The actions of two Baltimore County police officers are now under review after they were captured on video last week violently detaining a 16-year-old child who was in need of help and clearly in distress.
Fox Baltimore reports that on Feb. 22, police were called to respond to reports that a 14-year-old girl (who has not been identified) had threatened Alonzo Cox, 16, with a knife during an altercation across from Baltimore County’s Woodlawn High School.
Upon the officers’ arrival, the girl allegedly responded to commands to stop while Alonzo resisted arrest.
Why Alonzo was being arrested in the first place has not been made clear.
“I was scared,” he told reporters the day after he was attacked by the officers. “I thought I was going to get shot; that’s all that was going through my mind. ‘Please don’t shoot me,’” he added. “I was scared for my life.”
He was scared for his life.
According to Fox Baltimore, Cox faces charges of second-degree assault, resisting arrest and second-degree assault on police. The 14-year-old girl was charged with first- and second-degree assault.
Trigger warning: Police brutality, anti-black violence, violence against children.
Former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Ed Norris sees nothing wrong with the officers’ actions.
For Norris, it doesn’t matter that Alonzo is a child. It doesn’t matter that he was an unarmed child justifiably scared for his life because he knows that some of the killers in his city wear badges. He knows that Baltimore cops can get away with severing someone’s neck from their spine, as they did with Freddie Gray.
He’s old enough to know that police officers don’t even need the appearance of a reason to get away with murder.
According to Norris, though, the burden is on unarmed children to ensure that police officers don’t feel threatened by them.
“The problem is they’re trying to put handcuffs on this teenager and he’s resisting,” Norris said. “He put his hands on the first officer and he’s continuing to resist, they’re trying to handcuff him, he’s fighting, he’s screaming, he’s fighting and they can’t get him handcuffed, it’s very difficult to handle.”
Norris added, “If you resist an arrest against a uniformed police officer they don’t lose and they’re going to do whatever they have to do to get you in handcuffs because they want to go home at night. People forget as well, even though this teenager is unarmed and he may not be a hardened criminal by any means, but when you start fighting an arrest with the police there’s a gun in the fight, because the officer is wearing it and that’s always on their mind. People need to be cognizant of that.”
I am cognizant of the fact that black children are not allowed to be children outside of the narrow safe spaces achingly carved out inch by inch by people who love them.
I am cognizant of the fact that fear of the black body—the terror and loathing that it incites in the twisted minds of people who have been trained to target it, incarcerate and destroy it—is foundational and central to whiteness.
I’ve written about writing through the tears as police officers kill without consequence. I’ve written about our children being found guilty of being black and free, and how it is hard not to hate, hard not to want to turn to reciprocal violence, just once, to send the message, “Our children’s lives are fucking worth it.”