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Saturday, March 17, 2007

This pisses me off!

A seven-year-old sitting on his dirt bike on a sidewalk near his home in Baltimore, MD (although police say he was actually riding the bike) was hauled off the bike by his collar, roughly handcuffed - despite his desperate mother's pleas - and taken to the precinct where he was fingerprinted, posed for a mugshot and then interrogated. Afterward, he remained handcuffed to a bench until he was finally released to his parents. Needless to say, the child is traumatized (hell, I would be too, and I'm 43) and broke down crying while being interviewed for the news.

People are rightly protesting the arrest, saying it was motivated by racism because the boy was black in a predominantly black neighborhood. I'm sure the police are going to pull out their usual excuses, including the one about insufficient training. But bad training doesn't preclude the underlying basic disrepect for the rights of others who are "other" in this case. Yes, it is dangerous for any child to be operating a motorized vehicle (if he was indeed operating it), but this arrest was over the line and totally unnecessary. You would think simple common sense would have told the officer he was overreacting. Now the whole city is embarrassed nationwide, so much so that the mayor had to get on TV and offer a public apology.

You might ask whether this would have happened to a child from an upper class neighborhood. Yes - if the child is black because this sadly reminds me of another case where a black, middle-class family had to suffer the indignity of a neighbor calling the police on their young children for riding a red wagon. The reason: the neighbor assumed the wagon was stolen because the children were black. In this particular case, the stupid officer actually pulled a gun on the children. Of course, the asshole cop eventually found out the wagon wasn't stolen and the sheepish neighbor had the gall to try to apologize to the mother, but she wasn't having it. Me - I would've been trying to kick some neighborly ass.

Now, who wants to bet that these kids in both cases now have a very diminished image of police officers? And who wants to add to the pot and bet that some stupid folk are gonna wonder why these children will grow up with little to no respect for authorities?

Don't get me wrong - there are good cops, and we couldn't survive without them. But there are too many fools motivated by racism, classism or whatever, who make it hard on every damn body. That they have authority and guns only adds to a pot already simmering over. Unfortunately, this won't be the last time we hear of a story like this.

Per MSNBC News.


Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 3/17/2007 05:12:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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