Access to healthcare for women and transgender folks continues to come under fire in the United States in the name of religious freedom.
In June 2015, Dajerria Becton was forced to the ground by a McKinney police officer after residents complained that a pool party was getting out of control. The video of the officer with his knee in the teenager’s back quickly went viral and added to a national discussion of excessive force against people of color.
Becton is now filing a lawsuit against McKinney, the police department and former officer Eric Casebolt. She is seeking $5 million in damages.
I grew up in Oakland, California in the nineties and have been arrested and harassed by police more times in my life than I can count.
I have been one of the people running away when we heard the call, “5-0! 5-0!” signalling that, no matter what we were doing – lawful or otherwise – it was time to disperse because the police were coming. I have never needed videos showing other Black people being terrorized across the country to understand intimately the consequences of the State’s hypervigilant criminalizing of Black folx in Black ‘hoods. Frankly, I am confused why anyone, at this point, still does.
After a Supreme Court battle this summer over the TRAP Laws which closed over half of the abortion clinics in the state of Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbot is once again attempting to over-regulate abortion care providers into submission. According to the New York Times, Texas just passed a law requiring all fetal remains to be buried or cremated, which abortion rights advocates claim is an unnecessary step and in no way benefits women’s health.
Black girls just can’t seem to get a break where their hair is concerned. Kemirah Jn-Marie, the only black cheerleader for Ross S. Sterling High School’s varsity squad in Baytown, Texas, learned this lesson the hard way recently.
The school’s rules clearly state that cheerleader’s hair should all be “pulled back in a secure ponytail” and“must not distract from the cheer environment.” However, her coach threatened to not let her participate during an upcoming football game if she showed up wearing the same braids she wore to school, according to ABC13.
In dashcam footage of the violent July 2015 arrest of 26-year-old Breaion King, a Black woman and elementary school teacher in Texas, an Austin police officer named Patrick Spradin explains to King that part of the reason why so many Whites are afraid of Black people is because they have “violent tendencies.”
This explanation is his justification for the unwarranted body slamming and physical assault she was subjected to by an officer twice her size. Whether he knew it or not, this officer was verifying that, even when Black people are doing nothing threatening or violent, they are seen as dangerous by many Whites. This is the case even when those White people wear blue.
A few days ago the world was not-so-shocked when a grand jury decided to not indict the former McKinney, Texas police officer that was seen on video slamming Dajerria Becton, 15, to the ground and drawing a gun on her friends that tried to help. [The shock was only absent because sort of thing always happens, not because it should happen.]
In an attempt to get justice for the former officer’s actions, Becton’s family is planning to file a civil suit against Eric Casebolt and the police department for his actions. Charges filed will include assault, battery, unlawful detention and infliction of emotional distress.
In a 5-3 ruling on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court struck down Texas HB2, a bill that heavily regulated abortion providers and resulted in the closure of half of the state’s clinics. The Court determined that requiring clinics to qualify as surgery centers and ensuring abortion doctors have hospital admitting privileges at local hospitals places an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.
The McKinney, Texas cop who tackled and assaulted a teenage black girl in a viral video last June will not be charged with a crime, citing a lack of evidence.
Despite the fact that thousands of people, near and far, bore witness to the officer’s unhinged cruelty to a young black girl, our broken justice system once again chooses not to act and signals that black women’s lives do not matter.