By Uhuru B. Rowe
November 5, 2015
By now, most of us have seen the viral video of the young black Columbus, South Carolina high school student who was viciously assaulted on October 26, 2015 by a senior deputy who was moonlighting as a school resource officer. The video sparked national outrage. The deputy, later identified as Ben Fields, is seen yanking the 16-year-old girl out of her seat, slamming her to the floor, and tossing her across the classroom like a rag doll after she refused to acknowledge Fields’ authority. Prior to being assaulted by Fields, the girl was asked by school officials to leave the class because she was using her cellphone in class. When she refused, then enters Fields who, according to students, is known as “officer slam”, apparently because of his penchant for using excessive force against students. Because of the violent nature in which the young girl was assaulted, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott suspended Fields without pay and called for an investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Fields was later fired, probably to stave off future protest and acts of civil disobedience that were sure to come.
This incident should awaken us to the problem of criminalizing the behavior of students via zero-tolerance policies which disproportunately affects students of color, which inevitable facilitates the school-to-prison pipeline. This incident should also remind us that domestic imperialism via state police terror spares neither the young or the elderly.
Remember Marlene Pinnock? Pinnock, a then-51-year-old African-American great-grandmother was savagely beaten in the face while laying on the ground of a Santa Monica, California Highway. The perpetrator: A highway patrolman; or should I say just another racist pig. The video of Pinnock’s July 1, 2014 beating went viral on YouTube.
What about the young black girl that was man-handled and thrown to the ground at a pool party earlier this year in Texas.
These cases exemplifies the decadence of America’s criminal justice system and police state terrorism which spares neither our women.
The population of women in America’s prisons has grown by nearly 800% since 1980. Approximately 70% of incarcerated women are mothers and the majority were the primary caretakers of their children before they were sent to prison. Approximately 80% of women in prison experienced physical abuse either as children or as adults. Consider too that Black women and trans women of color are the fastest growing sector in America’s prison.
These are reasons why patriarchy needs to be abolished.