I shared a video on my Facebook yesterday of a 15 year old girl and her 14 year old brother being followed by the police through a parking lot. The girl stopped and was then dragged off her bike and tossed around by her hair, pinned against the car, while her brother was slung around til he ended up on the ground unable to help her and honestly i couldn’t watch the rest, because it infuriated me. Did I mention she was black and the police were white? I don’t normally mention race in my blogs because it so unimportant to me most of the time, but this particular time it is relevant. So I shared it on my Facebook. You may have seen it scroll through your newsfeed. Anyway, I posted it and a Facebook friend of mine commented this:
Cameras don’t show everything. Were you there? Do you know why the police were stopping the kids? Maybe instead of passing judgement for what you think you see and may have read, maybe you should try talking to local departments and do a ride along a few nights with different officers. This so you can see first hand at what one has to go through on each shift to ensure your safety.
My short response was, “I don’t care what that kid did. Let some cop put his fucking hands on my kid like that” but then I went on and decided to delete it because I definitely had more to say than would fit into a comment box.
So here’s my long response.
I do realize that cameras do not show everything and no I was not there so I have no idea why the police were stopping them, but I don’t care. They were children and even if they weren’t, regardless of what they did, or what I saw, or what I read, police have a responsibility to do their damn jobs, which, if I remember correctly, is to “protect and serve” EVERYONE, even those who they think are guilty are “innocent until proven guilty.” It’s not their job to be the judge and jury. We have those. That’s what a court date is for. There is no need for the excessive force. Especially in this case when the male officer clearly outweighed the girl. I don’t care if she had spit in his face five minutes before the video. I don’t even care if she was holding a gun five minutes before. I don’t care if she stole a pack of gum. I don’t care if she ran a red light on her bike. I don’t give a damn what she did. She did not deserve to be slung around like a little ragdoll. It’s not ok. Black. White. Orange. Blue. I don’t give a shit about that either. People deserve to be treated as such even if they aren’t treating the police the same way. Because here’s the truth of the matter: not everyone was raised the same way.
I used to work at an alternative school. I worked in a behavior modification classroom with elementary kids. Little asshole children that came from homes with big asshole parents who were no doubt going to grow up to be just like them. I worked there for three years. Over the course of those three years, I was spit on, I was punched in the face, in the arm, in the stomach. I was cussed at. I was pissed on. I was bitten and still have my little friends perfect little teeth marks in my arm as a reminder. And I was paid very little over minimum wage to do this job. I was trained how to properly restrain people, big people and small people, without injuring them. I was taught how to de-escalate a situation and how to de-escalate myself when I felt like I might be getting to my breaking point. And I was good at this job, but not everybody was. There were people, who I worked with, who were only there to do the restraints. They would irritate these kids and push their buttons and use their known triggers to set them off for the sole purpose of a restraint and then they would hold them a little harder than necessary or a little longer or they would say things that didn’t need to be said and it was bullshit. Just like these cops on a power trip are bullshit. And although it is the white cops that bully, hurt, or kill black people that get all the attention, I feel like it is just cops in general who need to be retrained.
I know not all police officers are just insecure men who grew from insecure boys who were bullied and couldn’t get laid in high school. I’m not saying that one bit, but there are a lot of police officers who I feel would fall under that category. They have failed at so many things in life, they finally get to the police academy and get a badge and all of a sudden, they have this important title and this important job and finally people have to recognize them and even listen to them because they are the boss! And I’ve met them myself. I’m not just running off at the mouth. I had a very clear experience. Two actually, but only one worth mentioning here because it’s a perfect example. I got pulled over for the same exact thing two days in a row and it may have been the difference in the sides of town I was on or maybe it was a difference in the particular police officers that pulled me over, maybe it was a little bit of both.
I had this old Buick that I loved. Someone hit me in a parking lot one night and busted out my taillight. I had put some of that red tape over it and moved on with my life. I didn’t realize that the red tape would fade. So it faded and you could see my white taillight and it was apparently very bright. Illegally bright. So I got pulled over.
Night 1: I was going to my friends house in a more affluent part of town. The police got behind me, turned on the blue lights and pulled me over. My window wouldn’t roll down so I opened my door, got out, and waited for him (white cop) to write the ticket and I signed it. And then, we stood there for a few minutes shooting the shit and I got back in my car with my ticket and went on to my friend’s house.
Night 2: The very next night, I was less than a mile from my house. I live in a not so great neighborhood and I’m one of a small handful of white people in the area. I get pulled over. Cop (black cop) walks to my car. I open the door and start to get out just like I did the night before. Cop yells at me, almost pulls his gun on me, tells me to get back in the car. I do what he says and tell him I knew about the light I just got pulled over yesterday and was literally heading to Auto Zone to get the tape because it was dark and I remembered I didn’t do it earlier. He was so nasty and rude and angry towards me. He wrote my ticket. There were no pleasantries. I got the hell out of dodge while I still could.
Same exact scenario. Two completely different worlds. Sometimes I think it’s less about race and more about socioeconomic status when these things happen, but not always. A lot of times, it’s definitely about race and/or power. And it’s bullshit. If you are a police officer, you vowed an oath to do what is right. Intentionally hurting people is not right. Exerting a little more pressure than necessary is not right. Slinging a little girl by her hair and then shocking her with a Taser is not right. I don’t care what she allegedly did, because, remember, technically, according to our great system, she is innocent until proven guilty and the police have no right to treat people as if the opposite is true and that’s exactly what has been happening and people are taking the side of the police because why? Because we all need to do a ride along and see what their jobs are really like? Um… No. If they think their jobs are so hard that they need to mistreat people to do their jobs, then maybe it’s time to find a new job. It’s not a forgivable offense that is dependent on “what we didn’t see” or “what the camera didn’t show.” If you think police brutality in any form is ok, let me be very clear when I say, fuck you, you’re wrong.