Another American police officer is on leave now after pulling his gun on unarmed teenagers and manhandling a 14 year old girl. The police officer is reported to be Corporal Eric Casebolt who responded to calls at Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas today.
According to the 15-year-old who shot the video that has gone viral across social media, the party that police were called to was an “end of school celebration” and that the white parents were upset at the number of black children who had come to the community pool. After the police were called, they were welcomed by a scene of non-compliance and had to summon further units. It is after this that the 14-year-old girl was violently subdued by Corporal Eric Casebolt. She was later released to her parents without any charges being brought against her.
Corporal Eric Casebolt’s actions come in the recent high profile cases of police racism, also referred to as bias, in Ferguson and Baltimore in the past few months that have resulted in public outcry. While Twitter feeds and Facebook newsfeeds fill up with #McKinney posts, it is important to recognize that the anger felt nationwide is totally understandable.
First of all, police officers have no right to manhandle anyone who is not actively non-compliant and a threat to them. I fail to see how Corporal Casebolt could have thought that a 14-year-old girl in a bikini crying out for her mother could have been a threat to him as he shoved her face into the ground.
Second of all, when watching the video, it is clear that the Corporal Casebolt made some extremely poor decisions. The only people in the video who are treated in a disrespectful and out of control manner are African Americans. The only people told to hit the ground and stay there are African Americans. Meanwhile, an overweight white man walks around freely and Corporal Casebolt even allows him to manhandle other Black children, and obviously allows a white teen to film the entire scene.
Who comes to the aid of the girl whose face was slammed into the ground? Well, her friends do, until they are chased away when Corporal Casebolt pulls his gun on the unarmed boys. Then for a moment, the viewer might think that the group of overweight white men might actually come to her aid, but alas, they don’t. Instead, they gawk and try to shoe the remaining teens away while Corporal Casebolt keeps the girl face down on the ground.
To add to the horror, Corporal Casebolt begins to lecture two teen boys about how they were not good listeners and had therefore become “part of the mob” which is why they were now in trouble.
I will not sit here and assume that Corporal Casebolt is a raging racist, because I do not know him. But I am mad and disgusted just as much as everyone else who hears about behaviour like this. Corporal Casebolt made decisions and acted in a way that was extremely racist and therefor, unprofessional and unfortunately very reflective of numerous problems that have surfaced in the United States since Ferguson and Baltimore.
Corporal Casebolt had no reason to treat a 14-year-old girl so violently. He also had no reason to not ensure that all of the white people present were also “hitting the ground and staying there” while the situation was handled. He and all officers responding had no reason to allow a man to step in on their behalf and handle children in this situation.
More and more people suggest that events like this are reflective of the police force in America. I would argue that this is not reflective of simply the police force, so much as it is reflective of hundreds of years of issues that have been ingrained within American society. Rather, I think that these cases of police brutality have become the boiling point of these issues within American society and hopefully, the nation will see that it does have problems and that changes must be made to prevent events like these from happening chronically and at more serious scales.