CopsSegments of the blog post originally appeared in Juvenile Justice Information Exchange.

To be young and black in America today is to still fear being brutalized by police at any moment. Police should be trained and mandated to change their approach when dealing with youth because their current one is detrimentally affecting children’s lives.

In a recent video all over the web, a white police officer is witnessed terrorizing a kids’ pool party in an Oscar award-winning fashion. The now-suspended officer Eric Casebolt (who has just resigned) was responding to a disturbance call in McKinney, Texas, a predominantly white city (according to the Census).

Only the black kids were harassed and apprehended. Casebolt cursed at nearly every black youth, shouting at them to “get you’re *** out of here.”

Furious, he wrestles a 15-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground, pulling her braids, for allegedly not obeying one of his commands. “On your face!” he hollers.

Later he is seen drawing his gun on two other teens. What if the officer had purposely or “accidentally” shot, possibly killing, those kids as has happened many times recently?

In this case, I am happy to say we don’t have to add more names to the list that includes Michael Brown, VonDeritt Myers Jr., Tamir Rice and countless other unarmed black youth who were unjustly gunned down by white police officers.

Anyone can see that Casebolt’s actions were immoral. He immediately caused havoc without asking any questions.

I believe this is when a colleague needs to step in to calm his or her partner. Police officers need to rightfully enforce their peer responsibility of holding each other accountable for their actions, with consequence from their department for lack of effort. This would greatly help to prevent these harsh and unnecessary encounters.

To protect and serve the community is law enforcement’s well-known, traditional motto. However, these occurrences have proven that these officers are not living by that standard.

Watching the cop’s sickening performance in this video, which was difficult to do, was heartbreaking. I was instantly outraged and felt so much compassion for those innocent kids who were verbally, emotionally and physically abused.

I shared the video on my Facebook page and got many responses from people who were deeply angered, expressing their hate toward this cop and others everywhere.

Casebolt’s behavior reminded me of when I was a teen in Los Angeles: My friends and I would get stopped by police in our own neighborhoods for walking down the street, but were treated like we had just committed a murder. Occasions like this made me feel like I was guilty of something when I actually wasn’t.

As my mentor Scott Budnick says, these kids are victims long before they decide to victimize anyone else.

After watching this madness, the lingering question that everyone wants to know is, “what started this hell?” Well, two of the most important witnesses, Tatiana and Brandon have come forward in videos to clarify and share their sides of the story.

Tatiana, an African American teen that hosted the public pool party and lives in the area said the white kids at the pool party, which was public, began saying racial slurs about the black kids. A white mother then started insulting those kids for presumably affiliating with black children. Tatiana said she spoke up and the mother responded by slapping her in the face, erupting the madness.

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Brandon, a white teen who shot the video then explained, “the cops showed up and the parents immediately started yelling, ‘you need more cops, there’s too many of them.’ And most of the kids weren’t even involved. It was a fight between a mom and girl, which had nothing to do with all the other kids that she apparently needed more cops for.”

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The corroborating personal accounts of these two key witnesses, indefinitely validates the issue of racial discrimination against black kids by whites. Regardless of a person’s ethnicity, teenagers are far from being adults and they all should be treated as such.

Huffington Post blogger Olivia Cole recently said in an article that, “when you cease to see children as children, the world is no longer safe for that child.”

Sadly, right now the world is not safe for black children.

When cops crash a kid’s pool party… by @TheJayAlligator via @First_Focus: #blacklivesmatter #InvestInKids
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Want to learn more? First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Read more about our work on racial equity.

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