Recently a video surfaced on Youtube that rocked cyberspace. Captured on a cell phone, the seven-minute clip shows a crowd of swimsuit-clad youth in a suburban Texas neighborhood, milling around anxiously while several police officers questioned them and forced some onto the ground.
The scene escalated as one particular officer began shouting and cursing at several juveniles, going so far as to throw one fourteen-year-old girl violently to the ground and handcuff her while sitting on her back with his knees. When a few of her friends rushed forward to help, the officer pulled out his gun and ran them off. This video now has more than 12,000,000 views.
A CNN article delves deeper into the event: some neighbors have come forward to say that the police were called because the kids were partying at the neighborhood pool without permission. Others say the commotion was brought on by a disturbance unrelated to the teens throwing the pool party. No matter what way you look at it, the image of a police officer kneeling on a teen girl leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Can anything good come out of a story like this one?
When I take a step back, I realize that while this incident never should have happened, I am glad it has at least received so much attention. The police officer in question, Eric Casebolt, has been rebuked far and wide across the inter-webs, and thousands have called for the removal of his police badge. Last Monday he did resign from the force after being placed on suspension, and the police chief of the McKinney, Texas police department pronounced Casebolt’s actions “indefensible,” adding that a full investigation will be launched. Television host Bill Maher spoke on the incident, voicing his opinion that this kind of behavior can and should be weeded out. His colleague on the panel added that, “This time we can have the conversation without a body on the ground.”
Situations like this one arise all the time. Unnecessary violence is often facilitated against the unarmed or innocent, whether it be a police man against young girl, an abusive husband against his spouse, or a person of influence against a subordinate. When these events are brought to light, as was this one in Texas, the population has a chance to see inequality and mistreatment in real time, and identify problems and solutions in their own neighborhoods and in their own lives.