White privilege was on full display when the criminal justice system delivered a gift ahead of the holidays to the woman dubbed “pool patrol Paula” who assaulted a Black teenager and a cop in June.
Stephanie Sebby-Strempel was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine after pleading guilty to assault and battery on Monday, the Associated Press reported.
On June 24, Sebby-Strempel, 38, smacked 15-year-old Darshaun RocQuemore Simmons in the face at a neighborhood swimming pool in Summerville, South Carolina. She told Simmons and his friends they “did not belong” there before she threw racial slurs at them.
As the teens tried to leave the pool peacefully, Sebby-Strempel could be heard on video screaming, “Get out now! There’s three numbers I can dial, 9-1-1, okay? Get out, you little punk.”
The criminal justice system punishes African-Americans harsher than whites for committing similar crimes, as a 2017 study by the United States Sentencing Commission reminded us.
Quite the opposite of Sebby-Strempel’s sentence, the criminal justice system mistreated Brenda Hardaway, a Black woman from Rochester, New York, who was 21 years old when she pleaded guilty in 2014 to assaulting an officer while resisting arrest.
Like Hardaway, Sebby-Strempel injured two officers. But unlike Hardaway, who received a six-month jail sentence for causing an officer’s injury while he was placing her in handcuffs, Sebby-Strempel emerged relatively unscathed even though she pushed one detective into a wall, injuring his knee, and bit a second detective on the arm hard enough to break the skin.
In many cases, African-American suspects are killed if they attack a police officer. And if they do survive, the suspect ends up beaten and bloodied.
Sebby-Strempel’s sentencing came against the backdrop of news that Louisville police officers beat up a Black man during a traffic stop on Sunday for no apparent reason. Footage of the arrest was posted to the Facebook account of Tonniqua Wale. It shows three cops pulling a man out of his vehicle and slamming him to the pavement at a gas station. One of the cops punches him multiple times before he’s handcuffed.
And a viral video posted on Friday captured New York City police officers violently dragging a Black woman across the floor of a food assistance center to pull her 1-year-old baby from her arms. Police arrested the mother, identified as 23-year-old Jazmine Headley, for resisting arrest.