backside.
Seattle police officer Shandy Cobane stomping a handcuffed, prone, innocent Hispanic man was bad enough. But you know what's also kinda crappy: assuming this stuff happens all the time.
That's what Danny Westneat did. In his latest column, Westneat argues that the Cobane videotape -- otherwise known as the "Mexican piss incident," for the bodily fluid the gang cop threatened to beat out of his suspect -- is reflective of how all Seattle cops treat Mexicans, and how that makes our City Council hypocritical for passing a largely symbolic boycott of Arizona over its new immigration law.
"The Arizonans have only threatened to go all police state on Mexicans," writes Westneat. "Our police are already there."
Or one of them, Westneat. One cop. Who happened to be caught on tape. I think that's what you meant.
Read on and you'll find another, even greater, rhetorical leap.
The video is nowhere near the worst police misbehavior ever captured on tape. On a scale of 1 to 10, if the Rodney King beating is a 10, this one is maybe a 3.
What makes it matter, though, is the casualness of it all. The cameraman reacts in surprise when an officer kicks the prone guy's head. But he's the only one who does. The assembled cops stand around like they're playing croquet.
That's the problem. You can just tell they've done this before.
I don't want to go all Zapruder-film on the Mexican piss incident. But I do want you to watch it one more time.
But the rest? They just look like cops usually do when someone is being detained. Two of them aren't even looking at the time Cobane does his little face-stomp soft-shoe.
Which makes Westneat's conclusionary jump nowhere near the worst columnist extrapolation caught in print. What makes it matter, though, is the casualness of how Westneat declares all Seattle cops face-stomping oppressors of the Mexican people.
That's the problem. You can just tell he's done this before.