Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cop Assaults Teen Girl in McKinney Texas

All of the facts leading up to this incident are still up for debate. What's not up for debate are the apparently unprofessional, thuggish and dangerous actions of one of the police officers who responded. Knowing how police generally behave and their differing perceptions of threat based on race I'm not really too surprised by anything in the video, though I am angered. I really don't have a whole lot to add about this other than incidents such as these are precisely the reason that police officers ought to be better trained. But if someone is racist and hateful the level of training is meaningless. This is in many ways the historical and apparently current black experience in America in a nutshell. Blackness is considered criminal by definition when it's outside of its "place". In our (not so) post-racial America, black children, white children and hispanic children are apparently having a good time at a pool party. Apparently some white adults are put off by the numbers of black invitees or question whether they are all invitees.  A security guard (white?) starts to evict the black children who were apparently invited. One white woman, who evidently feels that black children should not be at that particular pool party, starts hurling racist insults. When she is called out on this by another black woman, she apparently initiates a physical assault. The police are called. Like most black people, young or old, would do, many of the black children decide that now would be a good time to depart the premises. After all the police are quite comfortable beating or shooting black people. Everyone knows that. What the video seems to show is that one police officer, upset at having fallen down chasing someone, decides to unload his bile on any black teen in the vicinity. He curses and insults them and then takes down a young teen girl, grinding her face in the ground and sitting on her. He also pulls his gun and points it at the children when they protest. These children were treated as if they had just slaughtered nine people. Oh wait, no they weren't. The bikers who actually killed people and exchanged gunshots with the police were treated better than unarmed children committing the felony crime of being black in an area where being black is illegal. The officer has been placed on administrative leave...

WASHINGTON -- When Miles Jai Thomas arrived at a party at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas, on Friday night, the pool was open to everyone -- until a security guard showed up and removed black partygoers from the area. “Then he started making up rules to keep us out,” Thomas, 15, told The Huffington Post.
A white woman at the pool started making racist comments, Thomas said, such as telling black teens at the party to get used to the bars outside the pool because that’s all they were going to see. Grace Stone, 14, who is white, told BuzzFeed News that she and friends objected to an adult woman making racist comments to other teens at the party and that the woman turned violent. This is when, according to Thomas, a 19-year-old black woman told the belligerent white woman to stop fighting with the teenagers. The white woman called the black woman a “young b***h,” then walked up to her. After the young woman said her age out loud, the older woman punched her in the face. Another unidentified white woman jumped in as well before Thomas, who was recording the incident, and his friends went to break it up.
It was after this incident that the cops showed up and “started cursing and yelling at us,” Thomas said. He described an officer manhandling a young girl, as shown in this video embedded above. “So a cop grabbed her arm and flipped her to the ground after she and him were arguing about him cursing at us,” Thomas said. When two teens went toward the cop to help the girl, they were accused of sneaking up on the cop to attack. “So a cop yelled 'get those motherf*****s' and they chased [us] with guns out. That's why in the video I started running,” Thomas said. "I was scared because all I could think was, 'Don't shoot me,'" he said.

There are a few takeaways here, besides the obvious one that white police officers are often very quick to resort to force or the threat of force with black citizens of any age. If you haven't been living in a cave your whole life you already knew that. The really sad infuriating thing on display here is what the black children learned. They learned that just being in a "white" area when someone thinks you shouldn't be there can be hazardous to your health. They learned that the police really don't care about their constitutional right to assemble or use free speech. Being polite and respectable won't prevent you from being detained or arrested. And the children also learned that no adult will come to their aid. That last thing is a horrible lesson to learn. I don't see where the young woman committed any crime. And I certainly don't see where it was necessary for the cop to body slam her and sit on her. What would you do if that was your daughter, your sister, your wife, your mother, your girlfriend? 
Could you live with yourself if you did nothing? Or if you were the young woman being so treated could you ever look the same way again at the men in your life if they didn't do something? Of course the police would be very happy to shoot anyone they believed was even thinking about "interfering".  It's comforting to imagine that your loved ones would never be in that situation but that is not only foolish, but downright delusional. It's also tempting to believe that this is only a Texas problem but it's not. It's nationwide. But maybe I'm all wrong. Maybe the police were all in fear of their lives from the black kids (and apparently only the black kids), who after all may have had rifles and hand grenades stuffed in their swimwear. Of course, once again I look at the Cliven Bundy situation where police, faced with numerous men who had their own guns and weren't afraid to shoot back, somehow managed to show some restraint. There's probably a lesson to be learned there. 
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