The recent video of Officer Ben Fields slamming a Black female high school student stunned me so thoroughly with its ferocity and disrespect. But I am also angry at myself for allowing shock and disbelief to creep in. White supremacy has not been addressed. White supremacy has not been addressed. Why the shock? Of course, when the video went across my timeline I was most certainly outraged. Also, the number of Black and White commenters who alluded that young lady may have deserved to be slammed to the ground and mishandled like an animal was nauseating..
But the African-American teacher who felt it necessary to call a law enforcement official into his classroom for a disciplinary issue also gets a side eye of disdain. I also wonder about school districts that feel it is necessary to allow police officers to become involved in school disciplinary issues and to give them the mandate to actually forcibly remove a child from a classroom. But these thngs have been happening for years but the reactions people are having would make us believe it never happened at all.
Despicable, thus is the predictable life cycle of a racially divisive situation in the news.
Just days ago it was reported that Spring Hill Valley High School resource officer Ben Fields, who was initially placed on administrative leave, was fired. It also came to light Officer Fields was named in a several lawsuit that alleging reckless and excessive behavior in the line of duty
The students who recorded this public servant putting his hands on a civilian child and the young lady who was the victim of the assault. All were disciplined by the school and accused of disturbing class. Those who speak against the status quo are punished by The System almost off impulse, even though such punishment goes against the very idea of truth, justice and fair play.
It would have simply been the word of the officer against the word of the young victim and those that witnessed it without the video. Oh, and it’s also a high probability that the teacher who summoned the officer in the first place would not have said anything either.
The entire scenario is just looking all too familiar in the social media age in this post Trayvon Martin era. A crime against a disinenfranchised minority is committed, a law enforcement officer is accused, his defenders mention his White friend or girlfriend, and so the wheel goes ‘round and ‘round.
There was another school incident that occurred in Oklahoma City earlier this month between Thomas Jaha, a 25-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department, and a 16-year-old student at U.S. Grant High School. According to a police report, the student was in the hallway without a hall pass and ignored multiple request by Officer Jaha to return to class. Jaha then approached the student who he says then took a fighting stance. The officer says he believed he needed to defend himself and struck the young man with his right fist. He maintains that the young man continued in his stance and so he struck him with his left fist.
Unlike Fields, Officer Thomas Jaha is being charged with one count of assault and battery. Having been educated in an inner city school in Central Jersey, the first school in the region to have a full-time in school police officer and a metal detection system, I have been watching police officer, teachers and principals slamming children on tile floors, against desks, lockers and lunch room tables through the 12 years that I was in the public school system.
Most of the time, these people were Black or Hispanic. Like the young man who would find himself on the other end of blows from officer Jaha, I’ve seen kids sit stunned and angered at the realization that a proxy of the school’s authority would dare put their hands on a student.
Then, the look of defeat that is apparent on the face of said student the next day. Perhaps it was the realization that nothing usually happens when those in power crossed the line. A hard realization, an altering realization. Altered into never again trusting authority figures. Changed from agreeable civility to the subtle shift in allegiance that makes subversiveness a viable option.
The video evidence against both Fields and Jaha are damning. They show police brutality being introduced to our children at a very young age, the videos also show it takes very little provocation from the student to elicit a violent assault and that white supremacy presumes guilt upon the individuals of African descent with sickening regularity.
The Black teacher who called the cop on a Black child who he deemed guilty of something, the White cop who slammed her the ground with extreme prejudice, the Black officer who assumed malicious intent from a White student that he dwarfed in stature, the fact that officer Fields was simply fired while officer Jaha was charged are all indicative of a white supremacy power structure that would always see White interests legitimatized while deeming Black interests illegitimate.
This is true even when an African American is acting in the employ white supremacy. White cop slames Black kid he's fired, Black cop punches White kid, charges filed.
Some conservative Americans of African descent would lament that it takes two parties to participate in racism and that simply choosing not to recognize racism depowers it in some way, a terrible line of reasoning when devoid of the ability to change one’s environment instantly. But it is the line of reasoning an increasing number are taking these days. So, if the young lady would have simply ignored officer Fields he would have been less likely to slam her to the floor?
It’s very possible officer Jaha, as a police officer for over two decades, had long assumed his contributions to the City of Oklahoma as a police officer far outweighed any transgression he might have been guilty of committing in the line of duty. But the atmosphere of increased scrutiny against law enforcement and its proxy agents mean Jaha, a Black man, is facing charges for something he likely did dozens of times over the course of his career, and Officer Fields has lost his job for doing something dozens of school “safety” officers across the country have done today, and will do tomorrow, yet we will never, ever see on television.
Students at Spring Valley High held a walk-out in support of fired police officer Ben Fields at 10 am on Octoer 30, 2015. They were wearing t-shirts that read "Free Fields" and "Bring Back Fields". This action was supported by school administrators and even the principal spoke out in support of the protest action. School principal Jeff Temoney said he "heard their voices and appreciates you for doing this." This last part is one of the most egregious of them all. It shows the staying power of white supremacy by illustrating how even those who are most at risk to be affected by it are oftentimes the most in favor of it.