I don’t know how we get to a point where we can have the footage, and there will still be those who feel a need to apologize on behalf of the police, but never the victims. When so many people can justify the video of a cop using the type of force he did on that teenage girl, I’m left with two conclusions: we are putting way too much trust in law enforcement, and we aren’t giving enough respect towards black people.
It is important to note that Spring Valley High School is in the same state that–up until this summer–had the flag of the Confederacy hang in front of the capital State House. It is in the same state where a white man, Dylan Roof, decided to go into one of the oldest black churches and murdered 9 people. When he was arrested, we saw police gently handcuff him, give him a bullet-proof vest, and order him fast food. In contrast, we’ve seen black girls being beaten at pool parties, killed for traffic violations, and dragged out of classrooms. Black boys being killed for playing with toy guns, and black men for selling cigarettes have become events we aren’t surprised by. The double standard of “crime and punishment” is so blatantly racist, and yet all we are patronizingly told “not to jump to conclusions.”
The police officer may have been fired, but I believe that cannot be enough. He may be indicted, and tried, and sentenced, but that can never be enough–not when we are still able to justify such actions for even a minute. When we apologize for police, and claim an underage girl’s behavior (even when within the law) is responsible for violence done to her, we are giving into a racist tradition that never valued black lives. A tradition of state-supported lynchings. A tradition that says: black people have rights, so long as they act as if they don’t…so long as they act powerless.
I don’t think it is fair to entertain the idea that says what type of behavior one shows towards police warrants such a violent response. Those theoretical debates only occur when the person is black, and it seems like society is only willing to apologize on behalf of white men, and thus, upholding white supremacy.