An unarmed 16-year-old schoolgirl who refuses to put away her cellphone does not deserve being grabbed by the neck and brutally slammed to the ground by a trained police officer. I repeat: an unarmed 16-year-old schoolgirl who refuses to put away her cellphone does not deserve being grabbed by the neck and brutally slammed to the ground by a trained police officer.
Last week, 16-year-old Shakara — a student at Spring Valley High School — was seen on cellphone video being thrown to the floor of her math classroom by South Carolina Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields. Cellphone video shows that Shakara was seated at her desk and making no sudden moves immediately prior to the violent assault where Fields grabbed Shakara from behind by her neck, and flipped her over so suddenly that the desk she was seated in overturned with her, and then bodily drags her out of the tangle of plastic and metal to lie prone on the classroom floor (video embedded after the jump). Already, social justice activists have rightfully identified the incident as yet another example of excessive police force targeting a Black body for unnecessary and unprovoked violence.
Already, too, however, a chorus of naysayers have also chimed in. “Hold up,” they say, “we haven’t seen the ‘rest’ of the video.”
“We don’t know,” they say, “what Shakara did to provoke the attack.”
There is nothing a seated, unarmed, and non-violent teenager could do that would justify this kind of brutal assault.
Ferguson. Brown. Long Island. Garner. New York. Diallo. Cleveland. Rice. Brooklyn. Gurney. St. Louis. Powell. Los Angeles. Ford. Beavercreek. Crawford. Bastrop. Smith. D.C. Carey. New York. Gray. Chicago. Boyd. Rubidoux. Miller. Baltimore. Gray. Fruitvale. Grant. Jackson. Anderson. McKinney.
These are the names that are etched into the hearts of all those who support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. These are the words that echo in an unrelenting staccato, like the swollen raindrops of a torrential storm; or, like a ruthless cascade of bulletfire. This is the sound of the murder of the Black community, and still too many of us refuse to hear the cries.
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