Reform This: Alabama Police Arrest Black Girl ‘Burning Incense’ At Parade

In the most recent occasion that police reform is sorely wanted on this nation, cops in Alabama mentioned they arrested a Black girl just because she was “burning incense” and “doing loud chanting” throughout a Christmas parade held in public final week.

Kimberly Griggs instructed she had merely caught the holy spirit on the occasion, however native cops declare she was scaring folks together with her decidedly nonviolent conduct on the annual vacation gathering in Headland, a small city in southeast Alabama with an estimated inhabitants of fewer than 5,000 folks.

“Going round burning incense, doing loud chanting,” Headland Police Chief Mark Jones informed native information outlet WDHN. “Then they went round and put the incense in folks’s faces. Patrons on the sq. have been attempting to benefit from the actions occurring and he or she was harassing them by burning the incense of their faces.”

Jones mentioned Griggs was disturbing the peace. Nonetheless, WDHN did not document any feedback from parade attendees claiming they have been harassed.

Jones mentioned with none proof that Griggs was “harassing different folks and making others really feel unsafe.” Once more, nobody else made that very same declare within the tiny city the place absolutely different residents took discover of the arrest and all the pieces that led as much as it.

On the floor, it gave the impression to be a random judgment name by the police to arrest as a primary resort despite the fact that no precise legislation, statute or native ordinance seems to have been violated in any respect. As an alternative, it appeared as of legislation enforcement didn’t understand how else to react to what Jones described as an anomaly.

“Been right here occurring 18 years, and it’s the primary time now we have ever handled something like that,” Jones mentioned, unwittingly admitting that he and his officers imagine that burning incense and chanting in public — an motion that doesn’t appear to be unlawful wherever within the U.S. — deserves to be punished with an arrest.

What is probably going nearer to the reality is that Jones is unfamiliar with incense — sticks that emit perfume when burned usually for functions having to do with faith, remedy and meditation. The smoke from incense can waft into different folks’s faces, which can have been the basis of Jones’ “harassing” concept he pinned on Griggs. The chanting, in fact, must be chalked as much as freedom of speech. Taken collectively, a easy decision may have been for officers to ask her to maneuver away from folks.

As an alternative, they determined an arrest was the higher use of legislation enforcement sources and taxpayers’ cash.

The native cops are in all probability not acquainted with traditions in Black households, both, contemplating that Headland’s Black or African American inhabitants lies at slightly below 28 p.c. Chances are high additionally doubtless that Headland police panicked and drew an unjustified, probably racist parallel between the lethal Christmas parade incident in Waukesha, Wisconsin, involving a Black suspect late final month.

For what it’s price, Griggs disputed Jones’ characterization of her actions.

“The general public wasn’t in peril. If I wished to assault you I’d have attacked you,” Griggs informed WDHN. “I spoke to nobody, however walked round speaking to myself.”

Griggs did recommend she may need been a bit too animated for police however maintains she didn’t need to be arrested.

“I used to be arrested by what you name it: disorderly conduct, I name it the holy spirit,” Griggs mentioned. “I can’t say I did this as a result of it was out of my management. When the holy ghost comes into you, you can’t management that. That was pure.”

Fortunately, Griggs was launched after posting bail of about $500. Lest we overlook that Black girls like Sandra Bland have been arrested stemming from equally nonviolent violations however by no means made it out of jail alive.

There was no scarcity of opinion items previously few years detailing how Black girls are essentially the most disrespected folks in America. This incident in Headland actually lends an outsized quantity of credence to that suspicion.

SEE ALSO:

Black Girl Nonetheless On Probation For Refusing To Give Up Seat On Segregated Bus In 1955

Mom And Son Each Killed Whereas In Police Restraints – Years Later Household Nonetheless Seeks Justice

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