The McKinney incident: A national state of emergency

In the wake of the African American Policy Forum’s #SayHerName report and campaign, another police brutality incident, one with a black girl at the forefront, occurs.

This past Friday, an innocuous end-of-the-year pool party in McKinney, TX was cut short when police were called to the scene. When the McKinney Police Department officers arrived, they proceeded to brutalize black teenage partygoers by yelling at them, handcuffing them and ultimately, slamming one girl, Dajerria Becton, to the ground before sitting on her and pulling a gun on the boys who rushed to her aid.

The video depicting this incident was released on Sunday and has since gone viral.

In an interview with Fox’s KDFW station, Becton clearly describes how Officer Eric Casebolt shoved her to the ground, twisted her arm and grabbed her braids.

As stated by McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley, Casebolt was put on administrative leave and the handcuffed kids have been released.

The events of the McKinney police brutality incident cannot be justified or glossed over. Even if the report that the kids did not belong at Craig Ranch North Community Pool held any weight, that still does not merit them being verbally abused, handcuffed and thrown to the ground.

Cops that have killed unarmed black men, such as Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman, have cited fear as their motivation for reacting violently. Wilson and Zimmerman cited the size of their victim or their victim’s own violent aggression as grounds for their brutality as policemen.

The fact that Casebolt, flanked with backup, felt threatened by a group of black children armed with nothing but a towel at worst, says something.

The events of McKinney indicate a national state of emergency. Now, police brutality doesn’t result from misunderstandings. Police brutality isn’t just an overreaction to the petty crime of shoplifting or the possession of switchblade.

Police brutality occurs as a response to mere blackness. In the eyes of the police, in the eyes of whoever made that phone call to the police, the crime for which those kids in McKinney deserved to be punished was the crime of being black in America.

While the claim of rowdy teenagers was made by a McKinney resident Benet Embry, the police’s handling of the situation reflects a deeper issue. Apart from the sheer brutality of the police officers towards the black teenagers, none of the white participants in the incident received any repercussions.

Prior to police arrival, a white woman made disparaging racist comments towards the black teenagers before hitting a partygoer in the face.

During the police mayhem, white men stand around and observe without any hassling from the police.

Brandon Brooks, who filmed the crucial video, said that he was only able to film so much of the McKinney incident because he was white and not subject to police attack.

Incidents like this one should not keep happening. Every 28 hours, a black life is lost to police brutality. Every week, another black life is mourned in a hashtag. Even more frequently than every 28 hours, black people are profiled, harassed, physically and verbally abused, stopped and frisked, and made to feel generally unsafe by the people who were hired to protect and champion them.

Adversaries of the #BlackLivesMatter movement are quick to tell you that all lives matter in America, yet how come it doesn’t feel like it?

EDIT: As of today, Casebolt has resigned.


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