I am sure you remember the viral video from three years ago, where 15-year old Dajerria Becton was violently arrested by a police officer at a pool party in McKinney, Texas.
This story is originally from 2018 but passed by us, so we are sharing it again!
As Teen Vogue reported:
Dajerria’s case was also recently in the news following the announcement of a $148,000 settlement in the lawsuit she brought against the city of McKinney and the officer who arrested her, Eric Casebolt. A statement from the city provided to Teen Vogue in response to a request for comment on the case called the events at the heart of the case “regrettable” and expressed “thanks to the community for its commitment to inclusiveness, order, and unity.” Casebolt resigned a few days after the incident.
The settlement announcement came shortly after McKinney mayor George Fuller referred to Becton as “a verbally abusive, disobedient girl” in an email to Dominique Alexander, a local activist who organized several protests following Dajerria’s arrest in the summer of 2015. Fuller’s email also described Casebolt in critical terms.
“He was the one who was verbally abusive,” Dajerria’s attorney, Howard University School of Law grad Kim T. Cole, tells Teen Vogue, referring to Casebolt.
“You’re not afraid of white people who pose an actual threat, who walk out of shooting up a church or a school without a scratch on them, but you are afraid of a Black girl and her ‘tone’?” Cole says. “Watch the video – she never used a cuss word, never talked back to him – all she did was repeatedly ask someone to call her mama,” the lawyer says.
Mayor Fuller’s comments reflected the position taken by the city and Casebolt in their pleadings in Dajerria’s lawsuit: that by speaking in Casebolt’s direction, Dajerria ostensibly posed a threat to the officer, a perceived threat that justified grabbing the then 15-year-old by the hair, throwing her facedown on the ground, and straddling her with his knees to her back.
The argument that Dajerria’s actions created the perception of a safety threat to the officer is strikingly similar to the ones recently made by the owners of another predominantly white private enclave. Recently released 911 tapes from what many have referred to as a “golfing while Black” incident, in which police were called to remove five Black women from a private golf course in Pennsylvania, reveal that when asked if any of the women were armed, he responded, “other than her mouth, there’s not any weapons.”
These multiple instances of police violence against Black women and girls demonstrate to many that the mildest question, request, or protest can often be treated by police officers as a physical threat, as though Black women’s mere voices and presences are weapons that must be met with force. Moreover, these perceptions can prove lethal: A study from researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis and St. Louis University earlier this year found that close to 60% of Black women killed by police were unarmed and that Black women were falsely perceived as a deadly threat by police more often than any other group.
Dajerria, now 18, lived through her arrest to graduate from McKinney High School earlier this month. The road to this day was not smooth, however; the teen continues to suffer backlash from the ongoing publicity around her case after video of her arrest went viral. Cole remembers Dajerria once calling her while sobbing because a teacher and McKinney police officer had shown the video of her arrest during a class at her high school.
Read the full story on Teen Vogue. We HAVE to keep pushing for justice and fight the racist narrative, especially against our youth.
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.