No matter how fast and furiously Cleveland cops try to separate themselves from the incident in which Jessica Ferrato claims she was roughed up by an RTA transit cop on her way home from the Cleveland International Film Festival, the statement by her lawyer, Peter Pattakos, that the treatment mirrors the kind of violations Cleveland cops are being charged with by the feds is going to stick like glue.
And they’re going to stick for one primary reason: Truth. The case, if the allegations prove to be true, is going to reverberate around the country. Of course, in spite of the fact there are cameras all over RTA stations, you know how balky technology can be … the video of the incident just might wind up getting erased. Oops.
According to published reports Ferrato said she “was knocked to the ground and her face was shoved into the dirt as the RTA officer, with a knee pressed into her back, wrestled handcuffs on her … her pants and underwear were somehow pulled down during the struggle, exposing her until another officer pulled her pants up and put her in the back of a police cruiser.”
One of the unique relationships CIFF39 had was with RTA. Its website touted how easy it would be for film fans to ride the Red, Blue and Green lines to Tower City and avoid the hassle of finding a place to park, since there were 8,000 free RTA parking spaces located at stations throughout the area. No mention was made of the fact that borderline jackbooted thugs would guard some of stations.
Ferranto wrote a long Facebook post of the incident that sheds some light on what happened as she got off of the train: “I was still looking at my phone and carrying the plugged in backup charger as I left the station, and I got off the platform, in the door, down the stairs, through the lobby, and was pushing my way through the outer vestibule door to the crisp air of the parking lot when a transit cop who was standing in the vestibule arguing with a female passenger stopped hassling her for a moment and asked to see my bus pass. I smiled in kind of a cocky manner and said, “Bus? I just got off the train!” as I reached for the pass which was in my pocket. He said, “Ma’am, I said show me your bus pass.” I had already pulled the pass out of my pocket and said, “here you go” and showed him my pass as I walked past. He said, “Ma’am, you have to show me your pass. I asked to see your pass.” I had already walked past him at this point and was outside in the parking lot, and I turned around, pass in hand, showing it to him, and said, “here’s my pass.” At this point he ran in front of me, blocked my path and closed in on me and said, “I told you, you have to stop. You have to do what I say.”
There it is in a nutshell: A testosterone-driven young white male not liking how a modern woman responded to him; she was not deferential enough; she didn’t kowtow or genuflect … and for that she was manhandled. What makes him think he has the right to do this? That’s the question for all Americans.
Trust me, there’s going to be hell to pay on this one. There’s a world of difference in America between roughing up sagging pants little black dudes, and educated, middle class white women. I can just imagine how much the marquee sponsors of the CIFF39 are squirming at present, wishing this were just some nightmare film that was screened on closing night, but, alas, it wasn’t — this is real life.
From Cool Cleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available again in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author by visiting http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.com.