While waiting in the car for his mom to finish some business she was conducting, the call of nature came knocking loud and hard to Quantavious. He badly needed to relieve himself. He looked around to see if there were stores where he could use their facilities. There were none, so ten-year-old Quantavious used the public restroom, literally.

Hey, what parent of a young boy hasn’t been in a similar situation and tried to find a discrete place to allow them to relieve themselves and hope no one sees them?

Quantavious thought he was safe. But a police officer saw what he had done. The police entered the office where Quantavious mother was and told her what he had witnessed. She came out and did what mothers do; she read him the riot act. Quantavious’s mother was surprised when four other police officers showed up, along with a police lieutenant, and arrested her ten-year-old son.

Think about that for a moment: four patrol officers and a lieutenant show up to arrest a ten-year-old, take him to the police station, book him, and place him in a cell all that for urinating on the sidewalk.

If that’s not bad enough, they charge him with being a juvenile needing supervision. He was in a car, and his mother was in an office conducting business. What supervision did he require?

This entire situation was already ridiculous, but it got worse. These fools wanted the mother to agree to a 90-day probation agreement, which had the following conditions:

· Would have to submit to a random drug test

· Observe an 8 p.m. curfew

· Meet with a probation officer once a month

· Write a two-page report on Kobe Bryant

The Tate County Youth prosecutor wanted Quantavious to write a report on Public Decency, but the judge changed it, obviously recognizing the futility of that request.

But here is what is very curious about this case: Carlos Moore, the attorney for Quantavious, wanted the case dismissed. But for unknown reasons, the prosecutor wouldn’t accept the offer. Instead, he told Moore if he continued to pursue the case, he would raise the charge on Quantavious to disorderly conduct, a more severe charge than a child needing supervision.

Okay, take a moment and step back, ask yourself, What the hell is happening here? Why is this prosecutor hell-bent on sticking with his dumbass position when this is nothing case? Especially when the Senatobia Police Chief is on record saying his officers handled this situation poorly and didn’t follow their training. With one officer resigning, the others will undergo retraining.

Here we are in another insane situation, which seems to be the bane of Black communities throughout the country. Prosecutors like the one in Senatobia are more concerned about varnishing his conviction rate than equitably distilling justice.

Whenever I read a story like this, I become enraged and ask the ultimate question:

· Why did the cop come back and arrest her son after he was satisfied with how she handled the situation?

· Why did another squad car and a lieutenant show up to a situation the officer handled on the scene?

· Why was the prosecutor insistent on prosecuting this case?

· Why didn’t the judge dismiss this case outright?

· Why didn’t the police chief intercede with the youth prosecutor and tell him he was not pressing charges and handling the matter internally?

· Why on God’s green earth are these people trying to turn a ten-year-old into a criminal?

In 2019, a six-year-old girl had a temper tantrum in school and kicked a teacher. She was placed in zip-ties because her wrists were too small for the standard police issue handcuff, and the police arrested her. According to reporting, this child is suffering from a form of PTSD from the incident:

“I thought the brunt of the trauma was the day it happened,” she continued, “but I’m finding out day by day it is going to be a long road. Kaia still has night terror, she’ll be up at 3 o’clock in the morning, crying, scared.”

There has been an uptick in reports in various cities where the police and adults overreact when it comes to Black children. The following passage from Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, came to mind when reading the accounts of ten-year-old Quantavious Eason and then six-year-old Kaia Rolle:

“Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination — employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service — are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” –The New Jim Crow.

The frequency of over the years, the frequency of these stories has increased, along with district attorneys rushing to charge and, in many cases, overcharge these young Black kids, many of whom are still in poverty.

There was no need to escalate either of these situations. Quantavious’s mother dually chastised her son for his actions, and the police officer was okay with what she did; evidently, the lieutenant wasn’t.

How else do you explain why the officer arrested him after speaking to the other officers and lieutenant who arrived on the scene? Regarding what happened to six-year-old Kaia, someone must explain why in hell she needed to be zipped-tied.

These events have had a traumatic impact on both children. What happened to Kaia took place four years ago but has affected her to this day, according to what her grandmother said:

“One of Kaia’s greatest fears is that every time she sees a police officer, they are coming to arrest her, one of her friends, or one of her family members,” Kirkland said.

“I thought the brunt of the trauma was the day it happened,” she continued, “but I’m finding out day by day it is going to be a long road. Kaia still has night terror, she’ll be up at 3 o’clock in the morning, crying, scared.”

Months after the ceremony, when Rolle actually turned 8 years old, expressed new anxiety, believing that she has aged out of the law that was created to protect children like her, her family says.

And in 2022, it has not gotten any better. Grandma now says that she lives a “solitary lifestyle.”

“Before the incident, Kaia was an awesome young lady. She wanted to hug everybody, she wanted to sing for everybody, she wanted to dance for everybody,” Kirkland told CNN this month. “As a result of the incident, Kaia’s been diagnosed with PTSD, with severe separation anxiety. She almost has a solitary lifestyle right now.”

Quantavious is also traumatized by what happened to him.

“After his arrest, Quantavious said he was scared when confronted by police, although they did not handcuff him.

“I started crying a little bit. They took me down there and got me out of the truck. I didn’t know what was happening. I get scared and start shaking and thinking I am going to jail,” he said.”

It’s distressing to read articles such as these in the news constantly. As Michelle Alexander writes:

“Sociologists have frequently observed that governments use punishment primarily as a tool of social control, and thus the extent or severity of punishment is often unrelated to actual crime patterns.” — The New Jim Crow.

In both these incidents, there seems to be a clear indication that what Alexander writes may be the situation with both children. What better way of controlling young Black children? Arrest them for the slightest infraction, put the fear of God in them regarding the police, and, hopefully, you will have a docile, compliant Black adult in the future.

In both instances, their experiences have traumatized Quantavious and Kaia at such a young age. But the question is, will it cause them to have a healthy respect for the police, or will it arouse the type of hate and desire to seek revenge for what they went through at such a young age?

We may never know, but there is something we should take from these unfortunate events. Events such as these are not restricted to small southern towns but happen frequently throughout the US, especially in cities with large Black populations.

“The stark and sobering reality is that, for reasons largely unrelated to actual crime trends, the American penal system has emerged as a system of social control unparalleled in world history. And while the size of the system alone might suggest that it would touch the lives of most Americans, the primary targets of its control can be defined largely by race.” — The New Jim Crow.

Youth arrest is a new form of Jim Crow without the masked riders in the middle of the night with torches — the use of the judicial system to negate any progress or potential progress of young Black children.

Arrest them for minor infractions and place them in the juvenile system, allowing them to believe their records will be sealed or expunged and never used against them if they “keep their noses clean.” Yet, when they grow up, what was supposed to be unattainable resurfaces with a tremendous impact on their ability to prosper.

Hopefully, Quantavious and Kaia will eventually be able to put their experiences with the police behind them, move forward, and have productive lives as they age. And just maybe, society will stop seeing our young Black children as potential criminals for no other reason than their skin pigmentation.

But I’m not holding my breath in either of those situations.

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