‘Juvenile Center Didn’t Work for me’

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September 15th, 2020

OMAHA – Meet David Mitchell.

“I consider myself many things, but activist is one of them,” Mitchell, says.

He is 27 years old and he grew-up in North O.

“Born and raise here in Omaha, Nebraska, actually I grew-up off 25th and Ida, with one sister, my mom and my stepdad,” Mitchell says.

He owns three video game repair shops, and he is raising two children with his wife. So far, so good.

But let us go back about 15 years. One afternoon Mitchell and his two friends were walking on Ida street, back to one to their house.

They were planning to have a sleepover and maybe play some PlayStation 2

David and his friends were between 12 and 13-years-old.

Their path was interrupted by a police car. The police repeatedly told them not to move because they match the description of some suspects.

“And (They) were asking my friend, what his name was, well, he was having an asthma attack and he could not breathe, and he was yelling on his face what is your name boy, what is your name boy, getting on his face, spitting and yelling,” Mitchell says.

At that time, Mitchell refused to give his name. Instead, he asked for medical attention for his friend, because he trusted that the police were there to help, since they had done nothing wrong.

Then, because he was not listening, he was handcuffed, thrown to the ground and beaten-up, and pushed into the police car.

Because of that, he sat at the Douglas County Youth Center or CDYC in a cell for about a week.

“It messed me up, pretty bad,” Mitchell, says.

After that, Mitchell had two more instances with the police, once he broke into a school to skateboard, and for that reason he was on probation. Then he missed a meeting once making his situation worse.

For him, the lack of resources in the system is responsible for many youngsters going through the path like him when a teenager.

The Juvenile system centers are the worst option for regeneration, according to Mitchell. Been in the DCYC did not help him and on the contrary, affected his self-esteem and caused him depression.

Mitchell was able to turn around his life at Boys Town. They provided for him the tools and the support to start new. He put his mind on working toward a better future and started his own business, fixing video games and he is an investor as well.

Now, I met Mitchel when he was invited to speak at a protest. Some people are opposing the new DCYC extension.

This project had planned for 42 new spaces, but now it is up to 96, and Mitchel believes this is not the best way to approach children with a behavioral problem where 80% of them are black and Hispanic.”

“Isolating a child doesn’t actually fix anything, where is the social programs, where is the outreach program, the educational program, the after-school programs,”

Mitchel is about to open his fourth video game repair shop here in Omaha.

He wants to raise his children in a better environment, and he is hoping that his story as teenager does not repeat itself.

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