Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
June 9, 2015

The Screen Shot to Consider BEFORE the Cop in McKinney Pulled his Gun on Black Teenagers

McKinney Mom fight

By now, practically every sentient news follower has at least seen screenshots of the white cop near a community pool in McKinney, Texas holding down a black girl in a bikini, then brandishing his weapon at two black kids who tried to come to her aid. Given how closely those images echo other pictures of police violence that has roiled the country the past two years, it’s instructive to look more closely at accompanying footage.

If you follow the reconstruction at Buzzfeed, as well as many other sites, you learn that tension escalated when white adults at the pool told black youth (local residents, by the way) “to go back to their Section 8 housing.” A school-end cookout brought a lot of kids close to the pool where access is otherwise limited by a homeowners association to neighborhood residents and invited guests. (You might be interested in this post from The Atlantic about the history of race, public pools and the demographics of East and West McKinney.)

In a video taken at almost the same spot just before the hysterical cop arrived, a fight broke out between a white girl and a black girl when the black girl objected to the racist comments. As you can tell, the white girl’s mother enters the fray. (Both accounts, by the way, are corroborated by several kids, black and white, in the Buzzfeed article. As part of what’s wrong with this picture, you might also notice a younger kid, the younger daughter apparently, looking on in distress from across the way.)

Of course, I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. At the same time, the way our media is so reductive and dramatic, it still bears emphasizing that over-amped and even racist cops are just symptoms of a problem. …Perhaps it starts with questions like: who and where are the adults?

(screenshot: Miles @k1dmars/Twitter)

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