***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 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
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.
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..
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