Wednesday, June 10, 2015

McKinney Pool Party

So a pool party was set-up by a DJ in Texas, and he didn't have permission to use the pool. The police were called in to stop people trespassing, and one cop pulled a gun? Who's wrong here?

Everyone. The DJ was wrong to encourage mass trespass, the crowd was wrong to trespass, and the cop was wrong to throw people around. If you watch the video, you will see a group of kids being told by a cop, politely, not to run when the police tell them to stop, and behave. The kid taking the video felt comfortable enough to return the officer's dropped flashlight.

Then Sarge comes on camera. Sarge is pulling people to the ground and walks over to the kids having the polite conversation and orders them to the ground, cursing at them. Sarge is aggressive, shouting at people and ordering randomly selected people to the ground and cursing at people.

But it's not quite random - the white boy with the video is flatly ignored, and everyone Sarge orders to the ground is black and almost all of them are male. He doesn't attempt to confirm where they live, telling residents to go home. He doesn't order the white kids in the mob to leave. He only orders the black boys to the ground.

Until this one stubborn black girl keeps walking around in among Sarge's group he's put on the ground, and Sarge grabs her and forces her down. Immediately, the group with her surrounds Sarge, and he shoves several of them back. Two exceptionally stupid boys aggressively flank Sarge and he draws his gun by reflex. That move on his part is unobjectionable - it really looked like they were trying to attack him.

It's the rest of it that's genuinely objectionable: the belligerent attitude that is unmatched by the other officers, the focus on the black boys in the area, and his general jackboot attitude. Most of his victims are actually polite - they don't talk back, they address him respectfully. He doesn't care.

The problem here is that the other officers on-scene did not feel the need to be rampaging jackasses, so clearly Sarge made a bad call. It appears that he dumped everyone black into the "problem" category and grabbed people at random.

The officer needs to be disciplined - not for drawing his weapon, because that was totally justified, but for his actions and general demeanor. That level of aggression and belligerence was unjustified. It's not illegal, but that doesn't make it OK.

This was written before Sarge resigned. I don't know that this is an appropriate punishment, but I will trust the judgment of those who know Sarge's history. I also feel pretty good that the police chief mirrors my thoughts on the matter. Again, it was not drawing the gun that made the difference.

Don't forget, you can share this piece, and any of others, and it would be a big help. Rand Paul's speech in Baltimore County is coming Friday, so keep an eye out.

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