It is no secret that the relationship between Black people and police departments across the country is strained at best. However, the Richmond Police Department saw this rift deepen firsthand when one of their officers, who the force has chosen not to identify other than the fact that he is white, told a group of Black students on their way to an after-school program to “Wait until your asses turn 18, then you’re mine”.
This incident was captured by cellphone on March 28 at Albert Hill Middle School by 13-year-old student Cameron Hillard. According to Hillard, the incident was prompted by someone saying “f— the police”, but it was not her or anyone in the group. The officer attributed the outburst to the group, telling them all to “man up”. When there was no reply, he then stated: “Wait until your asses turn 18, then you’re mine”, before driving away,
The clip was subsequently shared on Facebook and has gone on to rack up more than 50,000 views, prompting the Richmond Police Department to launch an internal investigation, order the officer in question to undergo remedial training and “be reassigned to another area of the city to ensure there is no appearance of bias or retaliation within the community”. Interim Police Chief William C. Smith apologized to the citizens of Richmond in a statement this past week that asserted that the officer’s actions “do not reflect the values, training, or policies of the department”.
Of course, this is contrary to Hillard’s mother, Keisha Curry, and her experiences with the Richmond Police Department while growing up, which she addressed in a separate YouTube video:
“Being that I was brought up and raised in Hillside Court and the Highland Park area, I found that officers acted like that on a regular basis”.
Curry is also still objecting to the department’s refusal to release the officer’s name, stressing that while she doesn’t want him fired based on this singular encounter, delaying the release of his name denies others in the community the opportunity to come forward if they have indeed been abused by him before. She has also stated she is willing to meet with the officer.