Last month, a 15-year-old black girl accidentally bumped her bike into an automobile in Hagerstown, Maryland. It was no big deal and could have been dealt with swiftly had she simply complied with the police at the scene. Instead the girl chose to act like a brat and then claim the police were oppressing her.
When the police tried “to question her about the accident and find a parent to authorize her refusal to receive medical treatment from paramedics on the scene,” she refused to cooperate, WTTG reported.
This led to an altercation in which she was subdued with pepper spray, taken into custody and later charged with disorderly conduct, second degree assault, marijuana possession and failure to obey a traffic device.
“At that point, as would be even with an adult, if you’re refusing to give us information on a traffic situation … at that point you can be arrested until we determine who you are,” Hagerstown Police Capt. Paul Kifer said.
This seems sensible to people who are themselves sensible, but of course some people objected.
Over at the BlackMattersUS blog, for instance, commentators accused the Hagerstown police of engaging in “institutional racism.” However, the subsequent release of body camera footage from the incident quickly put such accusations to rest.
You can view the footage below (the relevant portion begins just after the three-minute mark), but please note that the video is very graphic:
What the young lady experienced — being forcibly taken into custody — looked somewhat painful. However, she had only herself to blame for what happened to her.
Bumping her bike into a vehicle was not a big deal. Trying to escape the scene and pretend as if it never happened — that, on the other hand, was of concern.
There was good news to report, though. According to The Hagerstown Herald-Mail, the young girl eventually wrote a letter apologizing for her actions, and apparently local officials were so impressed by her taking responsibility that they opted to drop all the charges against her.
Good for her. That said, let’s hope other children will learn from her error. If you make a mistake, just fess up to it.
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