For 14 year old Tremaine McMillian, Memorial Day of May 27, 2013 began just the same as it did for many other young kids his age in Miami-Dade County, spending the holiday with family and friends as they enjoyed a warm summer day on the beach. Unfortunately, what transpired shortly thereafter would put the young boy’s life and his entire future in jeopardy. It now lies in the hands of a notoriously racist Florida State Juvenile “Justice” System – a system which does not look kindly on the lives of young ones who get caught up in the system, especially those who happen to be Black.
It all began shortly after 11:00 a.m., according to the Miami-Dade police, when Tremaine was supposedly seen pushing another kid into the sand. His sister who was present disputes this charge, however. Shortly afterward as Tremaine bottle-fed milk to his new puppy, Polo, in order to quench the dog’s thirst, he was approached by two police officers who apparently viewed him with an intense amount of suspicion, as they immediately demanded they be led to his mother’s location. At that moment, Tremaine turned away from the officer and began to walk; all accounts are in agreement on this. Where they differ, however, is for what purpose he began to walk away. While Tremaine claims he was simply going to lead them to his mother per their request, police claim that he was ignoring them after he’d glared at them with what they called a “dehumanizing stare”, clearly indicative, in their minds, of the young man’s innate danger to society. No matter what the reason was, Tremaine displayed a sense of maturity far beyond that displayed on the part of the cops – even their own report makes it clear that it was they who placed their hands on him first, quoting Tremaine as saying, “Man, don’t touch me like I did something [wrong].” Instead of walking away without incident, however, the police reacted with a ferocious display of savagery that included assaulting the young boy and his puppy, throwing him to the ground and placing him into a headlock. When McMillian’s mother, Maurissa Holmes, approached the scene she found her son on the ground being mercilessly attacked by two white police officers as they attempted to strangle her son, cutting off circulation at his throat. Perhaps sensing what the system would likely attempt to do to her son granted he survived the attack, she filmed the incident on her cellular phone for the courts and the world to bear witness to:
Thankfully, Tremaine did survive this brutal attack, but as a result he’s been arrested and he faces a court case based solely on the bogus charges brought forth by the police who assaulted him. The prosecution have no intention of letting their case against Tremaine go without his being severely punished, as evidenced by the statements of Alvaro Zabaleta, the Detective for the Dale County Police Department assigned to this case. He’s already gotten to work constructing (or fabricating) a narrative that paints Tremaine as a young Black male “hoodlum” who by nature is a “menace to society”, just as the George Zimmerman’s defense lawyers have similarly attempted to do in the case of Trayvon Martin’s murder. According to Zabaleta, who we should note was not even present at the scene, it was Tremaine’s own body language that signified to the officers that he was “getting agitated” and therefore could “possibly become violent”. This, in addition to being given “dehumanizing stares”, was apparently all the evidence the cops needed to establish the urgent need to “neutralize the threat in front of us.” When asked why the situation was so dangerous that they had to resort to injuring the boy’s puppy as well, the Detective responded, “We are not concerned with the puppy. We are concerned about the threat to the officer.” As for how Tremaine felt about his supposed “threatening” nature, he certainly didn’t seem to see it that way. In fact, upon being brutally and unnecessarily attacked by the police officers, he was so terrified that he urinated on himself. Understandably, he gets “sad” when thinking about what happened and the potential reality of his entire life being turned upside down.
Indeed, the most outrageous component in all of this is the very fact that Tremaine McMillian has been slapped with a felony at the tender age of just 14 years for no other reason than Walking While Black in America who, innocently spending time with family and friends on the beach before being savagely attacked by brute cops, and daring to survive. And while the police who orchestrated the vicious attack are allowed to walk freely, their victim has been ludicrously charged with “resisting arrest with violence” along with “disorderly conduct”. It is his life, and not their’s, that hangs in the balance of the unjust court system. And although an attorney for the Juvenile Justice Center filed a motion to have the case against Tremaine dismissed, the Judge presiding over this jurisdiction dismissed it and is set to try the case on July 16, one month from now. If the trial results in his conviction, it will be a travesty of epic proportions. As Rolling Out Magazine points out, “McMillian… will become a felon at 14 if convicted. In turn, a felony conviction will follow him for life and could prevent him from getting a job and other important opportunities that may occur in the future.”
It’s not too late to try and reverse this, however. The Judge who will be residing over this case is Judge Maria De Jesus Santoveria. Her office can be contacted at (305) 638-6234. Contact her and let her know you do not wish for this young man’s entire future to be destroyed because of one unfortunate incident during an outing with friends and family on the beach:
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It’s somewhat ironic to note that this occurred on Memorial Day, a holiday which was initially held to honor the memory of those who’d lost their lives in the American Civil War fighting on the side of Emancipating the former slaves. It should serve as a stark reminder of just how far the South and the rest of the United States have truly come when it comes to preserving the “racial order”. In the land where members of the Confederacy once maintained their exalted social status through the terrorizing crack of a whip, the court system now uses police, selective juries, prisons and ‘felon’ labels to fight for the preservation of that same social status. 148 years after the first Emancipation memorial was held, those with the privileged keys to the system, steadfast in their false belief in white supremacy, are attempting to have Tremaine McMillian lost in the Juvenile “Justice” System, forever criminalized and marginalized as they have done with numerous others before him whose names we may never know.