Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

The video is stunning.

A muscular cop leans over a skinny schoolgirl, flips the chair in which she sits, sending her to a hard fall to floor on her back. Before she can disentangle herself from the desk chair, she is seized and thrown across the room, like a ragdoll. She is immediately handcuffed and arrested, for “disturbing” her classroom.

According to published accounts, she was said to have been a non-participant in class and ordered to leave the classroom. When she refused to leave, the schools so-called “resource” officer was notified. When policeman Ben Fields arrived at the classroom, he went into Rambo mode on the child! The rest is infamy.

Several months ago, a video showed a mad “Robocop” assaulting a young teenaged girl in a bikini. This latest police attack on a young girl is almost identical—except it happened in a classroom. Consider this: the girl in class never assaulted anyone. She merely refused to leave. Was this more “disturbing” than the madcap cop response which looked more at home in a WWE ring than a classroom?

It tells us the nature of public schools, and more ominously, the nature of police. Are cops there to protect the students—or the staff from the students? What is the function of teachers, to teach obedience—or to teach freedom? Events such as these show us an ugly, unpopular, uncomfortable truth about American schools and how they interact in the lives of children, especially Black children.

The imagery of a beefy Black cop throwing a white teenaged girl across a classroom would’ve evoked an immediate response. That this has not speaks volumes about the degraded value of the lives and well-being of Black children in America today.