Advocates Urge Attention To Women’s Mistreatment In Justice System


It’s not just black men who are having difficulties with police officers, reports the Associated Press. Black women are having a tough time, too, including the high school student who was slammed to the floor in a South Carolina classroom and the death of Sandra Bland in a Texas jail cell. Videos showing black women manhandled by police are bringing problems to the forefront at a time when the public has focused largely on the relationship between black men and law enforcement. Civil rights groups and organizations representing women say closer attention is needed to the problems of women. “We cannot continue to wait for something to show up on a video to ask for change,” said Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Last week, South Carolina deputy sheriff Ben Fields was fired after flipping a black girl out of her desk and tossing her across the floor for disrupting a high school math class. The FBI is investigating whether the student’s civil rights were violated.

A recent report by the African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectional and Social Policy Studies said black girls were suspended from school six times as often as their white counterparts. Also, 12 percent of black girls were subjected to exclusionary suspensions, compared with 2 percent of white females. The Bureau of Justice Statistics says 50 percent of U.S. female prisoners are white and 21 percent is black, and black females are between 1.6 times and 4.1 times more likely to be imprisoned than white females. “We are seeing … more cases where black girls and women are being subjected to abuse and over enforcement. We must start placing more attention on the plight of females in the criminal justice system,” said Elsie Scott of the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center at Howard University.

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