Last month, a pair of teenagers was involved in an altercation with a Seattle police officer. Normally this sort of issue would be a local issue but due to the fact it involved a White law enforcement officer and black suspects, this became national news.
The issue comes from a video that showed the entire incident. At first glance at this, many people would immediately recall memories of Rodney King in Los Angeles, but after further viewing and in entirety, we see that it could not be further from the truth. What I saw was a 19-year old resisting arrest in relation to a jaywalking violation and her 17-year old friend shoving the police officer in response. These two teenagers were out of control with their behavior and their lack of respect for authority. On top of that, the police officer was outnumbered no matter how you spin this issue. Still, did the police officer need to punch one of the girls in the face?
More importantly was the fact the teens were extremely fortunate that the police officer did not use even more force. Sure the officer did in fact punch the teen as she attempted to intercede and stop the officer from making the arrest, but she was also violating the law as well. She was obstructing justice and despite being overly aggressive in his tactics, he did in fact enforce the law. To question a police officer for making a decision in a split second, aware that his life could’ve ended in that second if he did not immediately act. He acted immediately and instinctively in what he thought the best way to survive.
Later on, the teen did apologize to the police officer, which should cement in everyone’s minds who was at fault in this situation. There has been an awful lot of criticism and calls for police brutality, especially watching a 39-year old White police officer punch a 17-year old Black girl, but after watching the video it is perfectly clear that the police officer was not a racist, he was not a thug, but reacted to an immature aggressive teenager who outnumbered the arresting officer. How would all of us react if the arresting officer was Black and the two teenagers were White? We should react the exact same way…that the teenagers were out of control and the police officer was only performing his job.
There have been calls for reprimand of the police officer and I do not condone allowing our law enforcement officials to given the authority to punch suspects in difficult situations. We hold our law enforcement officers to much higher standards than the civilian public and expect better, but I do feel in this situation the problem is not the police officer punching the girl, but the out of control behavior by those two girls. We should focus upon that and the fact the Jacksonville public should perform a much better job of raising our children to respect authority and act like the mature adults we would like them to eventually become.
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