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It turns out that there is a world where an incident involving a violent and overzealous school resource officer (SRO) body-slamming, manhandling and/or brutally assaulting a student results in immediate action that doesn’t include putting a victim on trial for their own attack—it’s the world where the officer is Black and the child is, well, not.

A video taken from a classroom inside Proviso West High School in Hillside, Illinois, that was released by authorities on Friday shows a Black school employee grabbing and throwing a non-Black student to the ground. The video, which was published by ABC 7, is pretty grainy. But what is abundantly clear is a grown man treated a much smaller teenager like an amateur MMA fighter—there is no question as to whether he’s in the wrong. 

MORE: Florida School Cop Filmed Body Slamming Black Girl Won’t Be Charged For The ‘Controlled Takedown’ That Left Teen Unconscious

In fact, the officer was just as wrong as the school resource officer in Florida who was cleared of wrongdoing after he body-slammed a Black girl to the ground knocking her unconscious. Or the one who assaulted the Black teen in South Carolina. Or the one in Pittsburgh. But all those students allegedly earned their attacks by misbehaving. None of them attacked the officers they were hurt by—but, boy, did they have bad attitudes. (I’m just going to have to have faith that I’m laying the sarcasm down thick enough here.)

But, according to school officials, the Proviso West student victim in Hillside was completely innocent and the “unprompted assault” he suffered at the hands of the Black officer was just an instance of egregious behavior on the part of an adult authority figure—who cares what the child’s attitude was like?

“He was not combative, and he was not engaging in any disruptive behavior,” the schools’ chief said in a statement, according to NBC Chicago.

Isn’t that convenient?

But it was Supt. James Henderson of Proviso Township High Schools District 209 who said the thing that should always be said during instances where a student is attacked by an adult in the classroom.

“No adult should ever put their hands on a child in that manner–especially not in a school setting,” he said. “The behavior exhibited by the SRO is consistent with what we see flash across our TV screens almost daily–with Black and Brown young men being targets of police officers. Our scholars deserve better than that and we will do everything in our power to protect them.”

Henderson also said the incident began when the officer “made demands of the student,” but it’s unclear if the student complied. (Not that it should matter outside of the fact that non-compliance is usually the justification for cops treating Black people like ragdolls.)

Maybe we’re all wrong and race didn’t play a part in how the altercation was handled. But it sure would be nice if non-violent Black students, regardless of whether they immediately complied with the demands of officers, were regarded with the same care and presumption of relative innocence—instead, all of that energy tends to be reserved for demonstrably brutal white cops. 

Anyway, it turns out the officer may not be an officer at all.

According to ABC, “the school’s initial statement said the offender was a school resource officer, but the Hillside Police Department said the assailant is not a certified Illinois police officer.”

District officials said the investigation into the incident is still ongoing, but the unnamed “officer” is in custody.

I’m just saying that was some swift action.


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