We all have thresholds.
In whatever arena, we all have a point at which things change irreversibly.
That point, for me, was last night.
See, last night I watched a cell phone video of a group of police officers round up teenagers like they were animals, and then I watched one of those officers force his knee into the back of one of those teenagers and repeatedly shove her face into the ground and continue to pin her to the ground by burying his knee into the small of her back.
I don’t know why I’m shocked. I mean, in recent months we’ve seen example after example of law enforcement officers using what I consider to be excessive force on people. Law enforcement officers, sworn to protect the public and uphold the law, manhandling, assaulting, shooting, and killing the very citizens they were sworn to protect…
One defense of these actions is that the officers are responding to a threat. Or that the officers feel endangered in these encounters.
And whether or not I think that’s true in all cases is not the point.
The point is this: This young woman was attending a swim party.
She was wearing a swimsuit and carrying a towel.
Her “crime” was walking near the officer.
And after being brutalized, she’s crying and asking for her mother.
And here’s why it matters to me: I grew up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I know McKinney. I have friends that live in McKinney. The setting of McKinney intersects with my own story in a way that Ferguson, Orlando, Cleveland, or Baltimore never did.
There’s something about knowing the area that’s being talked about in the news reports that makes the incident more pressing for me. When we can relegate the places where these things happen to the television or radio, we can justify forming our opinions at arm’s length in spheres of theoreticals and potentialities.
I’m confronted with an urgency in making my position clear on this because I Am McKinney.
It’s the area I grew up in and the area many of my friends and family still live. I know the Dallas/Ft. Worth area intimately, and in many ways, it still feels like a home to me.
And this is why I feel like I must say something.
The actions of this officer were unequivocally unreasonable. There is no reasonable threat posed to Officer Casebolt by this young woman. It is a gross display of excessive force and it sickens me.
And Officer Casebolt should absolutely be stripped of his badge and should be forbidden from ever working in law enforcement anywhere ever again. His actions are disgraceful and reprehensible.
I stand in solidarity with my sisters and brothers in McKinney and the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex in calling for a swift response to this injustice.