The Case Around Fla, Teen Kiera Wilmot is Part of a Bigger, More Disturbing Pattern

***Important Update***As folks read the original story I penned below I wanna give a quick update..The prosecutor behind this case Assistant State Attorney Tammy Glotfelty, has charged Kiera with two felonies, yet two days later this same prosecutor did not charge a white 13 year old boy Taylor Richardson for shooting his 10 year old brother with a bb gun.. Glotfelty said it was an accident. She spent over a month examining the case. With Kiera he didnt spend as much as a day.. You can read the entire story here  http://raniakhalek.com/2013/05/02/prosecutor-behind-kiera-wilmot-arrest-filed-no-charges-for-white-teen-who-killed-little-brother/

Straight Student Charged wit two felonies for Science Experiment Gone Wrong

Not sure if folks have heard about this story, but its disturbing and should make all of us pause and then take some major steps to bring about change.. and I mean real change.. Here’s whats been reported in the New Times out of Florida

kiera wilmot

Kiera Wilmot

Kiera Wilmot got good grades and had a perfect behavior record. She wasn’t the kind of kid you’d expect to find hauled away in handcuffs and expelled from school, but that’s exactly what happened after an attempt at a science project went horribly wrong.

On 7 a.m. on Monday, the 16 year-old mixed some common household chemicals in a small 8 oz water bottle on the grounds of Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida. The reaction caused a small explosion that caused the top to pop up and produced some smoke. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

According to WTSP, Wilmot told police that she was merely conducting a science experiment. Though her teachers knew nothing of the specific project, her principal seems to agree.

“She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone,” principal Ron Pritchard told the station. “She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked, too.”

After the explosion Wilmot was taken into custody by a school resources officer and charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. She will be tried as an adult.

You can peep the full story here http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2013/04/florida_teen_girl_charged_with.php

Brittany Rowley

Brittany Rowley

In looking at this story, I hope folks who are ready to react and kick up dust , keep a few things in mind. First, whats being described here is not unusual..Attacks  and harsh punishment like this is happening all over the country at alarming rates with young Black children and teens being the main targets by far..For example it was just a year or so ago that New York Police beat down a 15-year-old honor student named Brittany Rowley who fit the description of a shop lifter..She had done nothing of the sort.. read about that HERE

The year before that an honor student named Jordan Miles who is also an accomplished violinist who performed for First Lady Michele Obama was beaten down by police in Pittsburgh who thought he might have drugs on him. Miles was beaten so bad, his dread locks were pulled out..The cops in question were all honored and given promotions by the police chief Nate Harper who has since been charged with bribery and is looking at jail time.  Below is a video outlining the case with Jordan Miles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONPo-wslB40

With respect to Florida, we can’t separate this harsh treatment being meted out to Kiera Wilmot from the way officials have handled other cases. For example, who can forget what police in St Petersburg did several years ago with a 5-year-old who had a temper tantrum, had calmed down, but was dragged off in handcuffs anyway..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVv1rcMYZ2Y

Is Ms Paltrow real enough to help out someone like Marissa Alexander and the injustice she's recieving?

Marrissa Alexander

What we find in Florida is that there seems to be a pattern of DAs aggressively overcharging people with crimes so that they will either be charged as an adult if they are juveniles or be forced to plea bargain or face long sentences if they don’t.. Such is the case with Marissa Alexander who is currently serving 20 years after she fired off warning shots in the air to scare off an abusive husband who had a restraining order on her and was threatening to beat her while she was pregnant. You can read about that HERE

As we look at this case around Kiera Wilmot we should be looking at the role of the DA and his/her track record. Does he/she normally charge people so harshly? What sort of leeway did he/she have in charging Kiera? Was this politically motivated? We’ve seen in the past DAs who wish to run for higher office coming down hard on folks as a way to make a name for himself..

We should be examining the zero tolerance laws and seeing what sort of patterns emerge and how they are applied. We should also be looking at ways to change these laws and ways to replace the people who are selectively applying them..In short we have to look at Kiera’s case from a systemic stand point and not just as one lone case that went wrong. If we view this case in isolation we will do more harm then good..

Someone on my twitter feed reading this story about Kiera Wilmot summed it up best..this girl should be graduating and going to science camp! not funding some privateer’s jail biz -@scissorkim

written by Davey D

For folks wishing to make some noise around this..Here are some addresses and phone numbers

Bartow High School Principal Ronald Pritchard / Address: 1270 S Broadway Ave Bartow, FL 33830 / EMAIL: Ronald.Pritchard@polk-fl.net PHONE:(863)- 534-7400 Fax: (863)534-0077

Polk County Superintendent: Dr. John Stewart /Address: 1915 South Floral Avenue, Bartow, FL 33831 Phone: (863) 534-0521 Fax: (863) 519-8231 Email: Dr. John Stewart

Polk Regional Juvenile Detention Ctr

ADDRESS: 2155 Bob Phillips Road, Bartow, FL 33830

TEL: 863-534-7090
FAX: 863-534-7024
EMAIL:
pio@polksheriff.org

Comments

  1. this site is hot

  2. Sad and silly at the same time. It seems that some people have no compassion or understanding in their hearts. terrorist…Not.

  3. It’s because we continue to label ourselves “black” (or any of the other enslavement brands created by our oppressors). When we agree to that label, we agree to be subjected to the master or creator of that label.

    “Come all ye Asiatics of America and hear the truth about your nationality and birthrights, because you are not negroes. Learn of your forefathers ancient and divine Creed. That you will learn to love instead of hate” – Prophet Noble Drew Ali

    Ask any of the so called “black” leaders why they never speak about the information Noble Drew Ali brought?

    The answer is clear to those who study.

    #WiseUP

  4. This is exactly why I started the petition to get the school to drop the charges and her expulsion: http://www.change.org/petitions/polk-county-school-district-drop-charges-and-re-enroll-kiera-wilmot

  5. Anything that happens in a school now days is taken much more seriously than it used to. You can’t get into fights anymore without being arrested. You used to just get taken to the principals office but now they actually arrest you (this happened to me last year, my senior year. They charged me with assault for punching a kid just once). I’ve even heard of elementary school kids being arrested for getting in fights. It seems to me like people are just taking incidents at schools way too seriously. It also seems like Florida is a bit fucked up.

  6. Hopefully, people will step up and do what is right. I’m a former educator and am appalled at the concept of charging children as adults for ANY crime. There is a good reason why the age of majority is 18. It is an oxymoron to believe that any child can act as an adult. THEY CAN NOT!!!

  7. Such a sad situation

  8. Reblogged this on Moorbey'z Blog.

  9. fucked up

  10. Kristi says:

    She’s been charged with a felony. Let’s let that sink in for a moment. One small incident that hurt no one and didn’t even damage any property could have lifelong effects. This is ridiculous. It is reminiscent of children getting put on the sex offender registry for consensual behavior with other children. Don’t conflate the not dangerous with the dangerous

  11. Reblogged this on bodyhorror.

  12. Hi guys, I have just e-mailed pio@polksheriff.org who responsed saying that the case is nothing to do with them and you should contact the City of Bartow police

  13. Zabster says:

    White girl here, getting the word out in support of Keira Wilmot. Lots of scientist friends of mine became interested in science after mixing up household chemicals or messing around with fireworks. Prosecuting kids for this kind of thing? Way to keep kids, girls, and people of color out of science.

    I and friends of mine are reaching out to scientist friends to offer to advise her attorney on how frequently successful scientists start out doing things like this as kids. Hoping she not only will be cleared of wrong doing, but can make some contacts that will maybe lead to internships in the sciences. Let’s make some lemonade out of these lemons!

  14. Unbelievably sad and tragic…the pipeline keeps getting fatter. I hope Kiera is able to get a good lawyer and her side is heard.

  15. Wow interesting information (RED)

  16. thank you for posting this… time for action man… can’t believe this sick world we live in. but it’s reality so… we can’t keep allowing them to do this….. ughh… thank you again for posting, gonna reblog it. respect and love <3

  17. She’s so much smaller than her. Why the need for handcuffs? She’s acting as though someone has given her a drug. Why not simply call her parents?

  18. hiphopnewsmedia says:

    ikr getting too wild

  19. Reblogged this on Everyday Thoughts – on God, Social Justice, and Life and commented:
    While I’ve never been a target for discrimination by the police, I have many guy friends who have been. I think the fact that so many of these kids are a minority is definitely something to look at.

  20. Damnn, thats crazy

  21. This is absolutely ridiculous. Some may disagree, but it certainly seems as if the government is purposely trying to get rid of all African Americans by any means necessary. Starting with young people. If there are no black people to further procreate and prosper, those in the majority have the power. I’m not saying those in the majority are all racist or plain stupid, but they would still benefit from the extermination of the black race. I hate to sound doom and gloom but, this is just how I feel. I write this without anger, despair, or hatred. Just an observation.

  22. OmShanti says:

    Dana, I’m afraid you’re rather misreading the situation. The idea at large is not to “get rid of” all African-Americans – it is to create a massive class of cheap labor across multiple ethnic backgrounds (including white) that allows the wealthy business elite to turn pretty much a pure profit, while doling out just enough in crumbs to their wage-slaves to make their profits meaningful. To that end, “getting rid of” any race becomes counter-productive, as doing so reduces the pool of potential cheap laborers (or cheap cannon fodder).

    However, to that same end, it does make PERFECT sense to hyper-criminalize trivial acts committed by minors who show great courage, initiative, intelligence and/or curiosity: their great strengths become weaknesses, and through the corrupt machine the business elite have bought and called a “justice system,” the words and ideas of these kids are radicalized, marginalized – and ultimately ignored.

    Did you notice how, in all three of the last Presidential elections, the GOP attempted to take the educational qualifications of the Democratic opponents and turn them into weaknesses? “Harvard elitist” ran side-by-side with “latte-drinking liberal,” implying in the minds of those not equipped by the American public school system today to think critically that there was some kind of link between those terms, one that disconnected them from “their” reality. It worked with wild success in John Kerry’s non-election. At the same time, public schools have been systematically stripped of the creativity, originality and critical thinking skills they were supposed to teach, replaced in many districts with curricula which can be described in only one word: anti-intellectual.

    Schools do not exist to teach kids anymore: they exist to kill the mind. The media circus that surrounds any form of violence on a school campus has a direct hand in that mind-murder. It teaches fear and hate, and drives greater wedges between classes which should be allies of one another. (Howard Zinn pointed out, and made the case brilliantly in his book “A People’s History of the United States,” that racism based on skin color was instituted very deliberately in the US: why? Because it profited the rich to have the poor whites’ anger over the income inequality they dealt with redirected at the even-poorer free blacks.)

    In short, it is not a crime to be a person of color in America today – only to be intelligent, whatever your color.

  23. It’s almost time

  24. Anthony D. says:

    Stop it with the “it’s because she’s black” crap. This is happening to white and Asian and Latino students as well. It’s happening to ALL of us, and it would behoove you to stop whining like a victim and start acting on behalf of everybody. Nobody wants to hear your divisive rhetoric anymore. There’s a greater battle being fought here, and your not doing anybody any favors by saying this is because she’s black.

  25. love this!

  26. @Anthony go jeckoff u cracker…..u and your people will one day pay, karma will come for u…..

    Im a black south african, I’ve been following this story since it broke out, with white supremacist in America acting like this its no wonder why everybody wants to blow up america…..

    God be with this poor girl

  27. wow…

  28. Jareen Sherman says:

    What is important to me is the future of this child. Government has said not to reprehend our children, and when they do something that’s out of character they are so willing to throw the book at this child. America you are not raising a nation of educators, but you are raising a nation of criminals, if Christ can forgive us why is it that your heart is so cold to forgive this child. What she did was harmless as stated by the Principal of her school. You look at other nations and where the children of these nations are compare to the USA. When you put people in a way where there is no way out then you are raising a nation of criminals today is the National Day of Prayers, why don’t you fall to your knees and ask the Lord to open your hearts to reason and compassion. You in power are destroying not just our nation, but our children. They are failing in their schooling they are destrespecting their parents ,teachers and anyone that’s in authority, because you are saying that we cannot do this and do that to our children, and the moment they get out of line to your standards you want to throw them away. I will mention again, today is a day of National Prayer, and if our leaders don’t fall to their knees and come before a God who don’t throw the book at you what you reap you shall sow. None of us is above God none of us have lived short of the glory of a loving God, but for those who are in authority you are abusing your authority. Let now your hearts be harden for as long as we are not dead we all have not over come what may be ahead of us. This child is our child as well as she’s the child of a Nation that say’s we are free, and when we are not free from love and understanding and compassion, but so swift to condem and be judged just because those who are in authority are so swift to lock us up and throw away the key. In your hearts you know that this child did no harm, but just because you have the authority to take someones life and lead it down the path to destruction you are doing so. In conclusion, God don’t sleep and neither will He die He’s our creator we are not His, so take a moment to not throw stones for all of us are sinners and all of us have not live short of His glory. Until our Nation will come back to where this country was built we will continue to have pain and suffering. America is God’s country, people from all over the world grace her shores, and because of this and the gifts that other’s bring to this country makes it so great. Don’t destroy this child’s life don’t allow her dreams to die not only Kiera Wilmot someone’s child she’s America’s child, and a child of a loving and forgiving God.

  29. If this girl is as good of a student as she is described to be, and no teachers assigned a “science experiment” why was she mixing household chemicals that she was aware were used to make household bombs in school property? In the wake of the marathon bombing I am personally concerned by this girls curiosity in bomb making. If one of the bombers had been in a situation similar to this incident in high school, and lawmakers did nothing, there would be outrage right now. Could this girl be an innocent victim. Sure. But in the wake of recent events, how else should lawmakers deal with a girl who basically detonated a bomb on school property? If this was an “experiment”, why didnt she ask for assistance from a teacher and conduct the experiment inside a controlled environment with adequate safety gear nearby? My assumption is that she knew what she was doing was wrong or at least walking the line, didnt know the actual explosive capability of the device she created, and got caught with what turned out to be an illegal act. I’m glad no one got hurt, but that’s not an excuse to excuse illegal activity. If that were the case we should let DUI offenders off the hook because the police pulled them over prior to them getting into an accident.

    • OmShanti says:

      There’s a lot of adults out there who don’t know that mixing Clorox and Windex creates a poisonous gas, and then they go and clean their homes with… Clorox and Windex. It’s a hell of a condemnatory leap to go from “curious science student” to “obsessed with bomb-making.” Whatever it was she was mixing, she learned never to do it again. Maybe you’ll learn that a science project doesn’t automatically mean nefarious intent.

  30. Thinking American says:

    AubreyMoeketsi, very sad to see that you think this is white supremacy at work in America. Unfortunately, you have no evidence to support this. Nobody is condemning her for being black. The fact is that these same things are happening to white kids too. And Latinos, and Asians. The racial factor no doubt added into the reason why this made (inter)national news, but the fact remains that neither she nor any other kid is being punished for the color of their skin. They are being punished for being creative, intelligent and courageous – in short, for being kids in a hyper-paranoid society.

  31. Is there anything else that can be done, like donations to the family to defer legal expenses, writing letters of support to Kiera or her family – showing love, encouragement and support? Perhaps using these Social Networks to also help bring some noise. Don’t get me wrong I am all for the petition, I signed it myself, but surely there is something more we can do. I mean if people can crowd-source a comic book or making a canceled TV show into a movie, couldn’t we “crowd source” something to help this young lady? If anyone knows of anything, please feel free to contact me directly, I’m all for it.

  32. Violet says:

    Florida was the first state to start high stakes testing in 1998 and Florida incarcerated children at a rate 50% higher than the national average. Florida lead the nation by a landslide in the number of children in prison for life. This DOES happen all the time, disproportionately to African-American children but for some reason, this story caught the attention of every one. Maybe it is her sweet face or maybe we all know we did something similar, or our brother did, or our kids will. But I have hope that this story will help change the tide.

  33. Kirsten l. Thompson says:

    Sadly, there IS NO JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER in Polk County! That’ s right, Kiera is being charged as an adulty and held in an ADULT FACILITY!! Additionally, I have received confirmation from Carrie at the Polk County Sheriff Dept that they were not involve in the arrest and supposed investigation of this case. Everything was (mis)hadled by the Bartow Police Department. In the link to the petition below, you will find that the Chief of Police, State Attorney, Prosecuting Attorney, Polk County Superintendent, and Bartow High School Principal have all been named and petitioned. Take a moment out of your day to stand up for this young girl’s rights!! READ, SIGN, and SHARE via Facebook and Twitter! Thank you
    http://www.change.org/petitions/joe-hall-bartow-police-chief-tammy-glofelty-state-pa-drop-felony-charges-and-release-kiera-wilmot?utm_campaign=friend_inviter_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=permissions_dialog_false

  34. Clif Soulo the same can be said of Hispanics who continue to use that whitey imposed term!

  35. God, I am so tired of pseudo-philosophical nonsense and victim blaming. To Clif Soulo (and others who agree) consider this to be your official, no BS reality check: hegemony doesn’t care what you call yourself. If your goal is really to help black people, not be an internet troll, understand this: hegemonic control and apparatuses are systemic and don’t suddenly, or even gradually disappear depending on what we decide to call ourselves. Race may be an artificial construct, but was created, and is primarily reinforced today not by the actions of those who are deprived social privilege and first class citizenry, but by social and economic directives created by a hegemonic society which identifies and punishes (or rewards) people based upon easily identifiable physical characteristics, like skin color. I understand that a lot of people suffer from Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, but instead of blaming people of color themselves for systemically poor treatment by getting into a hair splitting discourse over the terms they use for themselves, we should be encouraging people of color to become politically active. We should be bombarding local government with letters, calls, emails, announcements, confrontations, and protests, storming committee meetings and public hearings, and suing the hell out of these offenders to the degree that we become such a thorn in the side of these small government administrators and their system that they’re forced to think twice before shoving another one of our bright and good young people into their prison institution. Stop allowing yourselves to behave like a seasoned battered wife who thinks that if she cooks the right dinner or says the right thing to her abuser, somehow he’ll stop. That is complete nonsense and your adherence to this philosophy is incredibly damaging to the already damaged psyche of our people. This system doesn’t give a damn about what you call yourself, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome sufferer, because regardless of your self-labels, it already knows how to identify you easily and it has from the very beginning. Just like every other social revolution, this system will change when you hold THEM, your oppressors, accountable for their deeds.

  36. Tammi L. Coles says:

    Facebook: For the Love of Science & Curiosity, We Support Kiera Wilmot https://www.facebook.com/supportkierawilmot

  37. t griswold says:

    I believe that the government is encouraging ridiculous behavior like this, between our government officials and the media we have all been terrorized by sooo many issues, it is a shame and this is not a black vs white, white vs black issue, this is a bunch of stupid people who have no common sense, “divide and conquer” seems to be the strategy, poor vs rich, rich vs poor, black vs white, white vs black, democrats vs republicans, republicans vs democrats, religions vs other religions, gays vs antigay, pro-choice vs pro life, the lists go on and on and on. I am on the side of common sense and people loving and caring for people, all the rest is bull crap! Obviously these people, who are doing this to this young girl have NO Common Sense, don’t they have anything better to do????

  38. This response to a failed science project is disappointing. This over-reaction now labels this honor student a criminal! What is America becoming, a country unsure of itself over-flowing with distrust, turmoil and anarchy? As Osama Binladen said, after the attack on the NYC World Trade Centers, “America is no longer the same”. In a sense he probably was right. We, Americans, are now attacking and bullying our fellow citizens, we are over-reacting to silliness, and we have gone stupid. Seems to me, Osama Binladen has accomplished more than he expected – An America turning against itself.

  39. Reblogged this on .

  40. Before we start sending hate mail, let’s not forget that Principal Pritchard defended her.

  41. We could be destroying a brilliant future scientist…

  42. private for profit prisons need to keep up their populations. so it ‘pays’ to start early w/non-crimes and an established ‘rap sheet’. what on earth would the cops have to do if it weren’t for people of color & the poor? no one else would stand for this. same reason you don’t have white people being gunned down by the cops. people would not stand for it. things need to change.

  43. Hope her parents hire Parks & Crump in Tallahassee. These are attorneys working with Trayvon Martin’s family.

  44. Overreaction as a point of principle. And young lives trashed by overzealous law enforcement officials afraid to use their own judgement.

  45. Holly Mcgown says:

    This is clearly disgusting… THIS GIRL BROKE THE RULES WHY ARE WE CATERING TO HER AND HER FAMILY!!!!!!! black white Hispanic… doesn’t matter… you broke the rules on school grounds!!!!! Why because of race should we allow you to have a works bomb on campus?????? How many YouTube videos show the result???? I have seen hundreds of videos over the years and have not needed to do it myself… it is just appauling that everyone’s so mad that she broke the rules and was punished! Yeah a bit harshly with the charges but still she broke the rules and was expelled!!! Pull your heads out of your rears and see the facts.

  46. If more people thought of other people AS PEOPLE, none of this sort of bullshit would happen.

    I get so tired of hearing idiotic “side-taking” discussions, when the reality is that we are ALL under threat from OUR EMPLOYEES, and we continually refuse to even admit that there’s a problem that NEEDS to be dealt with.

    I guess it’s going to take outright, obvious, and public mass murders by YOUR EMPLOYEES before people wake up. Of course, if people haven’t clued into reality yet, given the events of the past few decades alone, they probably never will, so humanity may well already be a lost cause.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] D posted the following contact information for people to call, write to and yell at over the unfair […]

  2. […] Davey D and feministing.org have in depth articles that place this ridiculousness in the context of other recent abuses by the police and local governments when it comes to doling out punishment for black and brown youth. […]

  3. […]  While the focus isn’t on Zero Tolerance abuses per se, fellow WordPress Blogger Davey D wrote an interesting assessment of the Kiera Wilmot situation compared with other cases involving uneven punishment of […]

  4. […] The Case Around Fla, Teen Kiera Wilmot is Part of a Bigger, More Disturbing Pattern […]

  5. […] described here is not unusual..Attacks  and harsh punishment like this is happening all over the country at alarming rates with young Black children and teens being the main targets by far..For example it […]

  6. […] While rape culture certainly poses a great challenge to my generation it is not the only one; nor is it the only issue where I remain hopeful we approach a tipping point. Last year the country’s outrage was responsible for George Zimmerman finally being charged in the murder of Trayvon Martin. While we can certainly find solace in that we must remember Oscar Grants murderer only served two years, and Marissa Alexander remains in prison. Any sort of optimism must also be tempered with the events of the last couple weeks: Assata Shakur’s addition to the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists list and Kierra Wilmot being expelled from school. […]

  7. […] a young person, then we should do that. And in this case its hard to even find a harm at all. Yet, as journalist Davey D. points out, the out of control school district and police response is far from unusual but rather part of long […]

  8. […] when you have judges like Edith Jones who would likely send a black female honor student like Kiera Wilmot to prison for a science experiment. Plus, you got the news emerging with Knockout Game shock […]

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