Special to the NNPA from The Seattle Medium –
(NNPA) - Members of the African-American community have taken to the streets to show their displeasure with the chain of events that have stemmed from the punching of a Black female teen by a Seattle police officer.
The group, led by Blacks in Government, are demanding an apology from the chief of police to not only the girl but also to the community, revisions of alleged police policies that allow for officers to punch people in the face, and for more police accountability to the community.
According to a statement outlining their demands, protestors are asking for a clear statement that the officer’s actions and behavior are inconsistent with proper police policy.
"We understand that the police guild maintains that the officer acted consistent with police policy under such circumstances,” read the statement. “We are aggrieved by a police policy that includes punching girls. If this is policy then we demand that policy be changed.”
According to James Bible of the Seattle-King County NAACP, the manner in which the apology that was issued by the young woman who was punched in the face to the officer was misrepresented by SPD.
“There has been a misrepresentation to everyone about the apology that took place,” said Bible.
“There was an apology, but there was not acceptance of her apology by the officer,” he continued. “What there really was, was a berating of her by the office of how what she did was wrong.” The story gets even more complex.
“There were two wrongs, but we only got one apology,” said Charles Oliver, president of Region X of Black in Government. “Why is he getting an apology, she was the victim!”
The over-riding message from the rally was that Black men in our community were not going to sit-by and let anyone, especially police officers, put their hands on Black women.
“I want to make it clear, you don’t put your hands on our sisters, I don’t care who you are,” said Min. Milford Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.
“You will never, ever, be able to justify putting your hands on no Black woman,” continued Min. Muhammad. “You can arrest her, but you won’t put your hands on her.”
“If I were here when that officer put his hands on that sister, I would have stepped between them and said that you cannot do this,” said Alton McDonald of the National Action Network. “For too long, our women have been strong. It’s time for our brothers to stand up and stop White supremacy.”
In addition, organizers vowed to not let history repeat itself as they made reference to past police incidents where officers seemed to be rewarded or glorified for their “unjust actions’ against African Americans.
“I’m getting sick of these cops coming down here mistreating our youth and getting promoted,” said Oliver. “If the officers think they can come to Seattle and continue doing what they do, they’ve got another thing coming.”
“That officer should be suspended until a full investigation has taken place,” said Min. Muhammad.
The bottom line for protesters seems to be respect. Respect for women, children and for the African American community as a whole. Organizers vow to stay with this issue until justice prevails and the victim/community are made whole.
“We want people who say they care about us to recognize that there was a girl involved in this too,” said Rev. Carl Livingston. “We’ve been quiet much too long, but we cannot be quiet any longer.”