“I AM A Child!”: A Girl-Child’s Truth and The Lies of Law Enforcement

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On January 29, 2021, a police officer with the Rochester, New York, Police Department pepper-sprayed a 9-year old Black girl who had been handcuffed and forced into the back of a police car. In the struggle that proceeded this moment, an officer yelled at the girl with obvious frustration, “You’re acting like a child!” In this essay, I consider how the girl’s quick retort —“I AM a child!”—interjected a truth into the struggle that had been all but ignored by the armed adults on the scene. I consider how the truth embedded in this girl’s call exposes the lies of law enforcement and, in doing so, lay the seeds of abolitionist imaginings—a call for a system, a world, that would treat a Black girl as if she were a child.




Jones, N. (2021). “I AM A Child!”: A Girl-Child’s Truth and The Lies of Law Enforcement. Gender and Society, 35(4), 527–537. https://doi.org/10.1177/08912432211029388

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