As of June 9th, hundreds of protesters have marched to the McKinney, Texas swimming pool where a police officer was filmed forcing unarmed black teenagers to the ground. The incident happened when a teenage girl threw a pool party at a suburban community pool for some friends. Though most of the party-goers lived in the community, some of the town’s white residents subjected them to racist harassment, physical abuse and demands that they leave. At some point the cops were called with claims of “multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave.”
When the cops arrive things get ugly, as one officer, patrol supervisor Cpl. Eric Casebolt, forces a young girl to the ground, pulls his gun on others and harasses nearly everyone there. No one present did anything to provoke this and the other officers as well as most of the people present remained surprisingly calm, considering the uncalled for level of aggression Casebolt displayed. That is aggression directed exclusively at the black party-goers, and not any of the white teenagers on the scene. Fortunately no one was killed, unlike in other recent high profile cases of unarmed black Americans confronted by the police. The names Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice come to mind.
Though Casebolt has since resigned in the face of public pressure, one is saddened by the existence of McKinney residents who support his grossly inappropriate actions. Racism is alive and well in America, and the Dallas suburbs are no exception — nor are police departments. Such incidents highlight the fact that black Americans cannot trust police to “protect and serve” them, even in the most innocuous circumstances. This is hardly surprising as most of the laws police enforce, from drugs to building codes tend to target ethnic minorities. It is little wonder that so many cops see minorities as the enemy. Of course, even for white Americans police presence often does little more than make a situation worse.
The police are by definition government bureaucrats with the power of force. The state grants them a monopoly of violence, and shelters them from any competition, leaving us with cruel and often incompetent results. Most of the laws police enforce are petty tyrannies that only enrich the state and fill prisons. We do not need the land-use policies, zoning codes, and building codes, that confine poor people to ghettos, nor do we need the prohibitions on marijuana and sex work that imprison those trying to find a temporary escape from these situations. Furthermore we do not need arbitrary licensing requirements that keep everything from hair braiders to taxi-drivers in short supply. Enforcing all of these laws requires huge expenses from the tax-payers, and they all serve to keep people poorer. Additionally it requires vast numbers of police who are often worse than as the alleged “thugs” the are supposedly policing.
Thankfully the internet and smart phones allow everyone see cops in action. Many Americans now reconsider ever asking the police for help, and more of us support rolling back the laws they spend most of their time enforcing. A more peaceful society means putting more cops out of business.