On Saturday in McKinney, Texas, the police were called to the scene of what was referred to as a “minor disturbance” involving children at a community pool. It is unclear what the disturbance was, but many who often leap to race have claimed the call was simply too many black kids in a white neighborhood; nevertheless there have been claims the call referenced youth, and never mentioned violence or weapons. As the police arrived on scene, Officer Eric Casebolt acted as if he was in Compton dealing with the Bloods and Crips. The episode was captured on video, and it quickly becomes obvious that Casebolt should never be allowed to carry a weapon, and is far more dangerous to the local community than anyone appearing on the video.
We have had a couple years of police events that have brought race relations into the discussion. The desperate need to race bait and politicize the issue has limited the opportunity for progress. In some of the cases, I have felt unwelcome on both sides of the issue recognizing that the cases were rarely discussed in a factual manner by either side. Urban minority communities often attempt to place blame on everyone else for the problems within their communities, while law enforcement within these communities have a history of abusing their authority beyond anything that should be accepted by all Americans. I will not stand on the sidelines related to this event.
It has been a little over an hour since I viewed the video, and my jaw is still slightly clinched. I am still full of anger while fighting a desire for Officer Eric Casebolt to feel physical pain; similar to what may have happened to him if he walked upon a tribe of Comanche Indians in North Texas during the 18th Century. Maybe it’s because I have a daughter of similar age to the child he manhandled, or maybe it’s because I recognize that many police officers in America routinely abuse citizens without consequence. It is likely a little of both, which causes me to strongly wish friends and family of the female youth victim in the video are surrounding her parents to ensure they do not take action that I know I would desire. As I watched the video, it became obvious that Officer Eric Casebolt who is a tiny man has some form of “Napoleon Complex”, and is compensating for it with a badge, gun, and routine abuse of anyone that he feels authority over. None of the other officers acted nearly as ignorant as Officer Casebolt who eventually drew his weapon on these children as his mental stability dissolved.
As this story unfolds, the police officers that appeared to be “angelic” in comparison to Officer Casebolt will likely not be scrutinized, but their inaction is more of a problem that Casebolt’s actions. The long history of the “Blue Code”, where police officers do not “rat” on other members of law enforcement is part of the same culture that prevented these officers from stepping in to control Officer Casebolt. In the video, multiple officers witness Casebolt’s actions, and should have demanded he get control of himself while placing him in custody. It is still their job to protect the public, even when the threat is from within their “blue family”.
Since the beginning of recorded history, law enforcement has ultimately been abusive towards lower socioeconomic members of the community. Sadly, this is partly related to human nature and partly some of the more common types of personalities that seek law enforcement careers. Unchecked authority almost always results in abuse, and law enforcement understands that they are much more likely to avoid consequence when they abuse their authority in areas where people cannot often afford to hire a prominent lawyer, or are unable to call the mayor at home. The only true combat against this is for strong controls to be implemented, and significant consequences when it does take place. Items such as body cameras will help, but more importantly the “Blue Code” needs a sledgehammer taken to it repeatedly. This can be accomplished with legislation that charges law enforcement officers with the same crime as an officer that commits a crime if they have any knowledge, but fail to report. Those who claim that the “vast majority of police officers do abuse their power” are living in a fantasy world, because even if the “vast majority” do not take direct criminal actions, the “vast majority” do stay silent when they do witness abuse; which in itself becomes an abuse of power. Secondly, studies have shown a handful of personalities seek careers in law enforcement, and while a few types are of great quality, just as many are the exact opposite of the type that we should desire for these roles. Individuals that seek power over others, enjoy intimidation of others, or simply adulation easily acquired when carrying a weapon should not be members of law enforcement. Still, some studies have indicated that approximately half of those that seek careers in law enforcement fall into these categories. We need to implement better screening, especially mental evaluations, while quickly weeding out the individuals that demonstrate these traits on the job. This is not a “black vs. white” issue, but one of those with the ability to abuse vs. those who have little protection against abuse. Indirectly, low income urban American neighborhoods create a perfect opportunity.
I have never considered myself anti-police, but I will always be anti-abusive police. Today, I am anti Officer Eric Casebolt. He should immediately lose his job, and it would
be a crime against humanity if he is ever allowed to carry a weapon in an official role for the remainder of his life. He should also be criminally charged for the abuse he demonstrated. All of the other police officers on scene that failed to prevent Officer Casebolt from continuing should at the very least be reprimanded if not criminally charged themselves. If a surgeon is negligent, and medical staff was aware without calling attention to the negligence, nobody remains free from consequences. This is the same for most other professions in America, and it is time American law enforcement to seek higher standards, or deal with a long overdue reality. Hopefully the young female in the video gets justice for the abuse she suffered, and her family can get beyond the anger that is likely overtaken their emotions.