Monday, April 13, 2009

Mississippi: Lawsuit Against Police Assault & Arrest of Black Schoolchildren

(Image thanks to mikeely.wordpress)

The ACLU filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the DeSoto County school officials and the South Haven Mississippi Police for assaulting, arresting and racially targeting school children that were riding on a school bus. The police had gotten involved after three middle school children, 2 black and 1 white student, got into an argument. When the 2 police officers arrived, they arrested 6 students and physically harassed 1 girl, all of whom were black. They also went way above the call of duty by threatening the 30 schoolchildren on the bus by saying: "Wait until you get a bullet between the eye." All of this was caught on tape. Want more specifics? Click on Read More.

This event took place August 12th, 2008, when the bus monitor, Mary Robbins, and driver, Belinda Heyman, thought it necessary to call the police over a verbal argument between 3 students. When the two police officers, Tomas Aguilar (Police Sergeant) and Lee Holiday, arrived they began their physical and verbal assault against the students. Holiday arrested two of the three students responsible for the argument, both of whom were black and said to one of the girls arrested that he was going to take her "little ass down to juvenile hall." The other student, who was white, was not arrested or even reprimanded by the school.

Police Sergeant Aguilar boarded the bus after Holiday had left and started saying statements such as, "You think this is funny?" and "Who wants to try me?" These remarks made some of the students smile and laugh, probably out of nervousness or because such an event was foreign to them, but that apparently was unacceptable to Aguilar who then arrested 3 more students, again who were black. Soonafter, I assume just for shits and giggles, he decided to arrest another girl, black as well, who had done absolutely nothing against the law. When she said she was going to call her mom, he turned up the crazy. He grabbed her neck, pushed her in an empty seat and used his weight to keep her down. He then proceeded to scream in her face saying, "You don't talk to me like that. You don't talk to me like that. Do you understand?"

Aguilar wasn't done though. After arresting the girl, he put his hand on his gun and told the remaining students that "Y'all think this is funny? Y'all think this is funny? Wait until you get a bullet between the eyes."

All of what happened was completely unnecessary and nonsensical. These were middle school students who got into an argument; police force wasn't needed in the first place. These protect-and-serve officers verbally and physically harassed schoolchildren and wholly discriminated against black students. I'm glad that the ACLU has filed a lawsuit; however, I have little faith that these police officers are going to get a little more than a slap on the wrist.

(Courtesy of

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