The headlines made it sound like another ugly case of police brutality. CNN said, “Video shows Florida officer hitting 14-year-old twice during arrest.” The Miami television station which first reported the news said, “Mother, attorney of teen punched by Coral Springs officer at mall speak out.”
The video shows a male and a female officer with a teen on the ground. The male officer hits the girl in her side as she is held on the ground. My first instinct is to think it looks excessive. Why is he hitting her?
The girl’s mother is angry at police and quickly hired an attorney since she wants “justice to be served.”
And then I read about what led to that point shown in the video. What caused two police officers to be violently arresting a 14-year-old outside a shopping mall?
On Thursday, Coral Springs, Fla., police received a call about “unruly teens” who were reported to be harassing and cursing other shoppers at a mall. Among other things, some of the teens were reported to have pushed a 5-year-old child to the ground.
The 14-year-old in the video was one who was seen pushing another teen. Officers gave the teens a trespass warning and were told not to return. Most of the teens left at that point, but some refused to leave, including the one in the video.
Finally, a teen boy was arrested, which caused the girl to start cursing and trying to incite the other teens to fight the cops.
“Officers attempted to take her into custody, at which time she began to fight and resist arrest,” said a statement from Coral Springs Police. “Due to her stature and aggressive behavior, officers took her to the ground attempting to get her to release her fists. As seen in the video, she resisted arrest, and in order to have her comply, she was struck in the side to release her clenched fists.”
So it appears this girl was among a group of out-of-control thugs causing trouble at a mall. When she was cited for trespassing, she refused to leave. When another teen was being arrested, she urged the remaining teens to fight the cops. When she was being arrested, she wouldn’t release her clenched fists to be cuffed and taken in.
I’m frustrated about incidents such as this, partly because crying “police brutality” about this makes a mockery of the real cases of police brutality. There are times when cops mistreat innocent people, especially minorities who’ve done nothing wrong.
I’ve become very angry about such abuse of police powers over the last 15 or 20 years. I’ve seen example after example of it, so I know it’s real. But what we see in this story seems to be something entirely different.
More and more, groups of teens today can act like out-of-control thugs. There’s always been some of that, of course, but I’ve experienced enough of the low-level form of this behavior that I’m afraid to be around some teens.
There are certain places where I’ve learned to stay away from, because I feel unsafe around the groups which congregate there. Just because most of these thugs are not white doesn’t mean it’s racist fear. I would feel the same way if they were thuggish white teens. If you’ve experienced this thuggish and territorial behavior from certain teens, you know what I’m concerned about. If you’re determined to scream “Racism!” any time it involves a non-white thug, I can’t convince you otherwise.
Society can’t function when people feel unsafe walking around in shared spaces. People who don’t respect other people’s right to be in a place without being harassed have to be dealt with. They have to be removed so the rest of us can go about our peaceful lives. That is a legitimate use of police power.
There is no reasonable question anymore about whether police are wrong in how they deal with some confrontations. There can also be no debate about whether minorities are unfairly targeted for brutal treatment.
But the mother of the girl in this case bears a lot of the responsibility for what happened to her daughter. If she had taught her daughter properly and kept control of what she was doing — as a 14-year-old — her daughter wouldn’t have been a harassing thug at a shopping mall.
And when the mother discovered what her daughter had done, a reasonable response would be to say, “I have failed to teach my daughter how to act. I have to start now.”
Instead, this woman wants to enable her daughter’s thuggish behavior by ignoring the fact that the girl created all of these circumstances. She’s teaching her daughter that she can act however she wants — and mom will be here with a lawyer to pretend that poor girl is a victim.
Civil society depends on people obeying mutually responsible rules of behavior. When teens aren’t taught that, they turn into thugs — and then they often turn into adult criminals.
This case isn’t about police brutality. This is a mother who didn’t bother to teach her child how to behave in public. If anybody is responsible for what happened to her daughter, it’s these parents — for not teaching the girl how to act and then for enabling this thuggish behavior by turning a perpetrator into a victim.
We need to call out these sorts of people for what they are, but most people in the media are so terrified of being called racists that they’re scared to call a thug a thug, regardless of the skin color or ethnicity.