Three high school teens were arrested the day before Thanksgiving for the “crime” of waiting for a school bus — while being Black. The teens, star basketball players at Rochester, New York’s Edison Tech High School, were actually off from school Wednesday but agreed to participate in a scrimmage. They say Rochester police arrested them after ordering them to “disperse.”
The teens were waiting for a yellow school bus to pick them up. Police officers arrested and charged them with disorderly conduct, even after they explained why they were waiting on the sidewalk.
But that was insufficient for the officers. Equally insufficient was what happened next.
Their school bus showed up, with their teammates and coach, who all got to see the players in handcuffs. Coach Jacob Scott talked with the officers, but they still refused to release the youths.
Coach Scott, who also serves as the district guidance counselor, says the police officers threatened to arrest him if he didn’t leave the scene, and were even joking around about arresting the teens.
“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?’”
“One of the police officers actually told me, if he had a big enough caravan, he would take all of us downtown.”
“It’s a catastrophe. These young men were doing nothing wrong, nothing wrong. They did exactly what they were supposed to do and still they get arrested. I’m speaking to the officers with dignity…and still and yet — they see me get treated like nothing.”
A local Rochester news site notes the police report “does not accuse the boys of using abusive or obscense language.”
Parents had to post bail of about $200 for each student so they wouldn’t spend Thanksgiving in jail. Their court date was originally scheduled for Friday, but has been moved to December 11.
Screenshot via WHEC
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