Public schools

School Cop Arrests Black Teen for 'Stealing' 65-Cent Milk Carton—Even Though Lunch Is Free

Even worse: this farce is going to trial.

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Cafeteria
Monkey Business Images / Dreamstime

A black teenager is facing charges in Prince William County, Virginia, for allegedly stealing a 65-cent milk carton from the school cafeteria. The teen, Ryan Turk, refused to accept a lesser charge in exchange for entering a diversionary program that required him to admit his guilt—which means the case is headed to trial.

It's an absurd prosecution, according to Turk's version of events as reported by The Washington Post. Turk didn't steal anything, he claims—he qualifies for free lunches under a state program. He says he forgot to grab his milk the first time he was in the lunch line, and later went back for it. A school resource officer assumed he was stealing, and approached him.

Turk says he put the carton back, but the officer wanted him to take it to the principal's office. The officer then grabbed him by the neck, handcuffed him, and charged him with two misdemeanors: disorderly conduct and petit larceny.

The officer—who is also black—tells a slightly different story. He says the teen threw the milk back at him, pushed him, and tried to get away.

Turk's lawyer thinks racism was involved, according to The Post:

"No one needs to be punished for stealing a 65-cent carton of milk," said Emmett Robinson, a lawyer who is representing the family and said Ryan's arrest was related to institutional racism. "This officer treats kids like they're criminals, and guess what happens — they're going to become criminals."

Turk had the option of entering a diversion program that would have scrubbed the charges from his record, but turned it down because it would have meant admitting guilt. Prosecutors are moving forward with the case against him.

That's a huge waste of the criminal justice system's time and financial resources—this farce should be abandoned, immediately.

But this case also highlights the absurdity of placing cops in schools and expecting them to handle disciplinary issues that should be left to teachers, counsellors, and principals. If Turk did something wrong—and it's not at all clear he did—he should be scrubbing blackboards and clapping erasers, not facing charges.

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  1. Anyone else thinking that a permanent police presence in schools is just begging for this kind of shit to happen whenever Barney Fife gets bored?

    -jcr

    1. They’re always bored.

    2. My last pay check was $9700 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 14k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. Go to this website and click tech tab to start your work… http://tinyurl.com/jtoj3r2

    3. Yup. It’s pretty fucked up that cops in school are a normal thing now.

  2. All evidence points to Prince William County being the fifth worst place on Earth.

  3. Prince William County, Virginia

    I don’t know how closely you’ve been following Reason’s back catalogue but Prince William County is in the news here so much for stupid shit like this. This isn’t abnormal for a place that raided their own mayor because someone mailed a package of pot to his house.

    1. The mayoral raid was in Prince George County, Maryland, but aside from that, yes.

      1. I used to live in Prince George’s county, shithole that it is.

      2. I loved Prince’s stuff back in the eighties.
        I miss him

    2. … knowing that the gang was sending pot to random addresses after communicating the destination to confederates who were supposed to pick the packages up before the innocent homeowners could receive the drugs.

  4. In some neighborhoods, half-pints of milk are used as an alternative currency. This kid could have used that carton to buy drugs, or even a gun.

    Good collar. Good riddance.

    1. It wouldn’t have been enough for him to buy a book, though. /POTUS

  5. Once again, black kid + black cop = white racism.

    1. Well the black cop IS an Uncle Tom ya know.

      1. He’s a regular Kmele Foster, alright.

      2. They only see blue! or something.

      3. Is it really so implausible that a black cop might be extra harsh to blacks to prove he’s “one of the good ones”?

        1. Yes.

          1. Actually, I think it’s a pretty common phenomenon.

        2. Seems rational to me, plenty of people loathe their own, lotta angry white folks marching with BLM etc.

    2. Yeah, they might as well start replacing ‘black cop’ with ‘Uncle Tom’ the way this tends to be reported. Baffling.

    3. Did they say “white racism”?

      Black people are often biased against blacks as well.

  6. Having a lawyer who says it was stealing might not be the best idea.

  7. That’s a huge waste of the criminal justice system’s time and financial resources?this farce should be abandoned, immediately.

    Farces are the bread and butter of the juvenile court system. How many kids get arrested for having alcohol or other contraband on their persons? How many kids get arrested for assault or theft?

    If they didn’t do the trials behind closed doors – which it totally intended to protect the privacy of children and not to keep the general public from becoming aware of what they are doing – you’d be able to tally what percentage of children they process are guilty of anything deserving some sort of punishment.

  8. One day Robby had an idea: Why don’t I troll the trolling trolls who troll with their trolling?

    Yeah!

    1. “Pay attention to meee!” the troll explained.

      1. I don’t always troll the tolling trolls, but when I do, I prefer Harambe.

        1. “Dicks out for dajjal” does have a nice ring to it.

  9. I could certainly do without the screams of “Institutional Racism!!” but it’s still a ridiculous case and a waste of time and money. But most of this is a result of the government’s involvement in the school(s). From the free lunches, to cops roaming the halls, it’s all a derp-storm of awful. Imagine how this would have played out at a cop-free private institution.

  10. “Turk didn’t steal anything, he claims?he qualifies for free lunches under a state program.”

    What’s the libertarian take on *that* statement?

    1. There’s no such thing as Hitler?

      1. Oh yeah, then how do you explain Captain America?

    2. I got free lunch cause my family didn’t have no damn money. So the question is, am I permanently banned from being a libertarian? Do I have to atone for all the square pizzas I ate provided by the sweat of honest men? Is it even pizza if it’s square?

      1. Just trolling, dude, sheesh.

      2. Obligatory: TANSTAAFL

        1. It was free for me suckas!

          NOM NOM NOM.

    3. a state run program to provide free lunches to poor school children isn’t exactly an optimal free market solution but it is hardly the worst part of this story.

      Eliminate compulsory public schooling and get the cops out of the schools and I’ll happily agree to accept the free lunch program

  11. We’re running out of crimes. Need to make up some new ones or lots of people are gonna be out of a job.

    Jill Stein approves this message.

  12. He shouldn’t have been handcuffed, but he should have been scolded.

  13. I have a shred of pity for the teachers & principals here. People took away all their power to discipline, so then the responsibility gets shunted over to the cops, with predictable results.

    What would a teacher have done in 1955 if a student just walked up to them, said, “Fuck…You.” and started screaming and whooping & hollering, disrupting class?* A couple of male teachers and/or principal would have come in and physically man-handled the kid out of there. Can’t do that anymore, so you have to call the school cop.

    *I actually saw this once as a substitute in Dallas last year.

    1. When I was in school, there were no cops and getting physical with students was not something that happened unless absolutely necessary. Somehow things didn’t devolve into total chaos.

      1. When I was in school a female teacher slapped my face for being a smart ass. It was a private school and my mom taught there. All she said was “you probably deserved it”. I did.

        1. When I was in school a female teacher slapped my face for being a smart ass.

          HAWT

  14. But this case also highlights the absurdity of placing cops in schools and expecting them to handle disciplinary issues that should be left to teachers, counsellors, and principals.

    Isn’t this exactly the opposite of what Reason typically says about sexual assault and school discipline (usually colleges, I know, but I’m sure the problem comes up on secondary schools as well)?

    1. Let’s see…I missed the article where Reason said that petty vandalism, etc. at college should be the responsibility of outside law enforcement.

      1. Rape is kind of a cut above urinating in the bushes or swiping a milk carton.

        1. If it isn’t about rape, Harambe, urinating in bushes, or milk cartons, then I don’t give a shit.

          1. One day, Harambe walking through the jungle drinking his carton of milk when he spied a lady gorilla urinating in the bushes. Being a watersports fetishist, he became aroused, grabbed the lady gorilla, licked her clean and then raped her. When Harambe had finished with her, he pushed her away, got up and then continued his journey as he finished his milk.

          2. One day, Harambe walking through the jungle drinking his carton of milk when he spied a lady gorilla urinating in the bushes. Being a watersports fetishist, he became aroused, grabbed the lady gorilla, licked her clean and then raped her. When Harambe had finished with her, he pushed her away, got up and then continued his journey as he finished his milk.

        2. What are three things on my schedule for Saturday night?

        3. Yeah, but both rape and urinating in the bushes will both get you put onto the sexual offenders list.

        4. Depending on where the milk comes from, though, they all get you on the same list for life.

    2. **Looks through article for “sexual assualt”**

      Nope, can’t find it. Nice straw man though.

    3. Because the possible theft of a milk carton is the same thing as sexual assault?

    4. No? I think their position is consistent that Real Crimes (like rape) should be dealt with by police, while disciplinary issues like disruptive behavior should be handled by school administrators. Granted, technically stealing is a Real Crime, but petty stuff like this (if it is even a real crime) should still be handled internally. At any rate, the school ought to have the discretion to deal with crimes against itself, but not so with crimes against students.

  15. The kid’s a criminal and a thug, might as well get him used to seeing the inside of a courtroom.

    1. Yeah, get him used to it now! No sense trying to teach the kid anything about right and wrong. Juvie will obviously fix him right up.

  16. What happened to all the god damn woodchippers? Do people not take care of their tools anymore?

  17. A black teenager

    Who gives a fuck what color he is? The cop is a dick.

    Emmett Robinson, a lawyer who is representing the family and said Ryan’s arrest was related to institutional racism

    Can you provide the quote where the lawyer uses the word racism? Because as it stands, Robby, that’s just you editorializing. I’d go to the WaPo story, but it’s behind a paywall.

    1. And $0.65 per carton? That’s $10.40 a gallon! Seems a little steep.

      1. Government accounting.

    2. Who gives a fuck what color he is? The cop is a dick.

      Robby McPanderpants

    3. I don’t see how the second thing is editorializing. He said that the lawyer thinks racism was involved, according to the Post. The quote from the post does say that racism was involved. Even if they did not directly quote him, it is completely factual to report that the Washington Post said that the lawyer said racism was involved. That’s not Robby putting his personal opinion into the article, which is what editorializing is.

      1. *say that the lawyer said that racism was involved.

  18. Not just any teenager, A BLACK TEENAGER. ermagerd! /Rico

  19. 65 cents? What kind of government subsidized milk is that? School milk was 5 cents as late as 1980.

    1. 1986. We had 5 cent milk until they started serving shitty subsidized school lunches, then it went up to 25 cents.

  20. 65 cents? What kind of government subsidized milk is that? School milk was 5 cents as late as 1980.

  21. I am a juvenile court public defender. This kind of prosecution over petty incidents or simple kid behavior is common in most jurisdictions. A significant part of the reason is that most jurisdictions do not extend the right tho trial by jury to juveniles. Many of the few that do only allow it for the more serious cases.

  22. This shit is unbelievable. WTF is happening to the US of A?

    1. More and more it’s being run by USAs — Unbelievably Stupid Assholes.

      Get the pigs out of the schools.

  23. The kid was already through the line, so he had a tray of food, right? And none of the top men on the case thought “oh, that’s right, milk is 65c alone but it comes as part of the meal”?

  24. Get rid of the cops and you’d have to bring back corporal punishment and the paddle.

  25. “he should be scrubbing blackboards and clapping erasers”

    How long has it been since you were inside a school? There haven”t been “blackboards” since the 70’s. Heck, there haven’t been ‘green boards’ since the early 80’s.

  26. But not all cops are bad hahahahaha

  27. Nothing can be more petty than a cafeteria level bean-counter. More power to the kid. A good plan. When authorities waste precious time and/or causes humiliation, make em waste their time right back and part with some of that hard-seized money for their trouble.

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