There was a time when school fights weren’t such an eventful thing. Students would scrap, the fight got broken up and suspensions and detentions were meted out to the kids involved. Nowadays—and especially when the students are Black—a simple fight can get a student bodyslammed by a cop or otherwise handled roughly while the student is detained and/or arrested.
Truthfully, a common school fight shouldn’t end in a child even getting handcuffed let alone ending up with a cop’s knee on their neck—and yet here we are.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin—y’all know the place where police brutality against a Black man led to protests which led to riots which led to a white killer getting away with slaughtering people with an assault rifle—the father of a 12-year-old Black girl wants prosecutors to charge an off-duty police officer who was seen on video pressing his knee into his daughter’s neck while handcuffing her after a school fight. On his Facebook page, he likened the encounter to that of George Floyd writing, “TELL ME WHATS THE DIFFERENCE LUCKILY HE AINT KILL MY BABIE.”
Jerrel Perez told the Associated Press that Officer Shawn Guetschow “needs to be charged” over the March 4 incident at Lincoln Middle School.
“This is a grown man we are talking about,” he said.
Surveillance video of the incident shows Perez’s daughter getting into a fight with another student when Guetschow rushes over to break it up. The scuffle continues and Geutschow is seen taking the 12-year-old to the ground and then using his knee to restrain her as if he’d never even heard Floyd’s name before.
So, Perez and his family’s attorney, Drew DeVinney, have demanded that Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley charge Guetschow.
Now here’s why it isn’t likely anything will be done about the incident. From AP:
Wisconsin passed a law last summer prohibiting police from using chokeholds except as a last resort or to defend themselves, joining a host of other states that passed similar laws following Floyd’s death and the national protests that followed.
Technically, the law prohibits police departments from authorizing chokeholds in their use-of-force policies. The law doesn’t specify any penalties for violating it, though.
That means Graveley, who pressed the charges in the Rittenhouse case, can’t charge Guetschow under the chokehold law. He could conceivably charge him with some other count, such as battery or assault or recklessly endangering safety, however. Graveley said Monday that no law enforcement agency had referred possible charges to his office.
So basically, Wisconsin passed an unenforceable police brutality law, which one can only assume was meant to placate Black people and advocates against police violence while doing next to nothing to penalize it.
Also, former Kenosha authorities don’t think Guetschow did anything all that bad.
“It was very short. It was to get (the girl) under control. Under the circumstances it was the fastest way to do it,” former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher said. “I don’t expect the officer to think, ‘How’s this going to look to the media?’ It’s, ‘How do I get this subject under control as quickly as possible?’” He also said the incident “isn’t even remotely close to Floyd.”
Now, to be fair, Bucher isn’t completely wrong. I mean, his use of the word “remotely” is debatable, but Floyd got choked to death because his neck was under a cop’s knee for more than nine minutes. Perez’s daughter probably wasn’t in danger of losing her life.
On the other hand—and I’m just going to go ahead and switch to caps here—THIS GIRL IS 12 YEARS OLD!!!
Listen, we talk a lot about the adultification of Black children by white authority figures. Black people aren’t going to buy that it was necessary for a grown man to get this physical to restrain a child who’s not even a teenager yet. Hell, I’m struggling with the notion that handcuffing her over a garden-variety school fight was necessary at all.
“While the officer may not have used the best judgment here in terms of how he restrained this girl or how he handled the situation, in the continuum of reasonable responses, I don’t think the DA’s office will find that a crime was committed,” said Julius Kim, a former Milwaukee County assistant prosecutor.
Ao basically, Guetschow was wrong, but, eh—let’s all just get over it.
Remind me never to move to Kenosha.