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On Saturday, an incident involving a white police officer pointing his gun at a group of unarmed black teenagers was caught on film. After the video went viral on Internet, which showed the officer throwing a 14-year-old girl to the ground and then sitting on her, the officer was put on administrative leave.
The incident took place in McKinney, Texas, a city of 140,000 residents around 30 miles north of Dallas. Like other cities that have been victims to police brutality, including Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, McKinney has a predominately white population, with black people only making up around 10 percent of city residents. This police brutality incident is the just the next in an unfortunate string events that have been coming all too common across the U.S.
The video starts off with several police officers running through a crowded residential block, where the disturbance call was made at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool. The aftermath of the pool party was chaotic, with teens running in every direction and fleeing from the police. Though, one officer stands out among those who are trying to take control of the situation. The white police officer acts very agitated, and first appears in the video running through a crowd after an unknown individual, tripping over the sidewalk, and falling to the ground.
The climax of the police brutality, around the three-minute mark of the video, happens when the white police officer tries to arrested a young black female in a bikini, who is wrestling with the officer as he grabs her, and then throws her to the ground. As he is trying to put her in handcuffs, two young black males run up beside the officer in protest of the brutality. The officer sees them and immediately draws his gun and points it towards them at close range, sparking even more unrest in the already serious situation. When the two young men run off, the officer turns his attention back on the helpless girl, grabbing her and shoving her face into the ground. Throughout the incident, the girl is frantically yelling, “Call my Mom!”
According to Police Chief Greg Conley, the girl was not charged with a crime, and released to her parents. Conley stated one young male was arrested that fled from the scene. After the video showing the police brutality surfaced, the officer was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.
The McKinney Police Department released a statement on Sunday, stating there were multiple calls from residents in the neighborhood where the pool is located, saying there were, “juveniles…actively fighting” at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool. Three officers initially responded to the incident, but nine more were called due to the large crowd. This video has raised many concerns in a time when police brutality is a much too common occurrence.
Brandon Brooks, the person that uploaded the video to YouTube, wrote in its description area that police were called to the pool after, “a fight between a mom and a girl broke out.” Brooks then stated when the officer showed up, everyone fled the area, “including the people who didn’t do anything.” Dozens of teenagers were put in handcuffs as the video ends, nearly all of whom were released without charges.
This incident of police brutality seems to have unfolded similar to others that have happened around the country. Brooks stated that those who ran from the police included people, “who didn’t do anything.” Therefore, this put innocent teens in harms way due to their own skittishness. As one can imagine, if a group of police officers show up and someone begins running away, it makes them look like they have committed a crime.
In this incident, some of the blame can be put on the teenagers who did not follow the officer’s orders. Although he was acting in an irate manner, that does not mean the teens should have fled. This only caused more innocent bystanders to be arrested. Though, that goes without saying that there is absolutely no reason the white police officer should have thrown the bikini-clad girl to the ground. It can be seen from the video that she did not pose a threat. With the multiple police brutality instances that happen nearly every month, the nation wants answers to why these events happen so frequently.
Opinion by Alex Lemieux
Mashable: Texas cop on leave after video shows him pointing gun at unarmed black teens
Photo Courtesy of Elvert Barnes ‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License