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Grand Basileus Tony Knox

Giving Honor to God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

My brothers, it is sad that the ink cannot dry on similar stories before yet another alarming incident involving white law enforcement official flagrantly brutalizing a young unarmed, African American girl inside her classroom.

Authorities in South Carolina are investigating an encounter captured on two videos that show a white male school police officer in a Columbia, South Carolina, classroom grabbing an African-American female student by the neck, flipping her backward as she sat at her desk, then dragging and throwing her across the floor.

The videos, apparently shot by students in the classroom, have been repeatedly showed by national news media and have gone viral on social media. Sadly, it has ignited yet another round of debate about the unsettling relationship between law enforcement and the African- American community.

The horrific scene of the officer man-handling a young girl as she sat in her school desk who refused to leave the classroom cannot be erased from my mind and those disturbing images creates a litany of afterthoughts. Most notably, I wonder what would have happened if an African American male student had interceded and attempted to stop the brutal treatment of the young girl. What would have happened to such a Good Samaritan.

As an Omega man, I am tired of seeing repeated images of our young women being manhandled and physically abused by police officers or anybody else. Respect for women should be at the foremost in all law enforcement interactions. Indeed, respectful treatment of everyone irrespective of gender, race and or sexual orientation should be the benchmark of any interaction between law enforcement and the community they serve.

It is very important for Omega men to continue our mentoring programs, and support mentoring designed for young ladies too because those programs are needed just as much as those for our young men. Therefore, we must support Big Brothers and Big Sisters and other organizations that work to save our children.

It is imperative that the Richland County Schools administration thoroughly re-examine the hiring qualifications for their school resource officers. It is incumbent upon them to make sure that training is provided for all those who will be charged with the supervision, instruction or protection of our young people.

Although this happened in Richland County, I hope every county in South Carolina examines all of their programs and assess if it's a statewide problem that should be corrected. At minimum, this officer must be held accountable. In addition, investigators must closely examine the hiring practices of this school district and ascertain whether the qualifications for hiring be raised for this important position.

Brothers let's remain vigilant and use times like these as motivation to keep working together to make a positive difference within our respective communities. We must speak out against injustice and work with those organizations that demand justice and equality in the proper way. We are one!

Fraternally,

Antonio F. Knox Sr.
40th Grand Basileus

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