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The McKinney Power Grab

Our weekly commentary from Socially Speaking

A Socially Speaking commentary from social change activist and author, Perry Redd

We often think of the term “power grab” when speaking of coups of banana republic countries in the southern hemisphere, but I want to share with you the term in a more intimate context that might change your opinion of yet another racial assault on Black Americans.

You like millions of other Americans have likely bore witness to an assault—and insult—upon Blacks in America in the Dallas suburb of McKinney police officer. The young Black teenaged girl who was forcibly restrained by a McKinney, Texas police officer as he responded to a disturbance at a pool party in a Dallas suburb over the weekend says she was an invited guest and was obeying his orders to leave when he grabbed her. 15-year old Dajerria Becton was manhandled by a law enforcement officer simply because she was the most vulnerable. As a female, Officer Eric Casebolt saw an opportunity to set an example. Grabbing this girl—a child—was simply about exuding power—that no white male in America can imagine anyone challenging.

Becton said, “And I kept walking and then I’m guessing he thought we were saying rude stuff to him.” Becton was then thrown to the ground by Casebolt, one of 12 McKinney Police Department officers who responded to the disturbance call at a private community pool Friday night. Strangely enough, Casebolt showed himself to be a one-man wrecking crew. He enters the videographer’s frame at a zillion miles-an-hour, doing a movie-type of barrel roll, onto his feet and in hot pursuit…of what? He didn’t even know who he was chasing! Watching the video he looked like a cartoonish imp hyped-up on Red Bull!

But that wasn’t the whole of it… In the video of the incident taken by a fellow teen and posted to YouTube, Casebolt, who is white, can be seen shouting obscenities and ordering some black teens to lie on the ground while telling others to disperse. He then pulls his gun on a pair of black teenagers who appear to be coming to Becton’s aid.

Pulling his gun on the Black males is the other half of the power dynamic; you see, he subconsciously knew that he might lose in a hand-to-hand with a Black male, so the equalizer for him—like George Zimmerman in Florida, like Micheal Dunn in Michigan—was a firearm. Now you know why white males so cherish their interpretation of the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.”

There are timid and shallow protests taking place in Dallas-Fort Worth, as there should be. But understand that this incident is simply validating the cries of the past 60 years. One of my favorite Malcolm X speeches

The bottom line: I want Officer Casebolt JAILED! This isn’t Casebolt’s first rodeo with insanity. Federal court documents show that Casebolt and other officers were sued in 2008 in federal court for racial profiling, harassment, failure to render aid and sexual assault. Albert E. Brown Jr. accused Casebolt of reaching into his “private area” and pulling his pants “down below ankles” during the traffic stop.

Officer Casebolt knows better. He was named the department’s Officer of the Year in 2008. Now, seven years later, Casebolt is facing outrage from the community, national media scrutiny and an internal investigation. The thing is, he was awarded that honor by his peers—that may be just as looney…and dangerous. That might’ve been called “good policing”—had it not been caught on camera.

I’m not the only American to see it this way. The National Bar Association, a network of predominantly Black attorneys, judges and law professors, called for Casebolt’s immediate firing. “It is insufficient to place him on paid administrative leave, when it is obviously clear that this officer was not enforcing the law, but instead was enforcing his will and power and showing explicit bias towards these African-American teenagers,” the Washington, D.C.-based group said. “The girl is obviously in distress and not in any manner moving or attempting to get away from the officer. She posed no physical threat to the officer.”

That’s the issue at hand: the only threat that Casebolt (‘cause he’s not going to be an officer for long) saw, was the threat to his self-indwelled power. To have anyone—especially Black children—challenge or even question his overreaction to a non-incident, is what threatened him. Even a child could see that this officer escalated the situation far beyond what was necessary. This is how many Black Americans get killed by police, including Oscar Grant in Oakland, Eric Garner in New York or Freddy Gray in Baltimore.

Of course this needs to stop, but it won’t until Black Americans band with white Liberals and diminish the unfettered power of police unions to coddle and protect civil rights violations by police. Yes, this needs to stop, but it won’t until Black Americans change their timid forms of protests that give safe haven to police. For white Americans—especially in this Dallas suburb community—who believe that the police were justified, know that they are in favor of segregated pools, schools and communities—and run afoul of the US Constitution.

Know also that conservative-minded whites in America are on the warpath; they want to “Take Their Country Back!” The only thing stopping them is the law and God…and why would they oppose them? There is a problem here: Problem 1: There’s no reason for this ADULT (who also happens to be an officer) to begin his interactions with these children in such a vile and inhumane manner. Problem 2: only Black teens were accosted and placed on the ground? Problem 3: Man-handling this teen girl is the biggest indication of a coward who wanted control–of SOMEBODY…a black girl is usually the target of white males…then, Problem 4? Pulling a GUN on someone–when your life isn’t threatened?

Why would you NOT fire this officer? Only because the victims were Black, and the terrorist was white. This incident cannot end in a “finding” from that police agency. They’re scrambling for a way to protect another lunatic in uniform—and a way out! They’ll make the “bad apple” claim—when all of the other apples covering him are bad too. If you choose to do nothing, just keep this incident on recall the next time white males with authority confront you and make “The Power Grab.”

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2 Responses to “The McKinney Power Grab”

  1. I have witnessed this injustice for 50 of my 67 years and have been a victim twice in my life; I cry out for justice along with millions of other Black females.

    • Thank you for reading the Other Side of the Tracks. Your activism– writing letters, protesting, boycotts, teaching our children–is the only way this scourge on America can come to pass.


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