There are so many examples of African-Americans being treated poorly in our society, by government, by the business world, by any group in a position of authority, that it’s easy to sometimes become numb to it.
But this story, wow, did this story enrage me. ProPublica, the fantastic investigative journalism company, published a story a few days ago that made my blood boil. It’s about a county in Tennessee, Rutherford County, and a judge, Donna Scott Davenport, who oversees a juvenile justice system with a staggering history of jailing small children (yes, you read that right.) Sometimes kids are locked up for crimes that don’t exist.
Davenport says kids must face consequences, which rarely seem to apply to her or other adults.
Under Davenport, Rutherford County locked up a staggering 48% of children whose cases were referred to juvenile court. The statewide average was 5%.
Here’s the excellent lede of this ProPublica story:
“Three police officers were crowded into the assistant principal’s office at Hobgood Elementary School, and Tammy Garrett, the school’s principal, had no idea what to do. One officer, wearing a tactical vest, was telling her: Go get the kids. A second officer was telling her: Don’t go get the kids. The third officer wasn’t saying anything.
Garrett knew the police had been sent to arrest some children, although exactly which children, it would turn out, was unclear to everyone, even to these officers. The names police had given the principal included four girls, now sitting in classrooms throughout the school. All four girls were Black. There was a sixth grader, two fourth graders and a third grader. The youngest was 8. On this sunny Friday afternoon in spring, she wore her hair in pigtails.
A few weeks before, a video had appeared on YouTube. It showed two small boys, 5 and 6 years old, throwing feeble punches at a larger boy as he walked away, while other kids tagged along, some yelling. The scuffle took place off school grounds, after a game of pickup basketball. One kid insulted another kid’s mother, is what started it all.
The police were at Hobgood because of that video. But they hadn’t come for the boys who threw punches. They were here for the children who looked on. The police in Murfreesboro, a fast-growing city about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, had secured juvenile petitions for 10 children in all who were accused of failing to stop the fight. Officers were now rounding up kids, even though the department couldn’t identify a single one in the video, which was posted with a filter that made faces fuzzy. What was clear were the voices, including that of one girl trying to break up the fight, saying: “Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay.” She was a fourth grader at Hobgood. Her initials were E.J.”
The whole story is just amazing to read, how one judge could get away with so much.
**Next up today, you may remember one of the last great sporting moments before the pandemic was heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury (which is, let’s face it, a PHENOMENAL name for a boxing champion) defeating rival Deontay Wilder and then, because why not, belting out a damn good rendition of “American Pie” to the crowd in the arena.
Well, Fury and Wilder fought another thriller Saturday night, Fury won again, and gosh dang it I love this fella, he decided to croon yet again.
This time it was his own take on the Marc Cohn classic “Walking in Memphis,” with the words changed slightly because Fury was in Las Vegas for the fight.
I honestly don’t know why Fury hasn’t gotten into a recording studio and cut an album. He can REALLY sing!
I love this guy.
**And finally today, it was another nutso day in the NFL, where nothing was predictable except the Giants and Jets both crashing back to Earth with bad, bad losses. My Jets, let’s face it, are not improving, and the offense looked hopeless in the first half once again.
But there was so much good other stuff in the NFL Sunday, including…
— What a wild, crazy pair of games in Cincinnati and Los Angeles Sunday. First in Hollywood, the Chargers and Browns played a game where the defenses took the day off, as Baker Mayfield and Co. traded blows with Justin Herbert and the Chargers all game, going back and forth scoring touchdowns.
The fourth quarter was bananas, with 41 total points scored just in that frame alone! The Chargers won, 47-42, and wow do they look like a dangerous team this year. The Browns, so explosive, but that defense needs some work.
— And in Cincinnati, Packers kicker Mason Crosby, who’s usually one of the top 2-3 at his position, and had made 25 in a row this season, missed 3 field goal tries in regulation and overtime before converting in OT. The Bengals kicker, Evan McPherson, missed two FG’s in the fourth quarter and overtime as well. For the love of God, can someone get Adam Vinatieri out of retirement?
— Tom Brady threw five touchdown passes Sunday. Tom Brady is 44 years old. Just ridiculous.
— The Detroit Lions, I mean, yeah. God hates them. I think my Jets are cursed, and they are, but the Lions, they’ve got it worse. For the second time in the last three weeks, the men from Michigan looked to have a game won, only to see the opponent kick a crazy-long field goal in the final seconds.
Sunday the Lions scored a touchdown with :37 left, to get within 16-15 of the Vikings, and then coach Matt Campbell, bless him, decided, what the hell we’re 0-4, let’s go for the win, and went for two and got it, so they were up 17-16.
Then the Vikings came down and drilled a 54-yard field goal as time expired to win. The Lions are the first team in NFL history to lose on a GW FG of 50+ yards with no time left on the clock twice in a single season.
I mean… what did they do to anger God? Waste Barry Sanders’ prime?
— Finally, the Buffalo Bills laid a whupping on the Chiefs Sunday night, 38-20, and Kansas City looked nothing like its former self. They also lost two key offensive players to injury, their defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed (thank you, Bart Scott) and the Bills look very much like a Super Bowl favorite.
Remember when everyone said the Chiefs couldn’t be stopped? Nothing lasts too long in the NFL.