After police in Rochester, New York threatened to arrest three Edison Tech High School athletes who were dutifully waiting for a bus their coach had scheduled for them, the kids didn’t know where to turn. They knew the bus was coming, but they had police telling them their presence at a public bus stop was obstructing the flow of pedestrian traffic while they waited.
If they followed the cops’ orders, they’d miss the bus and, in all probability, be chewed out by their coach. If they followed their coach’s instructions, they’d be arrested. And if they did obey the cops and disperse, where would they even go?
According to WROC, the three boys were among several basketball teammates last week who’d been instructed by their coach, Jacob Scott, to wait for a school bus that he’d arranged to come pick them up for a scrimmage at a local high school. “There was no school that day and their coach had arranged for a pick-up at a central meeting spot,” the report states.
The kids attempted to explain to the police that their options were kind of limited, and that their presence was the product of adult supervision under the aegis of the public school system, but the police began putting people in handcuffs as coach Scott (who’s also a guidance counselor in the Rochester school district) arrived at the scene.
Scott said he pleaded with the officer to let the boys go, saying he was supervising them.
“He goes on to say, ‘If you don’t disperse, you’re going to get booked as well,'” Scott said. “I said, ‘Sir, I’m the adult. I’m their varsity basketball coach. How can you book me? What am I doing wrong? Matter of fact, what are these guys doing wrong?'”
Scott said a sergeant showed up and backed up his officer.
“One of the police officers actually told me, if he had a big enough caravan, he would take all of us downtown,” Scott said.
The original report on the incident doesn’t make an issue of the students’ race, but subsequent reports, as well as readers’ comments, are filled with righteous indignation over the presumption that the cops would never have treated white kids the way they treated these black students.
Maybe they would have; maybe they wouldn’t. Big deal: what happened happened. The police are adhering to form by standing by their original actions, while every representative of the school district involved in the case is denouncing the cops’ actions – not by playing the race card, but on the merits.
“I think the charges should be immediately dropped and I think the district attorney’s office should be stepping in and looking at these kinds of matters,” said school board member Mary Adams, who attended the students’ arraignments.
A trial is scheduled for Dec. 11.