As I was attempting to relax and unwind on a Sunday afternoon at my local Starbucks, I happened upon the McKinney, Texas police video taken on Friday, June 5 of excessive force used once again on blacks. This time, it was an out of control police officer using excessive force and treating black teenagers at a Texas community pool as if they were visiting a whites only pool in the Jim Crow south in 1950. The only thing he needed to be truly reminiscent of the 1950’s were the police dogs, batons and hoses. I hope we will not ever go back to those days. The video is set forth here.
The back story is apparently police were called to a community pool for a disturbance. The video shows the clearly disturbing activity was the police and the treatment of young blacks in bathing suits and pool attire. Gawker spoke with the individual filming the video.
There are so many issues that can be addressed by the video starting with the excessive force by an out of control angry police officer used towards what appears to be law abiding teenagers. Then there’s the question of how verbally abusive the police officer acted towards the crowd of black teenagers. And notice in the video that none of the black teenagers acted inappropriately towards the officer at any time shown. There’s the level of lack of respect, profanity and over the top excessive force towards a young girl in a bathing suit. There’s not much threat a tiny teenager in a two piece bikini can be to a police officer. And yet, the officer depicted in the video held her down while she lay crying on the ground with him on top, exhibiting extreme force on her small body. As an African American, it’s difficult to explain the actions of this police officer to black teenagers. How does one prepare black teens for police encounters of this nature? There is no way. The only bright side is no one was killed.
While there may be some that will say the video does not show the entire incident, it shows almost 8 minutes of what I view as despicable behavior by a McKinney, Texas police officer. And it should warrant investigation, suspension and ultimately firing. Of course, the latter is not likely to occur. While others may state this was the behavior of just one police officer, the problem is there are so many officers like the ones in McKinney across the country when interacting with minorities. And I saw comments on Twitter that indicated the teenagers disobeyed a police order to leave the scene. Even assuming if that is the case, there is nothing that justifies the use of force, tackling and out of control excessive force behavior by the officer.
When I see the video through my lens as an African American and a former prosecutor, I see a police officer that needs to be terminated. Unfortunately, there are so many others like him across the country. Many police departments in this country need a total reorganization from top to bottom to weed out the bad actors. When I see incidents like the McKinney one, I see how deeply racism is embedded in this country. And then I realize how difficult it will be to rid this country of police brutality towards minorities. I wonder how everyone is not outraged at how some police officers treat blacks in 2015. And then I have to wonder to myself if it’s 1950 or 2015 in the minds of many police officers in America.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal analyst and former prosecutor. She often appears in the media addressing issues on law and race on Al Jazeera America, MSNBC, BET, CCTV- America, C-Span, NPR, PBS, RT America and others. She often contributes to the Huffington Post.