#MoviesWhileBlack: Police Arrest Black Teen for Sagging Pants at the Movies

Public safety resources have been wasted again — this time, on a teen’s sagging pants.

A Cineworld movie theater’s manager in Wichita, Kan., called the police on Alonzo Taylor, a Black 14-year-old, when he didn’t pull up his pants quickly.

Wichita police reportedly “roughed him up, cuffed him, threw his popcorn and soda in the trash, gave him a trespassing charge and an impending court date,” according to a parent on the scene.

Elsewhere in Wichita that night, arrests were made for crimes like battery/domestic violence, petit theft, shoplifting and violation of protection from abuse. But Officer Thomas, identified by Taylor’s friend’s parent Kali Kerr, thought it best to rough up a Black teen with belt problems.

While the video footage from the theater has yet to be released by the police, the actions of the officer beg the repetitive question of appropriate response.

From the Starbucks fiasco, to the Waffle House takedown, to the repeated excessive force used during traffic stops, it seems police have less problem-solving skills than they do wrestling and arrest skills.

And many companies equally have a hands-off policy toward dealing with bigoted employees. The movie theater, formerly owned by Regal Entertainment (which had an all-white executive team), had no comment regarding the incident. Cineworld, the new UK owner, with an all-white board and CEO, has not responded to inquiries about the incident.

Taylor’s mother reportedly was mad at the movie theater manager, not the police. She picked Taylor up and complied with the officer’s mandate for court so her son wouldn’t have a record or be labeled.

While children are not named in arrest records, public records show a 14-year-old “BM” was arrested at the Regal Warren East’s theater address and charged with “Criminal Trespass” and a “Trespass Incident with Offense.”

Kerr, who is white, posted the account on Facebook and stated: “This boy is the most respectful middle school boy I’ve met. I am appalled that this 14 year old kid knows what handcuffs feel like. I hope to find out if there is more I can do to help the situation.”

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