Christopher Hardaway and the Cult of Compliance

Don’t miss this story about policing and disability from Chattanooga. It’s a perfectly awful example of the #cultofcompliance. Hardaway, the victim here, is black, disabled, and homeless. 

First encounter:

Weeks before, Hardaway said his wheelchair had died nearby, leaving him stranded on the sidewalk for eight hours, with no one offering help. He eventually fell asleep and was awakened when an officer shined a light on him, asking why he was sitting in the cold, blocking the sidewalk with urine soaking his lap.

Frustrated no passing police cruisers had stopped to help during his ordeal, Hardaway refused to move. He was charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication and obstruction of the roadway. Hardaway is seen insisting he hadn’t been drinking on the footage from the officer’s body camera.

In the second encounter, he was just sitting charging his chair, when an officer told him to move. From the story:

“This is the second time I’ve been harassed by y’all for nothing,” Hardaway said to McFarland. “The last time, my chair wouldn’t get off that curb and y’all locked me up instead of helping me get to a charger.”
Hardaway is charged with aggravated assault — a Class C felony that carries three to 15 years in prison — because of what happened next.
“All I’m asking is, are you going to take me to jail? That’s all I really want to know,” Hardaway said, “because I’m not getting harassed or put out [when] I need to charge my chair.”
“Not from this [property],” McFarland said.
Hardaway said he was ready to go to jail.
“Would you like another charge?” Hardaway then asked, reaching into his waistband, “because I’m disclosing this knife.”
Hardaway pulled out a 4-inch blade. McFarland stepped back and pulled out a gun.
“Drop it!” McFarland screamed.
“I’m not even doing anything,” Hardaway said, dropping the knife. “I’m disclosing this to you!”
McFarland saw it differently: “I gave you every chance to leave,” he said, “and you want to pull a knife on me!”
The officer called into his mic for backup then told Hardaway, “You’re welcome for saving your life, because I didn’t shoot your —— right here.”

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