An officer in Orange, New Jersey, was caught on video roughing up two girls outside a high school, tossing one of them by her hair, and also ticketing a school board member who tried to de-escalate the situation.
Officer Hanifah Davis was “relieved of duty” (that is, suspended), but city officials insist they haven’t decided whether he’ll be paid while on suspension or not (which means that he likely will be, and that the poverty-stricken city is seeking to avoid the bad publicity paying a toxic cop not to work could yield).
This was not Davis’ first controversy. Though he’s been on the job just three and a half months, he’s already under investigation for an incident where he brandished his service weapon while trying to break up a crowd allegedly loitering and gambling. That investigation is still ongoing.
Ideally, departments could terminate officers who reveal themselves to be problem cops before they get too violent. A zero tolerance policy for police misconduct could get cops off the force before they’re involved in major controversies.
Students organized a walkout Friday to protest the incident, chanting, “We want justice.” The students should protest their school administrators too, for systematically relying on law enforcement for discipline.
Orange is a town of 30,000 with a per capita income of $20,000. The salary for principals in the area starts at more than $100,000. It should not be too much to expect that such school professionals should be able to keep order on school grounds without uniformed police officers. If they are unable to do that, they should step aside for someone who is.
Introducing police officers into schools isn’t a solution to discipline; it’s an abrogation of responsibility. In recent years especially, administrators have tended to seek out blanket policies they can defer to rather than making the informed decisions they ought to be expected to make as professionals.
The girls manhandled by Davis participated in the walkout. They say they’d like to see the cop fired and jailed. With the job protections enjoyed by most cops in New Jersey, that’s unlikely to happen. But perhaps they could convince administrators to keep cops out of schools rather than inviting them in.
Watch footage of the altercation in the segment below: