Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Police Brutality and Black Children

Across from my apartment is a playground. A playground that belongs to the Catholic Church attached to it. Nicely enough the Catholic church allows people from the community to use the playground on the weekends, otherwise it is electronically gated. I enjoy looking outside some days and seeing kids screaming and yelling and having fun.

Yesterday I see an older boy and what probably is a brother and cousin playing outside. Black. They are playing with lightening bugs. Of course the older fellow is trying to squash a lightning bug that the younger boy had in his palm and they are arguing and doing what kids do when its starting to get dark and they hanging around playing.

Today I was having an okay day. I went to two medical appointments that I had and on the way home I stopped at a flea market and got some vintage clothing and an interpretation of the Koran. On my way to my car I see a woman that lives in my building. I give her a ride back to the apartment.

When I am taking my goodies out of my car a cop car passed by me. Of course I was a little startled because I accidentally spilled organic rice cake pieces all over the ground and I wasn't sure if they were going to pull over and arrest my Black ass for littering. But of course, I was just being paranoid. They went into the park. I thought nothing of it because a lot of times cops cross through the park. I continue to get things out of my car and then another car passes. Then a van. Then another van. All cops. I turn around to see what is going on just as a cop (white) is pulling the older Black boy I saw yesterday off of his swing and slamming him into the ground. I see a white woman and 5 white children surrounding the police and the young boy. Then I see the little boy (who is 9 because he cried and screamed, I am only 9 years old!) in hand cuffs. They are yelling and grabbing and slamming into the car these young Black boys. I am becoming enraged and tears are welling up in my eyes and I can't believe that these boys could do something so wrong to warrant this treatment. Then I see the gun. The gun that the older boy had in his possession.

And I do not know how to feel. Now. I am confused and even more enraged and incredibly sorrowed. What is a young boy, who still enjoys playing with lightening bugs and swinging on tire swings doing with a hand gun? And why are these cops filled with so much hate for these young boys without question. I can feel it. Particularly two cops. I have so many thoughts and questions running through my mind. They let the young 9 year old boy go when they realize he knew nothing about the gun. Then I see family arrive. I see another young Black boy (relative I presume) who is being hard and tough and then I see a police officer slam him against the white van and yell things at him such as "You want to be hard, you want to be tough. I will show you tough." Then he is handcuffed and placed in a car. Roughly. And little ones ages 4 to 10 surround this. A police officer has to move a young 4 year old out the way. I should state that that white family mentioned before is long gone after witnessing so much.

All I can think about the young Black children (friends and family) that witnessed this. And a young black girl who sticks in mind who was just a little too grown. I could hear her yelling and telling the other children (who are confused) what is going on. I think, what about that little 9 year old boy who had nothing to do with the gun who was thrown around and yelled at and treated badly? What is the message that he has received? What about that 4 year old little girl who had to be pulled out the way? Most importantly what about the older boy who could be no older than 13? What about him. Where did he get this gun? Did he have plans to do something with it?

Of course I just watched across the street feeling voyeuristic and unproductive. I needed to watch though just in case something went wrong, which happens frequently. There are so many holes in my understanding of course. How did they know about the gun? Did someone call? Did the boy show it to the family that was at the playground? Where were the adults in this young boys life? Why weren't they at the playground as well, watching over everyone.

I am still confused and compartmentalizing my emotions. I know that having a gun is serious so these police officers had to be serious. But there is a treatment of Black people, especially Black men that is so familiar. My best friend has told me about his experiences. I have seen it in person so many times before. And what bothers me is that I saw it today. I saw this angry manly aggressive racist treatment of this young boy that only someone of color I think can understand. You have to grow up seeing it. You have to be seasoned in it. You have to see police a lot (in many situations) to understand it. So today my heart felt broken for so many reasons. And I just needed to let the Internet know about it.

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