08 June 2015

Why I Did Not Want My Kids to Grow Up in Texas

Baltimore might not be the best place in the world in terms of police professionalism (Freddie Gray), but I would not expect to see the sort of bullsh%$ that happened at the McKinney, Texas pool party:
No lives were lost. The incident played out at a suburban pool party, not an urban neighborhood struggling with crime and drugs.

But perhaps it was that suburban setting that helped make the images so powerful and disturbing. Now a video of a police officer pointing a gun at teenagers in bathing suits and shoving a young black girl’s face into the ground has become the latest flash point in relations between the police and minorities.

The cellphone video, taken at the community pool in Craig Ranch, a racially diverse subdivision north of Dallas, has set off another debate over race and police tactics, with activists calling for the officer to be fired and others arguing that the blame should fall at least in part on the teenagers.

The video appears to show the officer, David Eric Casebolt, briefly waving his handgun at young partygoers who approached him as he tried to subdue the teenage girl on Friday. The officer ultimately immobilized the girl by putting her facedown on the ground and placing a knee on her back.

Chief Greg Conley of the McKinney Police Department said that the video had prompted an internal affairs investigation and that Officer Casebolt, a patrol supervisor, had been placed on administrative leave.


Earlier in day, activists outside Police Headquarters said the youths had been subjected to racial bias, and demanded that Officer Casebolt be fired. Dominique Alexander, the president of the Next Generation Action Network, a civil rights group, said it was an “illusion” that youths had been jumping the fence. “They had every right to be there,” he said.

After the video spread quickly online, criticism poured in from around the country. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas said that it while it did not have all the facts about the party, “what we do know is that the police response, as seen on the video, appears to be a textbook case of overuse of force.”

In a video posted to YouTube on Sunday, a black teenager named Tatiana said her family was hosting a cookout for friends when a woman insulted them, prompting a 14-year-old family friend to respond. Tatiana said a white woman had then told her: “You need to go back to where you’re from” and to “go back to your Section 8 home.”

Tatiana said that she had replied, “Excuse me,” and that then another white woman hit her in the face and “both women attacked” her.


Brandon Brooks, 15, who shot the video, told a TV station that Officer Casebolt had not confronted him, one of the few white teenagers at the party.

“I was one of the only white people in the area when that was happening,” he told the station. “You can see in part of the video where he tells us to sit down, and he kind of like skips over me and tells all my African-American friends to go sit down.”
(emphasis mine)

There are lots of good people in Texas, but the public culture, not only in terms of race, but also in terms of wealth, social justice, and the whole idea of public good, is incredibly toxic.

Even if you are raised to hate sh%$ like this, being raised in this toxic soup inures one to it, and I do not favor complacency to injustice as a tactic to raise children.


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