There are multiple websites with articles posted about this incident, but I decided to choose this article from CNN since the title got my attention the most.
In my opinion, did race play a role in the incident? Honestly, it is hard for me to go either way. As an African American/Black man, I do have a subjective outlook on incidents like these involving the police, but I am going to try to respond with the least bias response possible. So my answer is………………….yes. I think race played a role. Now, how much of a role? I am not sure. Let me dive in.
There are multiple accounts stating that there was a disturbance within the neighborhood community. If this is the case, regardless of the race of the people (in this case mostly black), I am not surprised that the police were called. Normal Procedure. Now, according to the accounts of the teens, white residents were hurling various racial slurs at the teens. Regardless of how the teens were acting, that is no way for adults to act. The fact that a white adult woman and a black teenager girl got into a physical altercation is inexcusable from both sides. The teens should have not been acting in the manner that they supposedly were and the adults who were making racial remarks and being physical should not have done so. I think this overall racially charged encounter was a big part of why the police were called.
Now to the police. Besides the obvious fact that they were only addressing the black teenagers, it is hard to officially say they were acting in this manner due to race. It is easy to say it was because of all the incidents between white police officers and black citizens we have seen in this country lately, but this was not as obvious as some of the previous ones. I put more focus on their handling of the situation trained (and I use that term loosely) officers.
The officer in the video was doing too much while dealing with these teen, in my opinion. The yelling was expected of course, but once you start throwing a teen girl down to the ground with force and then pulling your gun out on two other teens, I think you are acting too aggressively in this case. I see that many may believe it was justifiable due to how the scene was unfolding, but seriously, no. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t pulling a gun out (with the threat of using on) a last resort kind of tactic? In the video, I do not see how he can see himself being in danger, like some are trying to say to justify him pulling out his gun. He was looking right at the teens and they were not doing anything in an aggressive manner. Were they disobeying orders? Probably yes. Were they being violent and dangerous? No. No gun needed.
I understand that the scene was chaotic and they needed control. However, just because you are dealing with a group of rowdy teens, does not mean you need to get violent. That is only justifiable if they are becoming violent with you or anyone else. Based on what we have seen and heard, that did not happen.
So, to be fair, it is both possible that the officer acted in this manner due to the crowd being mainly black teens or that he was not. However, I think his actions were unnecessary for this situation, and he should have handled it in a better way. We can put focus on the race part, but we need to put just as much focus on how police officers are trained to handle specific situations.
Also, what were the other officers doing?? They sure were not acting like him because we all know there would have been videos putting them on blast too. I think they were probably acting more professionally
Long post short, like I said in the beginning, I do think race played a role……….but that’s just my opinion tho!