If you have even glanced at social media over the past couple days, you have almost certainly seen people posting a video of the police response to a bunch of African American kids at a pool party in McKinney, Texas. A resident of the predominantly white neighborhood wasn’t very happy about how dark the pool was getting, so she called the police and placed a complaint. In the video, we see an officer grabbing a 14 year old girl in a bikini, roughly and humiliatingly tossing her around a couple times, and then–as she cried for her mother–catching his breath while resting on top of the girl with his knee in her back. You can watch the entire video below….
If you’re anything like me, you probably watched a couple minutes and then stopped–Either because of ADD or probably because I just didn’t feel like I could stomach it. But please, go back and watch the entire video. I’ve watched it twice now, and as uncomfortable as it is, it is important to watch. Please watch it until the end.
You might be a person who watches this video and thinks, “Those kids got what they deserved. It’s their fault. Where were their parents?” <–These sorts of things. But if you look at the video, you’ll notice that there were all kinds of kids–of many colors–walking around in that neighborhood. And the only ones who were demanded to sit down and submit were the ones with dark skin. And I heard those kids being very respectful…. They were afraid and confused, but they were very respectful–ESPECIALLY for adolescents. Then, as a grown man assaulted a 14 year old girl for not moving fast enough, people naturally came to her defense. And the officer drew his gun. It is very fortunate that no one got shot as a result of this pool party…. So there’s one good thing. One thing’s for sure, though: If that officer had shot and killed someone who came to that girl’s defense AND THERE WASN’T VIDEO BEING TAKEN, he would have never been convicted. Even WITH video, he probably wouldn’t get convicted.
And I know, I know…. We have a black president, so racism is over, right? If you are a person who believes that racism isn’t really an issue anymore, PLEASE watch this….
So what’s the good news? The good news is this. Just about every person walking around right now has a really good video camera on them at all times. I’m annoyed by people staring at their phones instead of looking at each other just as much as the next guy, but there are good things about everyone having a cell phone, and the video of that cop tossing around that little girl is one of them. A little over 60 years ago, video cameras showed the world the brutality and injustice that many black folks were dealing with every day in Alabama, and those images of people getting bit by dogs and kids tumbling down the streets at the end of firehoses helped change the consciousness of the the country. Something deep inside of us cried out, “THIS IS NOT RIGHT!” And I believe that all these videos of police brutality and injustice–utilizing the normally colossal time-wasters of the internet and omnipresent smart phones–are having the same effect. Here is another amazing about why it’s so important to film police officers. I’m begging you to watch it….
And it is a shameful thing that it is taking so many of these sorts of videos to have people feel like they need to speak up. That is why it is so important to watch these videos when they surface. It is uncomfortable to watch, but we owe it to the people who are being abused and humiliated in even killed in these videos to sit through them. We owe it to our own souls! Let these videos make you angry, especially if that’s what it takes to make you act. Don’t just cynically pass over them. WATCH THEM! Let them break your heart…. Over and over again, if that’s what is takes. Watch them until your heart breaks for that little girl just like your heart would break for your own daughter as she lied there on the ground with that officer’s knee in her back. Watch them until you love a stranger’s child the same way you love your own.