Monday, June 8, 2015

McKinney and the Dehumanization of Black Youth

The Root reports that:
A pool party in McKinney, Texas, Friday has shocked the nation after footage went viral showing a white police officer cursing, threatening and ultimately slamming into the ground and handcuffing a 14-year-old African-American bikini-clad girl. At one point the officer is seen pulling out and pointing his service weapon at a group of teens.

The community is torn, the officer has been suspended and details have been scarce...

Since the video went viral, Cpl. Casebolt has been suspended pending an investigation into his actions, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has released a statement condemning the officer’s use of force.

“While we don’t know all the facts about the party, the crowd, or whether a fight broke out, what we do know is that the police response, as seen on the video, appears to be a textbook case of overuse of force,” the statement reads.

“A well-trained police department would have responded more cautiously, with less hostility and using sophisticated crowd-control methods that favor de-escalation not escalation. Without question, guns were not needed and in fact risked turning a group of partying teenagers into a violent encounter that could have turned deadly,” the statement continues.

Several McKinney residents have taken to social media to dispute the reporting of the story. According to one McKinney resident, who asked that the “true story” of what happened get out, a DJ was blasting obscene music in a public area and carloads of teens where arriving in the neighborhood without permission to go to the pool. When the teens were confronted, according to the resident’s post, they began climbing the pool fence and arguing with a security guard. When residents confronted the teens, the residents say, it was they who were attacked with racial slurs and physically assaulted.
In the eyes of many police officers and many white people, we are not viewed as neighbors and fellow Americans.  We are viewed as invaders who dirty up the white man's precious, delicate, little enclaves. Our mere presence is a natural cause for white alarm and overreaction. Black people are not viewed as human beings. Unfortunately, we are viewed as wild animals that must be subdued and controlled. When the police harass us, humiliate us or even kill us, there is a concerted effort to defend and rationalize police brutality and misconduct. Since the dehumanization process is complete, rationalization is a very easy task.

In their warped white supremacist minds, fellow white people, even the violent ones, are regarded as relatively non-threatening. For example, as reported on CNN, rival white biker gangs in Waco, Texas got into a shootout. 9 people were killed. 18 people went to the hospital. Over 100 weapons were recovered. Did the police treat those white bikers like they treated those black kids in McKinney? Of course, not.

In reality, we are not the animals. Our oppressors are.  The McKinney incident started with racist slurs against black youth and ended with racist police action against black youth. Police officers like Eric Casebolt are the real animals. Casebolt was the one yelling and cursing at the black youth. While completely ignoring white kids like Brannon Brooks, Casebolt is the one who frantically ran around like a possessed demon targeting and pushing down almost every single black person. Casebolt was the one who slammed an unarmed, 15-year-old girl, bikini clad girl on the concrete and put his knees on her back as she screamed in fear and pain. Casebolt is the savage who pointed a gun at two unarmed black teenage boys.

Animals like Officer Casebolt must be punished for their brutality. Such people do not deserve to wear a police badge. Justice is not just about Casebolt's termination. True justice requires a complete reformation and transformation of the McKinney Police Department and others like it. We can't afford to rest. The struggle continues.

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