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dotsonVirginia Dotson is an 84-year-old black American woman who was violently thrown to the ground by the police outside a Walmart near Columbus, Ohio on August 1st 2009. She was thrown down so hard she was bleeding from her head.

Dotson did have a steak knife, but she also had a cane and did not seem to be an immediate threat: people passed right by her.  Onlookers were more upset by how the police acted than by Dotson herself – so much so that four more police cars had to be called in to keep things under control.

One of the onlookers recorded it on his mobile phone and posted it on YouTube (video to follow).

Dotson’s daughter had left her in the car while she ran into Walmart to buy some things. She was taking a chance because Dotson has Alzheimer’s: her memory is failing so she does not always understand what is going on. Her daughter thought she would be safe, though, because she did not know how to take off her seat belt.

Dotson saw a steak knife in the car and cut herself free, cutting herself in the process. Dotson left the car to look for her daughter. She was bleeding with knife in hand! Some children approached her and it seems she threatened them.

By the time the police arrived people seemed calm, though Dotson still had a knife in her hand.

Officer Tammy Scott, a white woman, came towards her and asked her to drop the knife. Dotson would not. So Scott took her by the arm and violently threw her to the ground and then got the knife out of her hand. But she threw Dotson down so hard that onlookers were shocked and began to gather. They were afraid the police were going to hurt her even more.

It seemed like they cracked her head since she was bleeding from there. But she was not knocked out, though she did need stitches later. Her wrist may have been broken too.

This took place a few weeks after the police went overboard against another older black person with a cane: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

But unlike the Gates thing, this case got very little press. According to Google News a week after the event there were only four news stories on it. While it did make a top newspaper in Britain (Daily Mail) and a top blog in America (Gawker), it was not picked up by AP, CNN, the New York Times or any large news outfit in America.

Why is that? Is this acceptable behaviour by the police? Are black people so threatening to white people that they see nothing wrong in this? Or is it because Dotson is black and so the whole affair does not matter to the white people who make the big decisions about what gets reported nationwide as news? You know, the same people who like to report on missing white women.

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