Her Name is Zakiyah, she’s four feet and five inches, she is small for her age, weighing approximately 55-pounds. She is an 11-year-old 5th grader at Chester Community Charter School in Philadelphia; and she was arrested, handcuffed, and taken into police custody, seven days after getting counseling for emotional issues that her family says was giving her nightmares.
Though details haven’t been released by police, Zakiyah was on a school bus where she explained she was being bullied; and on that day, she decided to defend herself. After a short police investigation, the officer determined that he had probable cause to make an arrest. Meanwhile, the mother of Zakiyah was not notified of her daughter’s arrest and had to search for her. In the interview below, Zakiyah explained she thought that she would never see her family again.
Darby Borough police put her in handcuffs, placed her in a police van, and took her down to Juvenile hall inside of a holding area that they claim, was not a cell. In a statement, the police don’t seem to think that this arrest was a big deal. Chief Robert Smythe said,
“I understand that it sounds harsh. She was in custody for an assault of which we were processing her. There were wounds to the other child. I understand how it sounds, but that’s the policy. She was being processed because she committed an aggressive assault against another person. We had her in custody for 57 minutes. It’s not like we put her in a cell and held her for hours. There are police policies that we try to follow. If you are in custody, you are in handcuffs. That’s the policy.”
In the photos below, there appears to be wounds to Zakiyah’s face as well, but the other student (who Zakiyah’s mom claims is bigger than her daughter) was not arrested.
The questions remain as two elementary school-aged girls got into a fight on a school bus, at what point do we understand that the arrest of an 11-year-old is taking things too far? What is going through an adult male’s mind as he places handcuffs onto the arms of a 55-pound little girl? At what point in our society is it ok to treat a terrorist like Dylann Roof to Burger King after he’s massacred 9 people in a church, but treat a 5th grade girl like a terrorist because she got into a fight on a bus? At what point do we realize that these things are not OK?
After scaring 11-year-old Zakiyah, the police decided to issue a citation that reads,
“defendant did, with the intent to cause public inconvenience or alarm, create a physically hazardous or offensive condition by actions which served no legitimate purpose to the actor.”
Zakiyah’s mom, who said Zakiyah was already having sleep issues, has decided to keep the 5th grader home for now, away from her current school. Zakiyah still has nightmares, and her mother is considering private school options. Zakiyah’s mom told “The Philly Inquirer”,
“I never thought that I had to give my 11-year-old ‘the police talk. I was thinking more so my son, and he’s only 1. But as he grows up, I was thinking that I’ve got to really drill it into my son – but not my daughter. But I guess none of us are exempt. “I would never have thought that they would have locked up an 11-year-old child and treated her like that.”