Poor. Black youth and the criminal justice system.

At City Hall June 25th with BBRLM

This was recently printed in thespec.com (July 2nd 2015).

Thanks to technology and digital media, the whole world witnessed the brutalization of a 15-year-old Texan, black girl and her friends at a pool party, by a white police officer in an appalling fit of fury.

Whatever their “crime” was (being black in a white space?), there can be no justification for the severity of the officer’s and that of his fellows’ reaction.

Not long ago, while waiting for my bus home, I too watched an arrest of a young, black woman down town. One officer on a bike, the other in a cruiser were demanding that she get out of the car she was driving, and that the three other (white) passengers remain in the vehicle. From the front seat, the woman’s partner screamed at the officers: “Why are you arresting her? Is it because she’s black?”

As handcuffs were slipped on, I hurried over to see what was going on. The partner (who was now out of the car) explained to me that they had stopped outside the building to pick up a friend from work. The friend was putting on her seatbelt as they were pulling away, at which point they were pulled over. Why wasn’t she even being permitted to say goodbye?  “You wouldn’t treat me that way, like shit.” She told them that while she herself, had been arrested many times, she’d never been handcuffed.

She was voicing what all people of colour know: white kids will get better treatment from police than a black kid will, no matter the crime. White kids may not even get arrested for the same crime.

In the cruiser, the black youth, sweat pouring down her brow on this sweltering day in May, pleaded with her partner to stay calm.

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