On Monday, reactions continued to sink in after stunning video footage emerged showing white police officers in McKinney, Texas, assaulting a group of unarmed black pool-goers Friday night.
In the video, Eric Casebolt and fellow officers confronted the kids, allegedly after a complaint that they were using a local community pool without permission. At one point, Casebolt pulled his gun on a number of teenagers and at another, used excessive force to immobilize Dajerria Becton, a 15-year-old girl in a bikini.
Reactions on Twitter to the police aggression was swift, with many criticizing the officer and pointing out the larger hypocrisy of his behavior. Few posts, however, captured the wrenching double standard quite like this:
The tweet, which amassed more than 6,000 retweets as of Monday morning, showed Casebolt with his knee firmly pressed into Becton's back against another picture of police calmly standing by suspects in the Waco, Texas, biker gang shooting which left nine dead last month. Even before McKinney, the police response to the Texas massacre was widely criticized for its gentle approach.
Becton — who notably did not participate in the killing of nine people — later described the abuse she suffered to local Fox 4 News and how Casebolt refused to let up despite the pain in her back.
While Casebolt was suspended and local police officials expressed outrage, it does little to change what has become an increasingly disturbing pattern in American law enforcement, where black guilt is presumed and aggression becomes the norm. While thankfully no guns were fired this time, a string of police violence in recent months shows how real a possibility it has become.
Freddie Gray had also committed no crime when police in Baltimore violently arrested him in April. Gray later died in police custody under suspicious circumstances in what was later ruled a homicide. Six officers were ultimately indicted in connection to his death after days of protesting. The only crime 12-year-old Tamir Rice committed before he was shot dead by police in Cleveland was playing with a toy gun. Walter Scott, a middle-aged black man, was all but executed by an officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, who shot him in the back as he attempted to run away.
The truth is, McKinney could have been a lot worse and everyone can be thankful that things did not escalate. The behavior shown by officers would, however, be almost unthinkable toward a group of white suspects as the example of the Texas biker gang clearly demonstrates. These kinds of disparities delegitimize police everywhere and a better approach is sorely needed.