*An instance of police brutality has once again reared its ugly head. This time it involved a young girl at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina whose body was dragged mercilessly across the floor of a classroom filled with impressionable students.
Ben Fields, the officer who is currently on paid leave for brutally manhandling a teenage student while her classmates watched in horror, will probably walk away from this ordeal with a slap on the wrist. Even if he is eventually fired, his actions that day reflect a much larger issue threatening the safety of black youth.
As I predicted, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has opened up Pandora’s Box as it relates to the strained relationship between minorities and law enforcement. This is a classic case of what happens when someone, or a group of people, repeatedly pokes a bear—sooner or later it fights back, and the outcome is usually graphic, much like it was at Spring Valley High.
“Black people, you have started something that I hope you’re prepared to finish.”
The ongoing battle against police misconduct has produced two conflicting outcomes thus far. On the positive end, people are learning that racial discrimination isn’t merely an urban legend cooked up by descendants of slaves to lament the status quo. Conversely, there are many white officers who feel as if they’re being singled out by the media and general public collectively. Instead of exercising professionalism and self-restraint in these matters, some officers are choosing to retaliate with excessive violence and subterfuge.
“What happens when a bear gets angry? It destroys everything in its path.”
Frustrated cops are taking matters into their own hands and sending a stern warning to critics: “back off.” The time for talking is over—the police clearly have no intention of backing down or submitting to public pressure. That leaves one question: What are we prepared to do? Are we ready for war?
Police misconduct has been a repetitive issue tearing into the soft underbelly of society for numerous decades. The only difference is that now, witnesses of these crimes have access to cell phones and other handheld recording devices that weren’t available in previous years.
“Police brutality isn’t a myth—it’s symptomatic of racial bias originating from the days of Jim Crow when blacks were treated as less than human by white adversaries.” From Eric Garner to Michael Brown to the helpless young lady who was yanked around like a rag doll in front of her peers by a man whose menacing stature inspired others to nickname him “The Hulk,” there is clearly a cause for concern about the manner in which people of color are treated in this increasingly divisive country.
According to reports, a call was made to campus authorities once the student’s teacher decided he was no longer in the mood to tolerate her poor behavior. But wait a minute, isn’t it the job of an educator to find ways to get through to his or her student(s)? I’m not excusing the young lady’s alleged behavior. In fact, time and time again, I have openly lamented the buffoonery I’ve witnessed from certain bad apples within the black community.
However, the young girl’s teacher deserves partial blame for the vicious attack she suffered. This is mere speculation, but it appears as though he wanted nothing to do with the poor child. If this were not the case, he would’ve taken control of the situation by exercising his authority to prevent conflict. Instead, he turned his back on the young lady and called the school police.
The video of this incident shows more than enough to warrant Fields’ firing. There’s no excuse for a law enforcement officer to act that way against a student who hasn’t harmed or threatened anyone. What’s even more disturbing is that while she was being dragged by her neck and subsequently pinned to the floor, everyone else in the room sat back and watched as if nothing was happening.
Perhaps the other students didn’t intervene because they were simply too scared of what the consequences might have been. Or maybe they didn’t react because of how common police brutality has become in black neighborhoods. Or maybe they all thought the young girl received a righteous punishment for disobeying the orders of an authority figure, which, according to reports, she has a history of doing. But no matter the reason, it doesn’t excuse a room full of black males allowing one of their own to be violently assaulted by a white, racist “pig.”
Regardless of the consequences, someone in that classroom should have jumped to the victim’s rescue. That would’ve been the right thing to do; it would’ve been the honorable thing to do; it would’ve shown her assailant that his violation of police procedure wasn’t going to be tolerated. Unfortunately, Mr. Ben Fields, who according to students has a history of using excessive force, was allowed to carry out a despicable crime against a defenseless young student. He is one of many police officers across the country with a taste for black suffering. Their objective isn’t to protect and serve the public as tasked. Rather, they appear to be hell-bent on striking fear in the hearts of our young ones.
It takes a village to raise children. The same goes for protecting them. What are we prepared to do?
The Black Hat is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood, a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his blogs: www.coryhaywood.webs.com and corythewriter.blogspot.com, or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood