As if this year hasn’t already provided ample evidence that many in America think little of Black people, now the city of Rochester has offered yet another example: WROC reported that three Black students were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct while waiting with nearly a dozen of their basketball teammates for a bus that would take them to a scrimmage game. This, after a police officer approached the three and told them to “disperse” despite several witnesses acknowledging that they did nothing wrong. The boys refused and found themselves locked up not long after.
“We didn’t do nothing,” said Raliek Redd. “We was just trying to go to our scrimmage.” Wan’Tauhjs Weathers added, ”We was just waiting for our bus and he started arrest[ing] us.” The third boy, Daequon Carelock, noted, ”You just downtown, minding your own business, and next thing you know, anything can happen.”
Making matters worse, each of the boys’ families had to post $200 bail in order to guarantee that they were home for Thanksgiving.
The police report claims that there were three young men who were obstructing “pedestrian traffic while standing on a public sidewalk…preventing free passage of citizens walking by and attempting to enter and exit a store…Your complainant gave several lawful clear and concise orders for the group to disperse and leave the area without compliance.”
However, as WROC notes, “The report does not accuse the boys of using abusive or language.”
I imagine being Black and not buckling under the pressure of a racist cop is obscene enough to warrant arrest.
Even the boys’ coach, Jacob Scott, almost found himself arrested for simply sticking up for the rights of his players:
Their coach, Jacob Scott, who is also a district guidance counselor, arrived at the location as the three students were placed in handcuffs. Scott said he pleaded with the officer to let the boys go, saying he was supervising them.“He goes on to say, ‘If you don’t disperse, you’re going to get booked as well,’” Scott said. “I said, ‘Sir, I’m the adult. I’m their varsity basketball coach. How can you book me? What am I doing wrong? Matter of fact, what are these guys doing wrong?’” Scott said a sergeant showed up and backed up his officer.
“One of the police officers actually told me, if he had a big enough caravan, he would take all of us downtown,” Scott said.
Scott said the incident was traumatic for the players who got arrested and the players who witnessed the arrests and such treatment of their coach.
“It’s a catastrophe. These young men were doing nothing wrong, nothing wrong. They did exactly what they were supposed to do and still they get arrested,” said Scott. “I’m speaking to the officers with dignity…and still and yet — they see me get treated like nothing.”
Who knows what might’ve happened to Coach Scott if he had taken another tone about the baseless arrest of his players?
The charges have since been dropped. In a statement, District Attorney Sandra Doorley said, “After reviewing the facts associated with these arrests, I have decided to dismiss the charges in the interest of justice.”
Super, but that doesn’t change the fact that it should have never happened in the first place or alter the reality that this is likely to happen again elsewhere.
We can’t buy candy in peace. We can’t expect help on the side of the road without the possibility of being hit with a bullet. Now, we can’t stand on the sidewalk and wait for public transportation without fear of some prickly police officer confusing the time he’s supposed to be honoring the oath tied to his badge versus the one that fits better with a white hood.
Even if the GOP went on to clarify that racism was not indeed over (due in part to their own policy and leadership), it speaks volumes that in 2013, Rosa Parks might’ve been arrested before even boarding the bus.
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