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Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in About Blackacre, Ben Carson, Black Issues, Black Lives Matter, Black on Black Crime, Blackacre, crime, Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice System Reform, Education, Excessive Force, Family and Children, Justice, Officer Slam, Police Abuse, Police Video, politics, Poverty, Progressive policy, Progressive Think Tank, Progressives, Public Policy, Recording the Police, Think Tank | 16 comments

Officer Slam

Officer Slam

By now most have seen the video of the encounter between the officer and the female student from South Carolina’s Spring Valley High School. This is but the latest in a continuing tableau of disturbing interactions between the law and those it allegedly serves.

Our first inclination was to stay as far away from this incident as possible. In an environment where semi-facts and counter narratives are brick thick, few know what really happened. Each day a new allegation emerges and following the herd with uninformed, biased and over the top commentary is never helpful.

Even worse, from racism, law enforcement and “Black Lives Matter”, to schools, poverty and broken families, to politics, police and perceptions, the policy landmines are endless. It is however the very complexity of this matter coupled with the urgent need for solutions that compels a response.

Our concern is that the footage serves only to fuel our collective rage, frustration and resignation. Our hope is to shed light however dim, on a pitch dark subject.

First, the video makes it easy to vilify the officer dubbed as “Officer Slam”. His was a wretched overreaction and abuse of power which fully justifies his firing. He is being investigated by the United States Department of Justice and eventually will be sued in civil court where large sums of money will change hands and may well face criminal prosecution.

Others however see the same footage and conclude differently. They believe that the student caused the situation and even if the officer did overreact, so what? “She brought it on herself.” Some have even praised the officer, as deserving of a medal for restoring much needed order to the classroom.

There is more than enough blame to go around. The officer was the adult in the room and as a trained member of law enforcement had an affirmative duty to act in a professional and reasonable manner. Neither he nor any other officer is permitted to kick butt and take names merely because they are frustrated or feel insignificantly respected. Thus, the student’s behavior neither excuses nor justifies the officer’s conduct.

Yet, his being wrong does not make her right, even if you factor in her age, the recent loss of her mother and placement in a foster home. Education is critical to our individual and collective success. This is especially true of at-risk youth.

Instead of disrupting the class and/or playing with her cell phone, the student should have focused on her studies. And when asked repeatedly by her black teacher and school principal to relinquish her phone and/or leave leave, she should have complied.

Had I so misbehaved in school my father, who has been dead for well over 20 years, would still be kicking my ass. He would rise from the grave to tighten me up.

The ugly truth which family often ignores is that far too many of our children are destructive, irresponsible and disrespectful of any and all authority, including their own parents. Little wonder they clown in school. And too many teachers and administrators are bullied, battered and intimidated by the very pupils they are charged with mentoring. There is yet another viral video which shows a school principal being body slammed by a student.

Sadly, the incident has become political as each side digs in their respective heels, points their collective fingers at others, focuses only on those facts which support their positions and obsesses with being right rather than moving forward.

For example, thousands of African-Americans have signed petitions to have Raven Symone from “The View” and Don Lemon of CNN, both of whom are black, terminated for offering commentary that was deemed unsympathetic to the cause. Never mind that reasonableness of their positions See More likely than not, dissenting voices in the opposite camp faced a similar fate.

But lashing out at those who differ is no substitute for finding solutions. And there is no single way of thinking; of being white, black, brown or any other shade of the rainbow. Disagreeing with conventional wisdom is hardly a sin. It is simply disagreeing. As much as I diverge from Ben Carson, he is still black.

As to law enforcement, this was not the officer’s first foray into questionable behavior. What happened here was therefore predictable. Yet until now, he has been supported by his superiors, surrounded by his peers and endorsed by a system that knew full well his proclivities. And while “Officer Slam” may not be emblematic of all or even most officers, he is certainly reflective of some and too many officers.

Under the pretense of professional outrage, of feigned sensitivity he will be sacrificed to the whims of public opinion and made the scapegoat for problems much larger than his indiscretion. But nothing, absolutely nothing will be done to fundamentally change a system in dire need of transformation. The most public officials will do is tinker around the edges.

The bottom line is that whether we like it or not, we have to live together, hopefully with love but at least with respect. Concordantly, we must end conflicts between the police and the community, which only worsen an already bad situation. The question is how?

We do not pretend to know all of the answers. But we do offer a strategy that involves greater accountability from both the system and ourselves.

Removing the shield of immunity from the criminal justice system is the first step. Justice will never be served unless and until officials who commit, shield, aid and abet wrong are personally and criminally held responsible for said wrong. No one is above the law especially those who enforce the law.

Second, while it is not necessary that we agree with or even appreciate authority, we are nevertheless obligated to conduct ourselves as law-abiding, productive citizens. We could move mountains by incentivizing our children to embrace this responsibility and to love one another as much as they do their cell phones.

Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum


  1. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

    • Thanks

  2. you have a great blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

    • Let’s do it.

  3. 428601 614074Hi my loved 1! I want to say that this write-up is wonderful, excellent written and contain almost all vital infos. I would like to peer a lot more posts like this . 443188

    • Back at you.

  4. Whenever a pet cat acts up, normally you don’t pick them up and slam them to the floor and drag them. Most normal people would prefer more of a bee-nine approach to stopping any poor behavior, such as taking a squirt gun to the stuborn feline. Why the officer did not just take out his squirt gun and shoot it point blank directly into the face of the stuborn girls behooves me? An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, cell phone for a cell phone (oh that reminds me, we had a squirt gun cell phone that we shot point blank in the face of kids we told we were taking their picture. lol). The police officer could have calmly asked to take the stuborn girls picture, then shot her in the face instead with water. She would have leaped from the chair herself instead of having to be man-handled. Squirt guns should be just as much of a peace officers arsenal as a taser or 9mm semi-auto pistol with hollow-point expanding bullets that leave a huge exit wound on their victims.

    • I bet if the peace officer had taken a handful of shaved or crushed ice and put it down the back of her shirt, that we would be hearing on the news that the officer was trying to sexually abuse her. In order to make it clear what an officer is doing, benign methods such as water guns (squirt guns) should be used instead of placing hands on the victim/suspect/perp. Ice would be funny as hell, and really would have made her jump from the chair. Perhaps ice water? Perhaps a squirt gun loaded with water which has a chemical pack that can be burst with a button to chill the water instantaneously before administering?

    • Interesting proposition. But some would still complain.

    • Maybe he could have simply picked up the chair with the student still in it and carried her outside the class room? I don’t know about the squirt gun however. Some would clearly claim that the officer was treating the student like an animal.

    • Treating her like an animal is better than treating her like a piece of meat and getting a meat hook into her to drag her. Animals have rights. And as such, human beings should be treated with as much or more respect, and with kid gloves, especially if they are kids. A “resource officer” needs to be “resourceful” and use better more sophisticated means than flipping over and dragging. A cold bucket of gatorade would do the trick. Yes it makes a mess, but so does spilled blood, and gatorade is easier to mop up and get the stains out.

    • Thanks Eric. I appreciate your comments.

  5. I agree…absolutely NOTHING will be done to change the system…since its not little Becky being slammed by Officer Leroy Washington..

    • Really! I know there is some merit to your position but do you think that this is only a question of race? For example, would your analysis change if the parties were of the same race, i.e., if black officer Leroy had slammed a black teenage female or white officer Holden did the same to a white teenage female?

      I would love to hear your reply.

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