I hate to turn my blog into the post police brutality trauma recovery site, but here I am again blogging in the wake of another incidence of unwarranted brutality on a young black female child. By now I assume everyone has watched and been outraged by the latest video release of a student in a South Carolina High School being thrown like a rag doll by the out of control police officer who served as their school resource officer. There’s no doubt that the images were extremely disturbing, but what I find the most disturbing is even though any reasonable person can clearly see that the officer is completely out of line, there are STILL people coming out of the woodworks to defend this officers actions. Thankfully as of the time of this posting the officer has been fired, so at least the people with the authority to do something saw the wrong in his actions. But I’m still disturbed by how many people, particularly black males, I’ve seen commenting on every posting I’ve seen about this incident, who push the “well she should’ve just respected authority” narrative. Are you serious? Authority figure or not, no person has the right to treat another person that way over a minor act of defiance. People have said that she shouldn’t have been resisting arrest…Arrest? What exactly was she being arrested for? For having a phone in a classroom? For refusing to leave a classroom? Exactly what crime had she committed? So now we’re criminalizing minor acts of defiance by teenagers? The whole act of being a teenager is a nearly decade long act of defiance. It appears that a disturbing number of you have been well conditioned for a police state and see fit to raise another generation to complacently accept a police state as normal and just.
Exactly what are we teaching our youth by pushing the idea that they should respect authority no matter what or suffer dire consequences? To raise healthy well rounded free thinking individuals I think there needs to be some balance and an acknowledgement that sometimes people in authority are wrong. I’m not saying that the authority figures were wrong for asking a student to put away a cell phone, or that the student was right to not comply with this request. But I am saying that none of that is the real issue in that incident. Using the argument that she should have just followed orders to justify this level of violence and violation of her rights as a human being is just flawed thinking. If an officer is justified in throwing a girl across a room for disobeying an order I guess if she would have yelled at him or some other ‘egregious’ offense he’d be completely justified in shooting her in the face. And why does a students refusal to put away a cell phone require police involvement anyway? Am I the only one disturbed that schools are involving law enforcement for minor disciplinary issues that in my day would’ve been handled with a simple in school suspension or detention? This results in children getting criminal records or at the very least exposing them to negative police interaction at an early age for actions that aren’t even actual crimes.
I’m also surprised at how many people think the right thing for this girl to do was to get up and leave a classroom full of witness alone with a man who demonstrated that he is unstable and liable to go berserk if his authority is questioned. If this is the way he behaves in front of a classroom full of witnesses, imagine what might have happened if she had the audacity to say something he didn’t like once he was no longer in view of cameras. I wouldn’t feel safe alone around that man and I certainly wouldn’t feel safe sending a child off with him. Police in general have demonstrated a lack of ability to deal with nuanced situations. From my understanding this child lost a parent and a grandparent and was in foster care. Imagine the emotional issues she could be dealing with given those circumstances. The last person in the world who should be called upon to handle a situation with her is this “officer slam.”
I will be the first to say that the almost constant stream of videos of police misconduct, especially misconduct in the form of violence against black women have made me increasingly uncomfortable in the presence of police officers. As evidenced by too many incidents to name, something as simple as a routine traffic stop could wind up being a death sentence if the wrong officer is encountered. It’s way past time that we rethink the role of the police officer and truly consider how much power we want the person holding this position to hold. I no longer think the police brutality problem in this country is a matter of a few bad apples. If this were the case the good cops would make themselves known and denounce these incidents when they happens. But instead, every single time an incident is brought into the spot light other police come out in droves to defend their fellow officers. There’s a problem with policing as we know it as a whole, and fixing this problem means first rethinking what the job of a police officer really is, then giving some serious thought to how someone should be trained to do this job. The “you should just do what the officer says” narrative is basically giving police the power to treat us any way they want and that is exactly how America could become a police state.