Though the modern narrative on police brutality tends to focus on murdered black men and boys, black women and girls are also the victims of over-policing in black communities.
Through hashtags like #SayHerName, organizations like the African American Policy Forum have been shouting from the rooftops for years that black women—cis and trans—are also vulnerable to police violence, including sexual assault.
Thankfully, data on the rampant rapes of women by law enforcement is finally bubbling up in the news cycle (and really, who do you think is being raped most here? Black women’s bodies have been stolen since the slave ships.) It’s high time to finally see that black women and girls also bear the brunt of state abuse.
And so it continues, with the vicious beating of a 14-year-old girl, whom a big grown ass cop can be seen punching twice in her side as she lays prone with her face in the dirt, his knee in her back, gripping and yanking her by the hem of her jean shorts (which is violating in and of itself). According to the Coral Springs police, her treatment was warranted because she “resisted arrest.”
But as anyone with eyes can see, the girl is a victim of excessive force, in a scenario we have seen play out far too many times; just another day in the hood for so many black people, again captured on video.
Of course, the police say she deserved it.
WFLA reports that Coral Springs police have come to the defense of the unidentified officer, saying that the young teen was “unruly” and part of a group (you know they wanted to say “gang”) who were allegedly harassing patrons at a mall.
“Upon meeting with security, an officer was stopped by a mother, who indicated her 5-year old child was shoved to the ground by one of the teens,” Coral Springs police said, according to the outlet. “In addition, mall security indicated one of the female teens (arrested) was seen striking another teen patron.”
The teens were given a no trespass warning, but two of the teens returned to the mall. One of them, a male, was arrested without incident, but police said the girl seen in the video “began cursing, attempting to incite the other teens,” and resisted arrest when officers tried to detain her.
One wonders how she was trying to “incite the other teens”?
In an attempt to copsplain their actions, in a statement, Coral Springs police claim the teen “violently kicked” the officer after she was placed in handcuffs:
“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 to comply she was struck in the side to release her clenched fists—she was then handcuffed.”
“The officer’s actions were 100 percent within policy, legal and were not excessive,” Dept. Chief Brad McKeone told reporters, according to CBS Miami.
The incident was put on Instagram by a person identifying herself as the girl’s cousin, Victoria Cedeno.
WFLA reports that Cedeno said her cousin was leaving the mall after a boy spit in her face when she was then confronted by cops and “thrown to the grown and punched because she couldn’t get her hands free from under her when they [were] trying to handcuff her.”
Cedeno said the officer punched her cousin because she “back talked him.”
This whole narrative of a “mouthy black girl” deserving whatever is meted out to her was broken down by writer Kirsten West Savali in a 2015 post about a black teen girl thrown down like a ragdoll in school, of all places:
...we witnessed it with Dajerria [Becton]. We witnessed it with Sandra Bland. We witnessed it with Ersula Ore. And we’re witnessing it now. Even when there is no evidence that this girl was in any way disrupting class, the very suggestion that she could have been a “mouthy” black girl has been enough for some people to ignore their responsibility to her, and others to ask, “Well, did she deserve it?”
The 14-year-old Florida teen was arrested and charged with battery on an officer, trespassing and resisting arrest, and taken to the Broward County’s Juvenile Assessment Center.
The girl’s lawyer, Meeghan Moldof, told NBC Miami, “Immediately watching the video, I could not believe what I was seeing. To me, it’s very clear it’s excessive force. There’s no reason for him to hit her.”
Moldof said the girl’s mother, Jessica Dennis is considering filing a lawsuit against the police department. Dennis says the video of her daughter being hit was “difficult to watch.”
Updated, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, 11:35 a.m. EST: This post has been updated to note that the incident in question happened with the Coral Springs, Fla., Police Department, not Coral Gables.