As the fallout continues over the overly-aggressive attack on a young, 16-year old Black female student by a White male police officer at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., people are becoming increasingly more fed up with the blatant disrespect of Black people by members of law enforcement in this country – particularly our Black women.
Video footage of the incident went viral, showing officer Ben Fields standing over the young Black girl and then viciously slamming her head down to the ground, while still sitting in her desk, and then flinging the helpless girl across the floor to the front of the room, where he then gets on top of the girl to subdue her.
Officer Fields, who reportedly weighs 300 pounds, responded like this towards this young, Black girl because she allegedly broke a school rule by briefly checking her mobile phone in class.
Allegedly, when the teacher in the class, Robert Long, a 62-year old coward who just sat there and watched this young Black girl be abused, asked her to give up her phone, she refused to relinquish it. Long then called in assistance from Spring Valley High administrators, who in turn called in Officer Fields, to turn to his method of abuse, caught on video, when she would not comply with his demands.
How in the hell can anyone justify how an in-class dispute over a student refusing to relinquish her mobile phone, warranted that officer escalating the situation into a violent altercation that has left this young girl with a broken arm, physical scars and emotional scars that have been added to her already broken and fragile young life?
Only a sick individual, in the mind and heart, can fix their mouths to say she deserved this.
A few days after this assault by Officer Fields, the local school board held a public meeting to allow parents to express themselves. I was so happy to watch a video, that has gone viral, of this unidentified Black father, who expressed what many Black people – especially Black men – have been feeling, but unable to express to the powers that be. He had his chance and nailed it.
In the three minute video clip, that has been viewed well over 2 million times on social media, shows the unidentified Black man speaking about the realities of police brutality and racial injustice in this country and sharing with the school board how he would have handled the situation if it were his daughter. He told the school board that they needed to step in and do something before Black men, like him, begin taking matters into their own hands to get results.
So you still want to know what the “or else” means huh?
It seems as if the “or else” for anyone other than Black people is to do whatever they want, whenever they want, to Black people with no expected outrage or immediate accountability whatsoever. They have seemingly become even more disrespectful to our Black women – regardless of age – and it must stop.
It has since been uncovered that this young Black girl had recently lost her mother and was living with foster parents. Clearly, she’s been going through a lot, but none of that matters when you are a Black kid in school, because Black people are customarily looked at by the majority of mainstream society as evil, angry, lazy, up-to-no-good, criminal, dangerous and disruptive.
It’s only been a little over three months, July, since Sandra Bland, the 28-year old Black female who was pulled over by state trooper Brian Encinia for a minor traffic violation, was arrested for a conflict the officer initiated, and then verbally and physically assaulted by Officer Encinia. As for the rest of the story, Bland was found mysteriously hanged in her jail cell a few days later.
Rewind the tape about one month before in June, and you see a young, 14-year old African American girl in McKinney, Texas, who felt the wrath of McKinney Officer Eric Casebolt, who showed up on the scene after responding to a 9-1-1 call of a disturbance taking place. Upon his arrival, Officer Casebolt forcefully demanded several teenage Black females to leave the premises, and after this particular 14-year old Black girl did not move fast enough to his liking, he pulled her to the ground, grabbed her hair, shoved her face into the ground and then placed both his knees on her back and head. This all happened as this young Black teenage girl is seen emotionally crying out for her mother.
Rewind the tape a year before that in July 2014, when a California Highway Patrol officer was caught on video by a passing motorist brutally beating a 51-year old Black woman on the side of a Los Angeles freeway. The officer is seen on video punching the Black woman at least 11 times in the head, as she can be seen trying to protect herself by putting up her hands but she does not appear to resist the trooper. Authorities claimed the officer was simply stopping her for her own safety, but that is a very funny way of caring about a Black woman’s safety.
The treatment that our Black women have been receiving is over-the-top, and I, for one, am here to say it is unacceptable – at least not under my watch.
How dare we sit up and act like it’s okay for our Black women to be assaulted, publicly humiliated and grossly mistreated by law enforcement, and then have the nerve to blame that Black woman for the treatment they received?
What if it was your daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, wife, fiancé, aunt, family member or friend that became the recipient of such abusive treatment by a member of law enforcement?
Our Black women deserve more respect and better treatment from law enforcement officials – especially our young, Black girls.
I totally concur with the Black brother that spoke before the school board, because if non-Blacks and Blacks don’t care enough to check law enforcement and others who have been publicly disrespectful, verbally abusive and physically assaulting towards our Black women, then we, as Black men, have an obligation to stand up and protect those Black women – “Or Else”.
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.