The mistreatment of minorities in America has transversed many centuries. A friend of mine, Aryana Rhodes, has witnessed it firsthand.
Aryana and I attend the same high school in Chicago, but Aryana lived in Texas for three years, where she witnessed the use of excessive force by a white cop, Eric Casebolt, at a pool party, against a 15-year-old African American female, Dajerria Becton.
It was June 2015, when the incident happened, and here is Aryana’s side of it:
“It all started with the pool security, they claimed that we weren’t allowed to have more than 3 kids per key card, and my mom knew this wasn’t true because she has five children in her household and there was never a problem with all of us going to the pool. Then they said that there were no pool parties allowed because it’s a gated community, but they didn’t say anything to the white family that was having a pool party.” said Aryana.
“A man that lived in the neighborhood called the cops and said ‘a bunch of black kids are invading a gated community pool’, so when the cops came they targeted all the black kids.”
“ When all of the officers started arresting everyone there, many people tried to walk away from the scene, but one of the officers swung Dejarria down. So Dejarria was basically like ‘this isn’t fair’ and that’s when the cop swung her on the ground and starting sitting on her.”
A teenager who was at the pool party recorded the incident.
When the footage first starts, two officers can be seen sprinting towards the group of teenagers who were standing, and one can be seen doing an unnecessary tuck and roll move.
It can also be seen in the footage that when the police arrived, many African -American boys were ordered to lie on the ground and were cuffed, yet they were simply standing outside. The graphic image of Casebolt grabbing Dajerria by her arm and throwing her on the ground really caused outage in the black community. Casebolt then proceeded to repeatedly throw Dajerria on the ground, even though she was complying, and started to sit on her back as she lie still on the ground.
When an African-American male walked towards Casebolt sitting on Dajerria to tell him that she couldn’t breathe, Casebolt then pulled his gun and chased off the boy holding the gun loosely in one hand.
“I do feel like it was a racial attack,” said Aryana.
I think the whole protocol was messy and unnecessary, no questions were asked, there was no violence taking place when the police arrived on the scene, yet force was used.
“The boy that was recording was Caucasian and the police only told him to back up while he was shoving Dajerria’s head into the ground,” said Aryana.
Officer Casebolt, thankfully, was fired four days after the incident occurred. Incidents like this prove that police need proper training on how to approach situations without using such force, especially on teenagers. More extreme cases, such as unarmed African-Americans being killed by white cops, exhibit why it’s important to have the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement. Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Ezell Ford, and Rodney King are all names of just a few African American who were unarmed, yet died at the hands of the police. Racial stereotypes should not be a factor in the protocol that police follow when arresting an individual. We as Americans need to acknowledge that unarmed citizens shouldn’t be getting killed by the force that is supposed to protect us.
“Black Lives Matter is a movement to make us [African-Americans] known and seen as humans, and not criminals or savages,” said Aryana.
It is important for us to address the ongoing issue of police brutality, and the privileges that the police have. Instead of immediately pulling out a weapon and using force unncessarily, officers should be trained to use methods to calm the person or result or use a Taser before their gun. Many officers seem to panic when they’re confronted with a simple problem. For example, police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile after Castile announced that he was going to pull out his wallet. He even told Yanez that he was licensed to carry a weapon. Castile was bleeding in the car while his girlfriend recorded the shooting, Yanez still pointed the gun at him after he shot Castile while Castile’s daughter was in the back seat witnessing the whole scene.
Police officers are becoming the suspects themselves while we become their victims.