Jesse Williams is shining a light on how often black students are arrested compared to the non-black peers by investigating a school system in Florida.
The activist and actor will explore the inequalities children face in Pinellas County, Florida for an EPIX upcoming series “America Divided,” according to Entertainment Tonight.
In a teaser for the show, Williams interviews one of the two black school cops in the force, Mike Hawkins. Hawkins says that at school, he carries the same weapons regular officers carry on the street (a gun, mase, and a taser).
“How do you determine what warrants handcuffs, arrests?” Williams asked Hawkins. The officer responds that only criminal violations call for such action.
“Nine times out of ten, it’s not a criminal violation,” Hawkins said. “It’s very seldom, very seldom you see a child in elementary school getting a criminal charge.”
Williams then told Hawkins that he didn’t understand how hundreds of children get arrested each year if what the officer was telling him was true.
“Pinellas is third in the state in disproportionately arresting black children,” the “Grey’s Anatomy” actor said. “Three times as many students are arrested for disorderly conduct in Pinellas, than in Miami. And Miami has three times the amount of students. That’s pretty alarming.”
Hawkins said each agency has a supervisor whose job is to make sure the officers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. “And if they’re not doing it, that’s between them and their agency.”
“America Divided” premieres on EPIX on Sept. 30 at 9 PM EST.