Pool Party Gone Wrong

When I watched the Mckinney, TX pool party video (click here to view—UPDATE: second video released) that went viral yesterday,  my mind whirled in a million directions. The first was on my parents. My parents were real sticklers about who's house I could go to when I was a kid. A party at the public skating rink? Sure, no problem. A party at Sally Sue's house? Then came the 50 questions: who are her parents? What do they do? Where does she live? Who else was invited? Does she have sibling? How old are they? If it was a slumber party, it required clearance of even more questions.  As I a teenager, I thought it was rather silly. In my elementary and middle school years most of friends lived within a 5 mile radius of house—our parents had known each other all their lives and I was never denied the opportunity to go to a party at their houses.  Late middle school and high school saw a increase of friends who my parents weren't so familiar with and they weren't keen on letting me go to their houses. Now that I'm older, I completely understand the overprotective instinct of my parents: people are crazy, and crazy is colorless.

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Next, I was taken back to my first year in graduate school. I attended a back to school pool party hosted by the Black Graduate Student Organization (BGSO). It was at a local apartment complex where most students live, and maybe about 30 people were in attendance. A few people were in the pool, a few people were playing spades, but most people were just standing around talking. It was by far the most low-key party I've ever been to—I don't even think there was music. About thirty minutes to an hour in, 2 police cars showed up. They hopped out, entered the pool area, informed us that we were trespassing, and told us to leave. The front office, which was open and adjacent to the pool, had not said a word to us nor asked us to leave, furthermore most us had walked through the front office to get to the pool. The BGSO president took responsibility for the event, approached the police officers and explained what was happening. That didn't appease the police, who went to the office, retrieved a list of residents, and returned to verify that each person lived there. Residents were allowed a maximum of 2 guests at the pool so each member of BGSO that lived there could claim two members who didn't, but at least half of the members did live there. Once we were all verified, the police shuffled back to their cars and left. We lucked out that there wasn't any violence, but we were also 21+ year old adults; I don't know how each of us would have reacted as children...

I saw that video, and I wanted to know what happened. In my case, there was no rambunctiousness to blame on us, but I know better than to assume 13-15 year old kids were being perfect little angels.  There are always three sides to a story: yours, mine, and the truth. I didn't expect to find a report where the neighbors said "yeah, we saw a bunch of Black kids and called the police because we're scared of Blacks." I also didn't expect to see kids sayings "yeah, we were trespassing and started a fight." I expected exactly what I found, adult claiming the kids were rowdy and trespassing, and kids claiming they were invited and the adults started the fight. After reading different articles (see NYTimesHeavy.comWashington Post, and NPR) on the story, I came away with the following thoughts for the parties involved.

Police

  1. Regardless if whether the kid trespassed or not, there is no excuse for cussing at pre-teen and teenage kids.
  2. Every approach he made to non-white children was hostile, even if their response was not.
  3. You're there to disperse teens (all of whom look 13-14) who have been accused of trespassing, but say they're there for a party. You keep yelling at them to leave, but where do you expect them to go if they don't live there and aren't old enough to drive? This is clearly in the suburbs where walking or catching the bus home is not an option. A more logical command would have been "Call your parents to come get you."
  4. An unarmed girl weighing all of 100lbs, whether she is running off at the mouth or not, is not an element of danger. Grabbing her by the hair, tossing her around like a rag doll, and proceeding to sit on top of her is not only excessive, it's assault.
  5. Pulling a gun on unarmed teens trying to stop you from assaulting said girl is not self-defense, it's bordering on attempted murder. Nothing in that situation called for force.
  6. Being a brat, a pain, and/or a smart aleck is not equivalent to being a criminal, just in case you were unaware.
  7. That trip and barrel roll was hilarious! I thought it was a parody video at first.

Residents

  1. To the man that stood there and watched the officer assault the girl, if that was your daughter, would you have let him do that to her?
  2. Did anyone confront the DJ first? He's either the person who set it up, or being paid by whoever set it up—he would have been a sure bet for person with the most helpful information at the party. Also, you could have simply asked him not to play explicit music. Plus, the fact that a DJ is there (with equipment, I assume) is an indicator that this was a planned event and the person you should have a beef with is the person who planned it, not the kids who simply responded to an invitation.
  3. Where any of the teens there from that neighborhood? Did you ask them what was happening or who the people were before you called the police?
  4. When you confronted the teens where you hostile like the police in the video, or politely firm? (Yes, there's a difference in being hostile and simply telling someone to leave.)
  5. You say the teens were fighting, they say a mom started the fight. If you weren't at the pool, how did you know they were fighting? Or did the fighting start when you got there? Are you sure you did nothing to ignite the fight? Why wouldn't the teens pin the fight on another teen? "We were invited and this one kid started acting a fool its all his/her fault, I was just defending myself" sounds a lot more plausible than "Someone's mom started it all." I'm just saying, if I was going to make up a lie I would have gone with the first or denied the fight all together...
  6. Pre-fight, were the teens really disrupting you (also was it a real fight or just horsing around?). Or was it the music that bothered you. If it was the music, why didn't you just ask the DJ to turn it down and leave the kids to enjoy the summer?
  7. Are there HOA rules about this? Don't you have some kind of reservation system for the pool? Was the party on record?

Teens

  1. Who invited you to the party? Was it just the spam flyer on social media or did you get a personal invitation from the person/group hosting the event? If a party is happening at a private venue (i.e. in a gated community) and you aren't personally invited, you shouldn't go. If you don't know anyone who lives there and/or you don't know the person hosting the event, you shouldn't go. #OldSchoolEtiquetteRules
  2. If you're at a pool and there is no adult (especially with that many people around), chances are you shouldn't stay—not even for trespassing concerns but for safety concerns. What if someone began to drown? Slipped and fell? Hit their head when they fell?
  3. Even if a police officer is being a jerk, he/she is an authority figure, carries a weapon, and can legally shoot you if they feel threatened. If you end up dead, you can't even give your half of the story. In that kind of situation, it's safer to be calm, record the incident if you can, inform your parents, and report it to the officer's superiors (with the recording for added evidence).
  4. It is brave that you stepped up to protect your friend. It was also dangerous—he almost shot you. Running up on a police officer doesn't usually end well (not that I blame you, I probably would have ran up on him too).
  5. For the person who organized it (I'm assuming its a teen since no parents have claimed responsibility, that I've read), throwing an unchaperoned party with a high volume of attendance really only works without problems if you are in the country where your neighbors are too far away to notice (though it's still unsafe and not a great idea), you have tons of money, and/or you're in a movie.

Parents

  1. Did you know your teen was at this party?
  2. Did you see the invitation? Did you ask any questions?
  3. If teens were jumping over the fence it implies you dropped them off outside of the fence (probably because they said you accompanying them inside would have embarrassed them)—sometimes its good to embarrass your child if it ensures their safety.
  4. Are you pressing charges? I know I would be in jail if I saw my child slung around like that. #ParentsAgainstViolentPolice



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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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