It has only been a few weeks since video footage emerged of a pool party in McKinney, Texas where Black teens were violently apprehended, intimidated, and brutalized by White police officers and community residents. While some would like to believe that these incidents are few and far in between, the truth is, they happen every day. This time, a 12-year-old girl, reportedly, suffered broken ribs and a fractured jaw.
According to the Daily Beast, Krystal Dixon dropped off her children, nieces, and nephews at a local pool in Fairfield, Ohio. She quickly received a phone call indicating that one of the children did not have their swimsuit. Apparently, the child, her nephew, proceeded to swim in the community pool anyway. She agreed to bring the swimwear back to the child. However, reports indicate that the issue escalated to the point that staff members at the Fairfield Aquatic Center asked the family to leave. When Dixon returned to collect the children, she says that police officers began to pursue them, taking out their handcuffs. At this point, what seemed like a minor issue turned into a serious altercation of violence and physical confrontation.
Soon, police officers used pepper spray on the tweens and teens and slammed a 12-year-old girl against a police vehicle. The Black teens can be seen crying on camera after being pepper sprayed, screaming for the police officers to stop grabbing and pulling them. Krystal Dixon is six months pregnant. It is clear from the video that she is with child. However, that still wasn’t reason enough for police officers to treat her with respect and civility. Dixon believes the officers used more force than necessary especially since the family was neither armed nor violent.
The police authorities offer a different perspective of the events that day. They claim that the teenagers refused to leave. Not only that, they say the kids became “verbally aggresive and belligerent.” They have even indicated that the 12-year-old girl physically assaulted an officer. Unsurprisingly, Fairfield Police officers deny any wrongdoing. They disagree with the family’s claims of excessive force and are standing by the actions in the footage. Some of the other patrons at the pool are standing in support of the police. However, pool staff members and local religious leaders suggest the arrests were race related.
Like the McKinney incident, there were civilian White males who got involved with the police brutality against the Black teens in the video. This suggests that, somehow, there is an unwritten rule in modern law enforcement that random White men have jurisdiction in arrests of Black kids, especially Black girls. How these men are permitted to physically touch the bodies of Black children with impunity is mind-boggling. Eerily, cops don’t even seem the least bit concerned with these White men inserting themselves in police business.
Besides being entirely enraging, this video highlights how public spaces in the United States are continually policed. Not only are officers ready at all moments to persecute young Black people, pool staff members and patrons seem more than obliged to assist in reprimanding and eliminating young Black people no matter how small the offense. For young Black people, merely existing in public could result in public humiliation, isolation, or, worse, death.
While it is great news that no one was killed in this event, it still shows how fragile Black life is in this country. And, it proves we have so much more work to do to ensure that #BlackKidsMatter in all public spaces.
Photo Credit: Youtube
Jenn M. Jackson is the Editorial Assistant for The Black Youth Project. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Water Cooler Convos, a politics, news, and culture webmag for bourgie Black nerds. For more about her, tweet her at @JennMJack or visit her website at jennmjackson.com.