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UPDATE: VA Capitol Police Officer Who Forced African-American Child to Stand During Pledge of Allegiance Apologizes to Mother, Son

Nice work by Sen. Jennifer McClellan in pulling this meeting together.

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See below for an update this morning by Monica Hutchinson regarding this story, in which a Virginia Capitol Police Officer physically compelled Hutchinson’s son to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance in the State Senate on Tuesday. That clearly was unacceptable. Also note that this incident wouldn’t have come to light without the efforts of Monica Hutchinson in standing up for her principled, courageous son Jae. As Hutchinson writes, “To some it may not seem like a big deal, but as a black male in America this was a big issue and rightfully so.” Also, excellent work by State Sen. Jennifer McClellan for having – as Hutchinson writes – “organized and facilitated a meeting for Jae, myself, his dad Derrick C Hutchinson , the officer, Col. Pike, Clerk of the Senate and herself.” Finally, I’m very glad to hear that “There will be some changes implemented in the Senate because my child had the strength to stand alone for what he knew to be the right thing.” A very impressive young man, no doubt – nice job Jae!

Good morning everyone, I wanted to update about what happened with Jae this past Tuesday at the Capitol. For those that don’t know, Jae was forced to stand for the Pledge by a Capitol Police Officer who tapped his shoulder first then grabbed his shirt to pull him up. My son went through an emotional roller coaster these past few days. From anger to hurt, to self doubt, to empathy, motivated, confused, and hurt again. Thank you to everyone who checked on Jae and our family. Samantha and Amber, you ladies were there for us yesterday and my family is forever grateful to the support shown. To some it may not seem like a big deal, but as a black male in America this was a big issue and rightfully so. Our black bodies have been and continue to be policed and devalued evert single day. My son’s rights were violated. HE was violated. It does NOT matter what the intent behind the actions were. I want to say loudly, INTENT DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL IMPACT. A NEGATIVE IMPACT FAR OUTWEIGHS INTENT!!!!

I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Senator McClellan. She organized and facilitated a meeting for Jae, myself, his dad Derrick C Hutchinson, the officer, Col. Pike, Clerk of the Senate and herself. My family already thinks so much of Senator McClellan and after this past week, even more so. My respect and admiration runs deep for her. Virginia is lucky to have her and whatever she chooses to do in the future she has our unwavering support.

The officer acknowledged her actions and her mistake. She and Col. Pike apologized to Jae several times. We do feel the apology was sincere. She admitted she has never had anyone challenge or resist her directions before so she didn’t know how to handle the situation.. let me be clear, ignorance is not an excuse but I do appreciate her being honest and admitting her faults. I am hopeful she will learn and grow from this experience. They listened to Jae and myself explain our WHY we have made the choice to peacefully protest the Pledge and Anthem. This is why sharing our stories and truths are so important. Before yesterday, she admitted she had ever thought about things from our perspective we shared. It’s amazing what people can see when they just look at the world through the lens of equity. We also got a commitment from Colonel Pike that the Capitol Police will sit down with our amazing kids and leaders from the Club to listen and hear their stories. To hear and better understand the WHY we know the line “…liberty and justice for all” is just not true. To take these stories and use them in the trainings for the officers to help them understand and be better. There will be some changes implemented in the Senate because my child had the strength to stand alone for what he knew to be the right thing. Jae said he wanted all of us to learn and grow from this experience. I stand in awe of this child sometimes. He is greater than even he knows. He really is one of a kind.

We remain hopeful yet realistic about change. We know change does NOT happen overnight, but it will never happen if we don’t fight for it. My family is ready, willing, and able to roll up our sleeves and put in the work necessary to help create true systemic changes here in Virginia. I hope you all will stand beside us as we continue pushing forward and fighting for an America that will one day live up those words, “indivisible with liberty and justice for all”.