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America’s war on Black girls: Why McKinney police violence isn’t about “one bad apple”


Original post from Salon

‘……………By 

(Credit: MSNBC)
(Credit: MSNBC)

In just over two months, we will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster that ravaged communities along the Gulf Coast. This tragedy was made infinitely worse not only by decades of governmental neglect and far-ranging poverty, but also by the fact that so many Black people could not swim.

 That nearly 60 percent of Black people cannot swim is directly attributable to decades of segregated pool facilities in this country. While that problem ostensibly went away with the desegregation efforts of the mid-20th century, de facto segregation of pool facilities persists to this day, because community pools are now largely private amenities in suburban neighborhoods that many Black youth don’t have access to.

This is the backdrop of the troubling and traumatizing incident that occurred in McKinney, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, over the weekend, when 19-year-old Tatiana Rose threw a pool party and invited several friends to use the community pool in her neighborhood. Many of those friends were Black, and many of those Black friends also live in the neighborhood. At some point, as Tatiana says in a video interview, two white adult women began yelling at her and her friends to “go back where they came from,” “back to section 8 housing,” and calling them “black fuckers.” When a 14-year-old girl responded, the women further ridiculed her, prompting Tatiana to tell the adults that the girl was 14 and their comments were inappropriate. According to Tatiana’s account, the white women then approached her; one “hit her in the face” and the other began participating in the attack.

According to reports, multiple calls came into police. At least one call came from either Tatiana, her mother (who was present) or her friends, reporting that these white women had attacked the partygoers. Other calls came in from residents who reported that many Black children who were unauthorized to be there were there and fighting. Apparently, the party got larger and some children jumped over the fence to get to the party.

When the McKinney PD showed up, Officer David Eric Casebolt arrived on the scene out of control. He yelled and cursed at teenagers, who were unarmed, many of them wearing swimming trunks and bathing suits. He approached a 14-year-old girl and wrestled her to the ground as she cried and called for her mom. Even after she was seated, crying and clearly subdued, he grabbed her braids, demanded that she get on her face, and then kneeled on top of her where he remained for several minutes. It is unclear what this child did to elicit such ire, but what she did not do was verbally threaten the officer, wave a gun at him, or present a physical threat — as she is, by the look of it, just around 100 pounds, and he is a fully grown man.

When her friends attempted to come to her aid, the officer drew his gun, and waved it at them wildly and haphazardly, prompting two other officers to come over and indicate that this was inappropriate behavior. The officer stopped pointing his gun, but took several more seconds of holding it, before finally placing it back in the holster.

He has been suspended. The two adult white women who started this confrontation by reportedly slapping Tatiana Rose in the face have not been arrested or charged. A young 14-year old girl is traumatized, and a community who rallied at the police department on Monday night is outraged.

Meanwhile, many residents of the community are thankful to the police for “keeping them safe,” as one sign reportedly posted at the pool the next day said. The rest of us are now forced to endure the deeply dishonest and irrational kind of conversation on race that proceeds from the mouth of far too many white folk after these kinds of incidents occur — with stunning regularity, I might add.

Among more well-meaning interlocutors are those who keep pointing out that David Casebolt is a bad apple. “He has been suspended,” they say. What we know for sure is that a suspension is not a clear indicator that charges, the loss of a job, or a criminal conviction are forthcoming.

 Moreover, people continue to deploy the “one bad apple spoils a bunch” analogy as though the predicate of the sentence is of no consequence. Spoils. The analogy is less about the singular bad apple and more about its multiplicative bad effects on those it keeps company with. I agree that David Casebolt was particularly out of control. I agree that the other officers saw that and got him to stop waving his gun. They did not keep him from kneeling on top of the girl or berating and intimidating the other youth. This means that in a scenario where multiple children were being unfairly treated, the presence of multiple officers did not offer them substantial protection in the face one officer becoming entirely rogue.

Those officers did not demand that their colleague take a breather while they got the situation under control. They let him go on and on, half-cocked and ridiculous. The material impact of that was a bunch of children feeling unsafe and traumatized by those sworn to protect them.

The 15-year-old white kid who recorded this incident on his smartphone made it clear that what he saw was a bunch of police mistreating his Black friends, while leaving him alone entirely. For the white people who need to hear it, yes, his presence indicates that “not all white people” are racist. Clearly his parents are doing a good job raising an anti-racist teen. But if the white people who need to hear such things hope to float their consciences to safety on the back of this one kid, the ride might be bumpy. Again we don’t combat racism just by raising our children to have anti-racist attitudes. We also have to confront the systematic residential segregation and privatization that makes pools inaccessible to children who don’t have the privilege of living in suburbs.

Few white people have stood up and called out the white adult women who harassed a fellow neighbor having a pool party with her friends, and with her mother’s permission. But many white people have watched the video and concluded that the officer’s treatment of the 14-year-old girl was justified. The gender dynamics in this moment are interesting. There is no universe in which a police officer would drag a young white girl in a two-piece bathing suit by her hair, demand she put her face on the ground, and then kneel for several minutes on top of her adolescent body. If such a thing occurred, it would elicit massive moral outrage on the part of white people (and Black people, too).

But Black girls are never deemed feminine enough for their sexual and adolescent vulnerability to register for white people. They are frequently viewed as aggressors by both police and regular citizens alike, even for doing very adolescent things like mouthing off to those in authority. This is the reason why education scholars suggest that Black girls are suspended from school six times as often as white girls, because even simple adolescent forms of testing boundaries are perceived as far more aggressive based on race.

And let me be clear: Citizens have the right to “mouth off” to police. We have the right to question how we are being treated, why we are being arrested, why we are even being approached. Far too many police deploy accusations of disturbing the peace or obstructing justice to quiet citizens who question them within legal bounds. As long as we don’t threaten or enact physical harm on police officers, we can “mouth off” all we want. We don’t have to be polite to police officers, and they clearly have very little interest in being polite to us. And for those who keep demanding that we act civilly, the point is, “incivility” is not a crime.

If it were, half of America’s police forces would be behind bars.

Moreover, the violent incivility of the white women who harassed and physically assaulted these teenagers who had every right to be there escapes notice. White women have been some of the worst perpetrators of racial aggression and racial indignity in this country, but their aggressions frequently escape notice, precisely because white womanhood and the need to protect it animates the core of so much white supremacist aggression toward Black people. The domestic sphere, much to the chagrin of my fellow feminists, has long been considered the sacred domain of white women. Many a Black man was lynched in service of protecting white women’s domestic sanctity and sexual virtue. Meanwhile, white women have been emboldened by such a system for centuries to police, demean and humiliate Black people, and Black women in particular, within domestic spaces.

But you won’t see white feminists contextualizing or calling out this long history of white female bullying of Black women with less social, political or economic power than them. They leave that work to Black feminists. Meanwhile, I hope that Black men begin to understand that they don’t have a monopoly on being violently mistreated by police. Black girls are brutalized, too.

And to continue to tell Black people — as many white folks and respectable black folk on the social media threads I participated in have said — that if these children “would have just done what the officers said, none of this would have happened,” is to be deeply invested in exercises of racial ignorance. Proper behavior has never, ever protected Black people from police.

Most of these children came to a pool party with an invite, got harassed and physically assaulted by white residents who didn’t want them to be there, and then mistreated by the police. The ones who didn’t have an invite came because perhaps it was a rare opportunity to get in a clean, safe swimming pool in the heat of a Texas summer. Good policing could have dealt with this matter sans violence and without incident.

But that didn’t happen here.

Instead, the police mistreated these teens (including those who had been invited) because they started by giving the white residents the benefit of the doubt, even though good credible evidence suggests that white racial aggression spurred this incident in the first place. But Black children and Black people are never given the benefit of the doubt. We are policed first, and only ever apologized to later, if at all.

White people in the aggregate value the “safety” of their private, segregated, residential spaces far more than they value a system of policing that protects and values all lives equally. It is clear that the anxiety that many white suburban residents feel about having their communities “overrun” by Black people feels far more “traumatizing” to them than having to stand idly by while a few teens get roughed up by the police. If the cost of making white people safe is more than a few Black communities being systematically traumatized and made always to feel unsafe, then so be it. The notion of white safety has its foundations in Indigenous, Black and Brown unsafety. Until white people begin to question the violent origins of such a concept, the police will continue in the name of “white safety” to go around terrorizing communities of color, mostly with impunity.

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Brittney CooperBrittney Cooper is a contributing writer at Salon, and teaches Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers. Follow her on Twitter at@professorcrunk.

 

What Will It Take To End Unequal Treatment Of Blacks By The Police?


Original post from News One

http://player.theplatform.com/p/BCY3OC/Ha5BggifMuHL/embed/select/media/q2GnSvs34bIb

The death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore police custody is just the latest in a long line of cases fueling the current #BlackLivesMatter protest movement, which beg a coordinated solution.

Earlier this year, Angela Rye, Principal of Impact Strategies, Rev. Lennox Yearwood from the Hip Hop Caucus, and Chanelle Hardy, National Urban League‘s senior vice president for policy, discussed what can be done to end unequal treatment by the U.S. justice system.

Yearwood said in order to save our young men from being killed “at the hands of those that are supposed to protect and serve, our community must look at how we use our institutions to combat the issue.”

It isn’t just simply the issue of coming forth and saying, “OK, let’s deal with this #BlackLivesMatter,” but how do we empower organizations at this point and time in the 21st century, like the Urban League, like the NAACP, like the Black Caucus, but also new entities like #HandsUpDontShoot, like #BlackLivesMatter — which is being run by Black women and young people — like so many interesting organizations that are coming up now to deal with the …crisis that we’re facing.

Rye reminded the group that the focus for #BlackLivesMatter can’t only be on one gender. “It’s just not Black men, it’s also Black women.”

Hardy believes that our community won’t be able to “resolve this issue without really addressing the fact that implicit bias is a fact of life.”

We have stopped the conversation prematurely [by] talking about racism and “are you or are you not racist,” but there is a real important conversation about knowing that you are a biased human being, what are those biases, accepting them and making decisions as a result.

Watch Rye, Yearwood, and Hardy discuss what steps our community must take, in the video clip above.

For more information about the State of Black America Report, visit www.StateOfBlackAmerica.org or use the hashtag #SaveOurCities.  ……….’

The Dominant White Response to Baltimore Shows Why Black Residents are Justified in their Anger


Original post from Daily Kos

‘……….

  Coby DuBose on Criminal Injustice, Race, and PovertyRSS Daily Kos member  Profile
attribution: None Specified
attribution: None Specified

Imagine for a moment that a man’s neck was almost severed, nearly clean cut in the most painful way possible, while in the custody of the people charged with the duty of protecting and serving. Imagine that man died, alone, in a prison cell, while his cries for help were blatantly ignored. Now imagine that in the wake of that tragedy, a government had been infantile in its ability to explain even the basic details of what happened.

That’s the revolting reality in Baltimore. And through it all, the dominant white response was muted. From different reaches of the Internet, prominent civil rights leaders weighed in on the travesty, offering perspectives on another data point in an ever-growing body of evidence that the police state is still being mobilized against black Americans. And sure, the death of Freddie Gray received some national media attention.

But it wasn’t the concern of the average guy who looks like me. White Americans are immune to these problems, isolated from the realities of police brutality and oppression. Severed spines are a problem in the abstract, but certainly not something to get all bothered about. For some of us, the Freddie Gray travesty was another opportunity to reflect on the moral failings of the afflicted, noting that if Freddie had been a law-abiding choir boy, he wouldn’t have found himself in the crunching grasp of Baltimore’s police force. For others, it was an opportunity to remind the world that not all cops are bad, an impulse that’s certainly correct, even if ill-timed.

But the brutal death of Freddie Gray, an example of police brutality that could have reminded us all of the dangers faced by inner-city black men on a daily basis? Well, that’s just not occasion enough for us to offer an opinion.

Now imagine that in response to this one particular tragedy, the citizens of Baltimore – most of them black, but many white – rose up to question the culture of brutality that’s producedmore than 100 successful claims against police over the last few years. Imagine that in the midst of those protests, a debatable number of mostly young, mostly angry men smashed some windows, threw some rocks and bottles, and destroyed some property. A few of those men even got violent with those around them.

After sitting on the sidelines, silent at the lynching of Freddie Gray, you’d think that some property damage and non-lethal violence would fail to shake the conscience of the average white viewer. You’d be wrong.

It’s in the defense of that property – those CVS stores owned by faceless individuals and those police cars being bashed in – that we’ve seen the strongest response from the dominant element of society. Social media is a good indication, but certainly not the only one. There, on sites like Facebook and Twitter, folks have spoken up about Freddie Gray for the first time. They’ve not come to the defense of the oppressed. Rather, they’ve spoken up in condemnation of those “animals,” “thugs,” and “criminals” who are “destroying their own city.”

It’s some combination of historical illiteracy and racial animus that drives the response. The prevailing white view has been tragically non-curious from an intellectual perspective. Rather than asking what might cause a people to risk life and limb in an effort to smash to bits their own neighborhoods, we’ve responded with a stupid, incredulous look on our faces. “Look at them,” we’ve said. “Burning down their own city.” We understand that we would never do something like that – not even when our favorite hockey team failed to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. But we fail to ask that critical next question – if these people, who are in so many ways like us, would do something that we wouldn’t think of doing, what must the conditions be like to drive that behavior?

To put all of the blame on the lack of historical literacy of white folks in America would be letting too many off the hook. Even if they don’t know about the history of red-lining, the effects of the drug war, and how Jim Crow has shape-shifted into the modern criminal justice apparatus, many of these people would be unmoved if their eyes would open. Simply put, for them, it’s racial animus that drives the boat.

But white Americans, many by their own choosing, are painfully unaware of the historical context in which a mostly-black protest in Baltimore might take place. What are these people so mad about? we ask, as if the answers are too complicated to be discerned from one extended reading of anything by Ta-Nehisi Coates or Greg Howard.

As a white man, I’m in little position to pass judgment on the behavior of people so beaten down that they have little hope. I’m certainly not in a position to offer the tired white liberal tripe, asking black folks in places like Baltimore to sit quietly and trust the system, waiting for me and those like me to rescue them through legitimate democratic means. While rioting, looting, and lighting stuff on fire is certainly not a productive way to achieve equality and realcivil rights, I won’t lie to these people and tell them that by doing so, they’re undermining progress that might have been made through legitimate protesting.

That’s because I understand the unfortunate reality that powers this kind of destructive protesting. That is – these people are aware in a way I can never be aware, that whether they choose to jump on cars, sing Civil Rights hymns, hold signs, or stage peaceful letter writing campaigns to their local congressperson, the situation is going to stay mostly the same.

Why do you see destructive rioting and looting? It’s not because people think it’s the best way to get things done. It’s because the people have finally come to realize that no matter what they do, nothing gets done. No matter how loud they scream, the system still crushes them under its weighty wheels. Their macro situation in many ways mirrors their individual situations. These people are expressing not just anger and frustration at another black man killed by another group of police officers. Rather, they’re expressing anger and frustration at a socio-economic reality in which they are the bones and scraps left over after the best meat’s been taken.Despite living in the wealthiest state in the country, the residents of Baltimore’s inner city find themselves in abject poverty. No group is hit harder than young people. In fact the child poverty rate in Baltimore is 36.5-percent, according to a 2014 report by Catholic Charities of Maryland. Around two in every three high school students will graduate, a number that is even an improvement over how things were just a few years ago.

These are young people who live in communities torn to pieces by the War on Drugs, where violence is the norm. They’re young people who are considered a “success story” if they achieve what people in my community would call the base level of productive existence – graduating high school without dying or being sent to prison. They’re young people who, if they were to achieve what my parents would call success, will be a story so rare that Hollywood might come calling for the movie rights. The handful of young people who escape horrible Baltimore neighborhoods and find themselves in the middle class are the exception that proves the rule.

And they’re smart enough to know it. Centuries of oppression, and more specifically, decades of policies targeted at the economic destruction of black communities in places like Baltimore, have led to this reality. They’re the bubbling furnace that powers the kind of frustration necessary for destructive protesting.

As a white male, I don’t particularly care for looting and rioting. I wouldn’t like to be one of the store or property owners who will have to replace or rebuild. But I’m forced to recognize this destruction as the final option for a group of people so systematically disenfranchised that their voices have not been heard. And I have to ask myself a difficult question – who is the worse moral monster: The young man whose hopelessness leads him to jump on the hood of a cop car, or me, a person who has acquiesced to a system that creates justified hopelessness among young people in places like Baltimore?

When we, as white folks, seem more eager to speak up in defense of property than we are to speak up in defense of another slain black man, we demonstrate that the righteous anger of those doing the rioting is justified. We show that our unwillingness to invest resources in their future is not a coincidence, but rather, the intentional workmanship of our decrepit value system, which tosses away young black men as readily today as it did 200 years ago.

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO COBY DUBOSE ON CRIMINAL INJUSTICE, RACE, AND POVERTY ON TUE APR 28, 2015 AT 11:30 AM PDT.

ALSO REPUBLISHED BY SUPPORT THE DREAM DEFENDERS, BARRIERS AND BRIDGES, WHITE PRIVILEGE WORKING GROUP, AND BLACK KOS COMMUNITY.  ……………’

 

 

Report confirms that police killed Natasha McKenna with her hands cuffed and legs shackled


Original post from Daily Kos

‘……………Shaun King

Natasha McKenna

Natasha McKenna
This is unacceptable.

A mentally ill woman who died after a stun gun was used on her at the Fairfax County jail in February was restrained with handcuffs behind her back, leg shackles and a mask when a sheriff’s deputy shocked her four times, incident reports obtained by The Washington Post show.

This woman was Natasha McKenna, a petite mother of a young child. Any explanation as to why it was acceptable to use a Taser four times on a woman whose hands are handcuffed behind her back, legs restrained, with a mask on is completely bogus.

Numerous experts said the use of a stun gun on a fully restrained prisoner was an unreasonable use of force, particularly in a jail setting where a person is unlikely to flee. They also said Tasers are not recommended for use on the mentally ill, that even the Taser manufacturer warns against using them on people in a state of “excited delirium,” and that using a stun gun more than three times is thought to be above the threshold for use on a single person.“She wasn’t a threat; she wasn’t going anywhere; she was restrained,” said Richard Lichten, a use-of-force expert and former jail official in Los Angeles. “It feels excessive, unnecessary and out of policy, based on what you’re telling me.”

The truth is, though, that police have been covering up the real details on Natasha’s death for months. Furthermore, multiple sources told NBC that police detectives were denied access to the Fairfax County jail for their investigation into her death. Only after two months of pressure was it revealed that Natasha McKenna was as physically restrained as a human being could possibly be when she was tasered over and over and over and over again.Even after all of this, police are not quite clear on why Natasha McKenna was even jailed in the first place. On the day she was arrested, she had actually called the police herself to report being assaulted and appeared to be struggling mightily with mental illness before she bounced around between hospitals and jails for days.

As a nation, we have clearly set ourselves up for failure with mental health. In need of compassionate care, Natasha McKenna instead received violent brutality.

 ORIGINALLY POSTED TO SHAUNKING ON MON APR 13, 2015 AT 05:07 PM BST.

ALSO REPUBLISHED BY SUPPORT THE DREAM DEFENDERS AND DAILY KOS.  ………..’

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