There’s a new twist in Howard Bryant’s arrest over the weekend.
Bryant’s lawyer is claiming that police overreacted to the situation because it involved a black man and a white woman.
“This case is about the fact that racism still exists in America, and Howard Bryant is a victim of it,” said attorney Buz Eisenberg.
The ESPN senior writer appeared in court this morning and pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic assault and battery, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.
The Republican had a chance to interview both Howard and Veronique Bryant as they gave their side of the story:
“In an interview with The Republican, Bryant, who is black, and his wife Veronique Bryant, who is white, both insisted that police used unnecessary force while arresting Bryant after what they described as a verbal argument in front of Buckland Pizza in Shelburne Falls. The couple, who live in Ashfield, said some customers in the pizza parlor saw the argument and called police.
“It wasn’t an assault or a battery,” said Veronique Bryant. “I was not scared. He was not touching me. We had a discussion. The police reacted in a totally inappropriate way.”
Veronique Bryant added that she did not press charges against her husband.
Howard Bryant, who appeared in court wearing a scarf from the Vancouver Olympics, which he covered for ESPN, acknowledged that he lost his temper in what he termed a “public altercation,” saying he embarrassed his community, his family and his employer.
“On the other hand, everything the police said was false,” Bryant added.
According to Bryant, he and his wife were in their car with their six-year-old son when state and local police arrived. They told him to get out of the car and ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets, even though they were not in his pockets, he said.
“I raised my hands over my head so they wouldn’t shoot me,” Bryant said. “They smashed my head on the car and pulled my sweatshirt hood up over my head.”
When Bryant insisted that he was not resisting arrest, an officer asked him if he wanted to be “Tasered,” he said. The couple said they were especially distraught because the incident took place in front of their son.
“One conversation would have stopped it all,” Bryant said.
While I do agree that racism still exists, what about the five witnesses that claimed they saw Bryant choke and shove Veronique into a car?
Does that make them racist too?