Following the untimely deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of law enforcement last week, the national zeitgeist has been inundated with articles, protests, and discussions surrounding police brutality.
While Michael Brown — an unarmed black man who was killed by police in Ferguson, Mo. in 2014 and whose death helped ignite the Black Lives Matter movement — was a teen, much of the dialogue around police brutality tends to focus on the experiences of adults. But what about the teenagers?
Teenagers also have to see victims killed, family members grieving on television, and protests that can become violent.
Security camera footage that was later released shows a Detroit Public Schools police officer roughly manhandling a 15-year-old female student at Cass Technical High School following a back-and-forth with administrators stemming from the student's attempt to use an elevator with an expired pass.
Cass Tech students were shocked and infuriated when the footage became available, and the incident proved a depressing point: a victim of police brutality can be anyone and the crime can happen anywhere at any given time, even to children.
Not even a week after the video went viral, members of the Wayne State University group International Youth and Students for Social Equality interviewed students about their perspectives on police brutality and the example of it at their own high school.
“Police brutality is something I worry about as a student. I wouldn't want that happening to me or my fellow classmates,” says Maia, an incoming junior at Cass Tech.
“If they enforce police brutality, we get more officers to outnumber the people that's trying to make a change,” says Jaylen, an incoming sophomore at Cass Tech.
In the video, students present brilliant points that are unique to the conflict of police brutality. The brutality that occurred with one student causes discomfort and worry for other students in regards to their safety and trust in Cass Tech staff.
Another Cass Tech student, Jaylen, says that if police brutality continues, it will suppress the people supporting and fighting for harmony between police officers and civilians.
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