Community Condemns Pool Prejudice in McKinney, Texas

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Community Condemns Pool Prejudice in McKinney, Texas

Residents of wealthy Dallas suburb say police discrimination and violence touches all

Local news estimates that over one thousand people came out to condemn the violent and discriminatory actions of McKinney police officer Eric Casebolt. (Photo: DeRay Mckesson/Twitter)

Local news estimates that over one thousand people came out to condemn the violent and discriminatory actions of McKinney police officer Eric Casebolt. (Photo: DeRay Mckesson/Twitter)

More than a thousand outraged community members took to the streets of McKinney, Texas on Monday night, two days after a local police officer assaulted a number of black and brown teenagers attending a pool party.

As they marched roughly one mile from a local elementary school to the Craig Ranch pool where the incident occurred, demonstrators carried signs—some of which read, "My skin color is not a crime"—and chanted "Fire Him!" referring to McKinney police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, whose brutal actions were caught on video. Others rallied outside of the McKinney police station.

Casebolt, who had been with the department since 2005, was placed on administrative leave on Sunday.

"I speak for a lot of different people who live here," one community member told Reuters. "I'm angry. I've been angry all day. But to be treated that way... Thank god it wasn't my son."

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The incident, which drew comparisons to pool segregation under Jim Crow and follows recent high-profile acts of discrimination and brutality by police officers, was widely condemned after a video of the attack went viral. In the cell phone video, Casebolt is seen throwing a 15-year-old black girl in a swimsuit to the ground and then kneeling on her bare back. When others try to come to her aid, Casebolt threatens them off with his firearm.

In an interview she gave after the attack, Dajerria Becton said that Casebolt "thought we were saying rude stuff to him.

"He grabbed me, twisted my arm on my back and shoved me in the grass and started pulling the back of my braids," Becton said. "I was telling him to get off me because my back was hurting bad.

"I understand how he was feeling, everybody surrounding him," she added. "I don't think he should have pulled a gun out on 15-year-old kids."

According to reports, there was also a small counter-protest with a handful of predominantly white residents denying that racism played a role in the attack and supporting the police actions.

Unlike other recent acts of police violence in Baltimore and Ferguson, this occurred at a private pool, in a gated community within an affluent suburb of Dallas, Texas—raising particular questions about wealth and race.

Daily Beast columnist Arthur Chu wrote Monday that the dynamics of "white privilege" were on display in McKinney:

Privilege means being invisible when the police sense trouble. It means feeling like the bullets and batons will never be used against you. It means feeling safe.

It means that when disruptive harassment from uninvited guests at a planned event leads to fights breaking out, the white harassers will be ignored while the black guests will be the ones assaulted. Regardless of who initiated the dustup, being black and belligerent makes you, in Casebolt’s words, “part of the mob.”

...

Dave Chappelle once joked that the worst part of being black and wealthy was that if he were robbed, he couldn’t even call the cops. When they saw him in his house, he said, they’d instantly assume he was the burglar and shoot him. It was painful to laugh at then; it’s even harder to laugh at now, after we’ve witnessed the ridiculous spectacle of a Harvard professor arrested for trying to open his own front door.

DeRay Mckesson, an activist and organizer with Black Lives Matter, attended the demonstration and shared a number of videos and images from the march.

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