Wondering if racial profiling really exists? This may answer that question for you. Three Rochester, New York teens say they were waiting for the school bus when they were arrested. According to the kids, they weren't bothering anyone or even causing a ruckus as they waited for a ride to a basketball scrimmage. The charge? Obstructing pedestrian traffic on a public sidewalk and blocking a store entrance.
"He told us. ... 'Y'all gotta move. Y'all can't stand here.' We tried to inform him that we weren't waiting for the city bus. We were catching the yellow bus to go to our scrimmage," Wan'Tauhjs Weathers, 17, said. "He told us he didn't care and he told us to move. And as soon as we start moving, he started arresting us."
Reportedly, the cop didn't even ask the store clerk if the boys were causing a problem. He simply barked orders for them to disperse. When they tried to explain, he decided to haul them in. This sounds like another case of racial profiling at its worst. The cop didn't even back down when the school bus rolled up and the coach came to their defense. "I think he seen a group of black men and kind of stereotyped them for loitering, looking for trouble," one of the boy's moms told reporters.
The police chief said his officer was justified in arresting the young men. However, after reviewing the facts, prosecutors thankfully dropped the charges. Clearly there wasn't enough evidence to support those ridiculous claims.
More so than angered by this story, I am incredibly sad. As the mother of a black child, I can imagine the stereotypes he may face. And this isn't just conjecture. According to a recent Gallup poll, 1 in 4 black men reported being unfairly treated by police in the last 30 days.
But these kids were lucky. The situation could have turned deadly. Yes, we have a black President. Yes, we have come a long way in many respects. But clearly some close-minded attitudes still exist. How can I teach my own little boy to think of the police as protectors when they harass and terrorize us this way? It begs the question, would white teens be treated this way? Sadly, I don't think they would.
Do you think the officer was out of line?
Image via KB35/Flickr