Justice for Justice


Max Janowitz, Journalist

Social injustice- namely racism- is largely ignored, even when it’s happening right here in Lake Mary. Too many young minorities in our society have fallen victim to racial profiling.  Senior Justice Donald had an experience with this injustice firsthand during the Hurricane Irma break.

“It was a normal day,” said Donald. “I was just hanging out with friends and having a good time.”  Justice and several of his peers were riding golf carts around the Legacy Club of Alaqua Lakes. A short time later, they noticed a  Seminole County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was circling around them; one of Justice’s friends had the idea to wave at the police helicopter.  At the time they thought the gesture was harmless: some of them lived in the neighborhood so they thought there would be no reason for their presence to be questioned.  

Instead, their actions led to unwanted attention from the police.  The golf cart ahead of Justice’s was stopped by police on the ground.  The police saw the kids- all white- on the cart and let them off without much questioning.  Soon after, more cops arrived and tracked down the second cart. “Our experience was much different than the other group’s,” said Donald.

When the police located the second cart, they immediately went to detain Justice and his friends. The entire group was put in zip ties for 30 minutes and then in a patrol car. However, unlike all the people he was with, Justice claims he was targeted individually.  A motorcycle cop with a gun in hand went solely after Justice: the cop tackled him to the concrete, detained him, and read him his Miranda rights. “It all happened so quick,” said Donald. His friends were detained, but Justice was the only one who was pushed down to the concrete and questioned. 

The reason this situation can be seen as racial profiling is because the police had no evidence these kids were involved and none of them fit the suspect profile. After questioning Justice for an hour and realizing their mistake, the police officers explained the situation to the kids. “Apparently some middle school-aged kids jumped into a pool at a house they thought was abandoned, but the owner was home and called the police,” said Donald. The police have every right to question possible suspects by the crime scene, but what happened to Justice and his friends is wrong. The fact that the golf cart in front of them was able to leave swiftly after being questioned by cops while Justice and his friends were detained paints an all-too-familiar image of social injustice. Justice’s experience hits close to home, serving as a reminder that blatant social injustice is happening here and now- right in our own backyards.