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A Tennessee police chief 'sorry' about the arrests of 10 Blk kids as young as 6 over watchin a fight

stringer bellstringer bell Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2016/04/23/murfreesboro-police-chief-saddened-and-sorry-child-arrests/83406904/'
Murfreesboro police chief 'saddened' and 'sorry' about child arrests

In a public outcry, the community sought two specific actions in response to the April 15 arrests of 10 Murfreesboro elementary school students: an investigation and an apology.

They now have both.

"I am so saddened, and I'm so sorry this incident happened," Murfreesboro Police Chief Karl Durr said, "because I truly think it could have been avoided."

In an exclusive interview with The Tennessean, Durr expressed his concern over the outcomes in a case that has garnered attention nationwide and put a spotlight on police-community relations. The matter is before the Juvenile Court of Rutherford County. There are no plans to dismiss the charges at this point.


Durr reiterated that his department is now conducting an internal review of the arrest incident with three goals: 1) to determine if there are policies that have been violated by the department or if there is policy that is lacking, 2) to determine what training may need to be done as a result of what occurred, and 3) to determine if there has been any department misconduct in this case.

Durr said this is an opportunity to review the department's handcuffing policy, which right now simply states an officer should "take into consideration" whether to handcuff a child under age 12. It also gives him a chance to work with community and school officials to develop guidelines for in-school arrests. In the future, he would like to see officers handle situations like this differently, not taking children out of school because it traumatizes both the child and his or her peers. Instead, he would like his officers to focus on community policing principles that respect and engage parents in the behavior of the child and how it can be fixed.

Durr was first notified of the case on April 15, the day police arrested 10 children ranging in age from 6 up to 12 years old at Hobgood Elementary School.

"I want to believe what happened here was an anomaly, because of the good work that I see," Durr said of the other interactions his department has with the community every day. "Errors were made, and now we are going to correct them moving forward and fix them so they are not repeated."

The police department initiated the review process on Monday. Six members of the department not involved in the juvenile arrests case — two from the detective division and four from the patrol division — are conducting the review. Durr received his first briefing Thursday and his second late the next day. He expects a draft of the review by Friday and plans to share what he is legally allowed to with the public. If there are findings of misconduct, the disciplinary process could take up to six months.

Durr was first notified of the case on April 15, the day police arrested 10 children ranging in age from 6 up to 12 years old at Hobgood Elementary School and other locations, handcuffing some and transporting them to the juvenile detention center.
Durr started the job as Murfreesboro police chief on April 4 and had been with the department less than two weeks when he learned of the arrests.

His office was told that the arrests were in connection to a bullying and assault incident that happened days earlier off campus. At least one of the individuals involved in the bullying case is involved in a larger criminal case, Durr said, which served as the impetus for "looking at the seriousness of this incident."

"Remember there was a victim here too, so if my officer didn’t do their job that day, and we ignored the victim, what would this conversation be today?," Durr asked. "That we failed to do our job."

A video was taken of the off-campus incident. It was brought to the attention of a School Safety and Education Officer and later obtained by police. The school safety and education officer conducted an investigation and took the information to the district attorney's office. It was then brought to the judicial commissioner.

The arresting officer for at least three of the 10 children taken into police custody is listed on arrest records as School Safety Education Officer Chrystal Templeton. The paperwork provided by father Zacchaeus Crawford for three of his children shows Judicial Commissioner Amy Anderson signed the petitions, or juvenile warrants, for the Crawford children’s arrest.

After the petition was signed, a plan was developed that included going to Hobgood Elementary School and other locations to pick up the children. Durr does not know, at this time, who developed the plan and which department supervisors were made aware of it.

"These are things we need to find out," he said.

Some of the children were handcuffed, Durr does not know how many, and transported to juvenile detention. The two children who allegedly committed the assault were not charged with the crime because of their young age, Durr said. Arrest records show the children alleged to have witnessed the fight were charged with "criminal responsibility for conduct of another," which according to Tennessee criminal offense code includes incidents when a "person fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent" an offense. The offense was assault.

At some point after the children were transported to the juvenile detention center, parents were notified. Durr said the information he has at this time does not suggest his department violated any Tennessee law in the way parental notifications were handled.

"Just because you’re not in violation of the law doesn’t mean that’s the practice you should have," Durr said.





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“Every generation has its own evil. But our evil is a different kind of evil — our systems are evil.” - Rev. Nicholas Richards
Chi SnowDupac

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  • stringer bellstringer bell Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The following day, Durr received several phone calls alerting him to the Facebook post made by the Rev. James McCarroll, pastor of First Baptist Church on East Castle Street in Murfreesboro, about the "major concern going on in our city now." [/b]At that point, Durr drove to the station and "started getting as much information as I could about it." He reached McCarroll about 4 p.m., and they met one-on-one that Saturday.

    The next afternoon — two days after the children's arrest — more than 150 people gathered at First Baptist Church to discuss the incident. Durr attended and spoke to the crowd. When he left, "the gravity of the situation felt deeper."

    As the father of two boys, ages 7 and 12, he could not imagine how it would feel to have one of his sons handcuffed.

    On Monday, Durr initiated the internal department review.

    Over the past week, the public's disquiet and disapproval continued on a state-wide and national level.

    "We find the arrests very disconcerting," said Staci Higdon, whose daughter attends second grade at Hobgood Elementary. Higdon's daughter was not arrested and did not witness the arrests, but she was still scared to go to school once she understood what had happened.

    "There’s a great concern for the children that were involved. What kind of scarring effects this might have on the children. What later implications it may have on the children putting them through the criminal justice system.

    "It stigmatizes the school and the administration, and it also stigmatizes the community. The police say that we do not know the whole story, and I have tried to imagine what the story would be that would justify them coming into the school and handcuffing them and arresting them — it’s just not possible."

    The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators on Thursday joined a growing list of those questioning the arrest of the 10 children. Caucus Chair Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, reiterated the call by two Nashville Democrats to ask for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate the arrest. She also asked for the judicial system to ensure the records of the children arrested to be wiped clean.

    "We need to make sure that this never happens again in the State of Tennessee," House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart said in a news release.

    "The Murfreesboro police chief reportedly described the handcuffing of children as young as six as a ‘learning experience.’ That shows that he completely misapprehends the seriousness of this incident of excessive force against young children. Clearly he is not capable of properly investigating this matter or holding all those responsible for their actions.”

    When asked to respond to Stewart's comment, Durr said he felt the "learning experience" statement had been taken out of context and portrayed as apathy. That is not the case, he said: "I take this very seriously. I am deeply concerned with what happened." He reiterated that this experience can inform policy and procedure change.

    "We all learn from experiences — most of us learn through failures," he said. "We have got to move forward as an agency and move forward with the community."


    McCarroll, the church leader who brought the community together Sunday in response to these arrests, has expressed faith in the chief and believes Durr has been given the "opportunity of a lifetime," to handle the response to these events in a way that will forge good relationships for the rest of his tenure here.

    "If we handle this properly it can really reset the expectations and the understanding of the community toward the police department in a very positive way."

    Durr acknowledges it will take time to regain the trust of the community. He has not yet apologized directly to the parents or children involved, but he plans to.

    "There will come a time and a place where I can apologize to them," he said.

    He added: "But we’re also going to have to be transparent and accountable for what’s occurred, and I am going to have to take responsibility for any wrong that’s happened and acknowledge it and fix it," Durr said. "That means the changing of policies and practices.

    "I'm sorry for what happened," Durr said. "And the pain that it has caused this community throughout."
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    “Every generation has its own evil. But our evil is a different kind of evil — our systems are evil.” - Rev. Nicholas Richards
  • stringer bellstringer bell Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/26/us/childrens-arrests-in-bullying-case-distress-tennessee-city.html?_r=0
    Children’s Arrests in Bullying Case Distress Tennessee City


    The cellphone video is nearly two minutes long and digitally altered to blur the identity of the children. But what it shows is clear: The children are taunting and pushing a boy on a street, egging one another on with cries of “Get him!” and “Slam him!”

    The video, posted in March on YouTube, led to the arrests this month of up to 10 children in Murfreesboro, Tenn., who are accused of taking part. But the roundup of such young children — all are under 12, and at least one was handcuffed, a parent said — has shaken almost every sector of the city and state, from the legislature to the churches, and prompted an internal investigation by the new police chief.

    The school district has gone on the defensive, saying that only the arrests, not the fight, happened on the grounds of Hobgood Elementary School in Murfreesboro, a city of about 100,000 people that lies 35 miles south of Nashville.

    “The authority of the school is superseded when law enforcement or the Department of Children Services become involved,” said Lisa L. Trail, a district spokeswoman.

    State lawmakers have called for a Justice Department inquiry. “There are no circumstances under which a child should be arrested, especially when there is no rational safety justification or threat to public safety,” said Representative John Ray Clemmons, Democrat of Nashville.


    The police chief, Karl Durr, released a statement shortly after the arrests on April 15 saying that he had ordered an internal review of the department’s policies and would “correct any deficiencies” in the way it handles juvenile cases.

    Two days after the arrests, local church leaders and parents gathered in a town-hall-style meeting at the city’s First Baptist Church to urge the authorities to drop the charges, described as “criminally responsible for the conduct of another.” They questioned how children that age could be required by law to intervene to stop a fight. The parents said some of the children were mere witnesses to the episode and had been swept up by the police.

    A Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Kyle Evans, said in response to several requests for comment that he was prohibited by state law from discussing any aspect of a juvenile case and was unable to provide details about the location of the brawl, the number and ages of the pupils arrested, the reports of their handcuffing and the current police procedure. There was no information about the person who had digitally altered the video or about the person who recorded or posted it.

    But interviews with parents of three of the children, and remarks from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, which is investigating the episode, raised questions about the conduct of the police and their handling of juvenile students.

    Other high-profile cases have recently occurred at schools in Texas and in South Carolina.

    “It is wholly unacceptable to haul children away from school in handcuffs for a charge that does not actually exist,” Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the A.C.L.U. in Tennessee, said in an email. “The growing trend of criminalizing students — particularly students of color — within our educational system must stop.”

    The A.C.L.U. said the charge of criminal responsibility for the conduct of another could be used only when there was an accompanying criminal charge that a person is accused of facilitating.

    The A.C.L.U. said it was aware of at least 10 children who were arrested in the Murfreesboro case.

    Zacchaeus and LaVonia Crawford, who identified themselves as the parents of three of them, said in interviews that a day before the arrests, a police officer went to their home and asked whether they knew anything about the boy who was pushed and hit in the video, and showed them a screen shot. During the visit, they said, the officer also asked for their children’s names.

    “They came across some evidence that he might have been harmed,” Ms. Crawford said. “My being a mother, I tried to tell her, as well as my children tried, to identify the boy.” She said she and her children provided their own names, told the officer where they thought the boy lived, and the officer left.

    The next day, the Crawfords were told by the principal and a police officer that their 10-year-old daughter had been arrested and was being taken to the county juvenile center. The officer said that a warrant had been signed and that their 9-year-old son was also named on it.

    When the parents arrived at the center, taking their son, they discovered that their 11-year-old daughter was there, as well. She had been taken out of class and handcuffed, Mr. Crawford said.

    “We did not get the official reason of why they were being detained until we went to the juvenile detention location,” he said.

    The parents said they were not allowed in the room with their children during questioning. After about three hours, the three children were released with papers charging them with criminal responsibility for conduct of another. They were told to appear in court on June 28.

    Ms. Crawford said she learned at the community meeting that another girl had also been handcuffed.

    “We have built our lives trying not to get in trouble,” Mr. Crawford, a Verizon technician, said. “We don’t drink, don’t do drugs. We have lived and tried to live as blasé as possible, never trying to do more than we need to do, and we raise our kids to be model citizens so they don’t get in trouble.”

    “It is disheartening to us that our kids have to go through this,” he said.

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    “Every generation has its own evil. But our evil is a different kind of evil — our systems are evil.” - Rev. Nicholas Richards
  • thulsadoomthulsadoom do 10 pushups everytime you read my post... you know you want too. Posts: 61,609 Regulator
    The real quesrion is does the district have a zero tolerance stance on violence.

    If so, then breaking up the fight would have been in violation of the policy.

    They can run and tell.

    But to expect them to do anything beyond that is absurd.

    if i were an FBI Agent tasked with monitoring a forum, I'd post random pictures and watch the reactions of the people.
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    Você é um otário. Zé buceta. Vai tomar no meio do seu cu. Filho da puta. Arrombado
    King Of The Onomatopoeia
  • ChillaDaGawdChillaDaGawd Light it......smoke it......snort it HashtownPosts: 12,021 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This country is ridiculous
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    stringer bellJusDre313Young Stefvitoria
  • Kwan DaiKwan Dai Posts: 6,929 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think the real question is, when will Black kids get the chance to just be fucking kids without someone or a system demonizing for doing what kids do. Make silly decisions and do silly shit. The fact that these devils still believe the only way to communicate with Blacks of any age is a show of force is what the over arching issue is.
    stringer bellTrillfateJusDre313Young Stef
  • TrillfateTrillfate "i used to like the Ride more now i like the Race...i used like the Prize more now i like the Chase" Posts: 24,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What, is the chief black or something? It seems like he actually gives a fuck. He's embarrassed
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  • stringer bellstringer bell Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Trillfate wrote: »
    What, is the chief black or something? It seems like he actually gives a fuck. He's embarrassed

    Saltine...
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    “Every generation has its own evil. But our evil is a different kind of evil — our systems are evil.” - Rev. Nicholas Richards
  • the dukesterthe dukester Posts: 1,822 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Multiple studies have confirmed that white people look at young black boys as much older than they really are (see Rice, Tamir).

    http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/03/black-boys-older.aspx

    That's one of the reasons shit like this happens. This perception stems from slavery when we were viewed as chattel, or non-human. It takes time for these perceptions to wear off. Especially when it's in the best interest of white people to believe that bullshit, because it helps them rationalize their unfair treatment of us.

    I really despise these puffed up horseshit, fake apologies these pigs give after humiliating us. We have an entire generation of young black boys who will grow up hating the police.

    As the great rapper Mellie Mel once said, "You'll grow up in the ghetto living second rate and your eyes will sing a song of deep HATE.

    Swiffness!CEOFABRIC
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