Teenaged girl brutalized by racist officer
Posted by raleighfist on October 14, 2007
By Tyneisha Bowens
On Oct. 4, a videotape was released to the public showing a 15-year-old African-American girl being brutalized by a police officer in Fort Pierce, Fla. The video, recorded by the officer’s dashboard camera, shows the officer using what can only be deemed excessive and brutal force.
The young girl, whose identity has yet to be officially disclosed, was being taken into custody for violating a law enforcing a curfew for minors in Fort Pierce.
The footage starts with the girl, already crying, being brought to the front of the officer’s vehicle. As the officer begins to arrest the girl she attempts to free herself while begging not to be put in jail. It is obvious that she is afraid as she apologizes for breaking curfew and cries out for her mother.
As the minor begins to “resist arrest” the officer takes it upon himself to begin using excessive force. The officer, a white male at least twice her the size, violently twists her arms behind her back and slams her face into the hood of the vehicle.
After expressing pain from the officer’s “submission tactics” the girl defends herself by biting at the officer’s gloved hand. In response to this the officer forcefully punches the teenager in the mouth and sprays her multiple times at close range with pepper spray.
As he is now able to easily arrest the girl he puts her into his vehicle, completely ignoring her complaints that she is having difficulty breathing.
The officer faces no charges. The 15-year-old girl has been charged with battery, a felony.
Her attempts to free herself from the officer’s grasp and protect herself, including biting the officer, have been cited as just cause for the officer’s brutal behavior.
To combat the idea that this unarmed girl did anything to warrant physical attack from a large adult male it is important to evaluate the fear that she must have been experiencing.
Both women and people of color have historically been victims of acts of police brutality. We as oppressed people have never had the luxury of placing our protection in the hands of officers who serve a historically and currently racist, sexist state.
We remember and still experience the days when officers are given terrorist reign over our communities and our bodies by the U.S. federal and state governments. Furthermore, young people in this country have few if any rights. The fear anyone would feel while being arrested is magnified when the person is a young woman of color.
Therefore the young girl’s attempts to protect herself are a product of the inability of this corrupt state to do so for her and are completely valid.
This videotape is now all over the Internet, as are comments and discussions based on its content. Responses to the video vary from disgust and outrage to declarations that the officer’s actions were just and even provoked.
While many online bloggers and responders are calling the officer’s actions an obvious racist and sexist abuse of power, others, like the right-wing online media outlet freerepublic.com, are attempting to validate the violent arrest.
This videotape’s release all too closely corresponds with the mobilizations around the Jena 6 injustice in Louisiana and the racist murder of DeOnte Rawlings in Washington, D.C. These racist injustices are blatant attacks on our Black youth and have inspired what has been called the New Civil Rights Era.
The writer is a leader of Raleigh FIST-Fight Imperialism, Stand Together-youth group. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.