The organizer of a pool party in Texas says a particular police officer - not every officer who responded - simply took things too far.
And according to the amateur video shot, she makes a good point.
"Everything could've been solved way better than what it was," Rhodes said. "There were other officers that were actually nice to people."
The officer seemed extremely angry and went out of his way to confront teenagers who were committing no crime. It seemed as though he got lost in the moment, upset that a bunch of teenagers weren’t doing everything he told them to do - as though that’s a unique situation. (I’m the father of a teen and preteen so know how frustrating that can be.) His actions escalated the tension for no good reason, including when he slammed a 15-year-old girl to the ground.
After that, a couple of boys got agitated and went towards the cop and the girl, a scenario that begs an interesting question. If you witness a police officer unjustly (in your opinion) and harshly dealing with a fellow American, do you have the right to intervene to stop that officer? Or must you sit back, because if you intervene, the officer can claim that he felt threatened, which gives him the right to use lethal force?
The police officers responded because they received 911 calls, which is what they are paid to do. That’s not the issue. How to handle things - which seems to have started when someone began making racist comments - once you arrive is the issue.
My most recent column detailed an incident during the recent Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest in which police officers used an appropriate level of force to subdue a subject, and everything turned out fine.
I’ve also reported incidents in which Myrtle Beach police have responded to an armed man during a traffic stop and disarmed him without resorting to lethal force, and another incident in which police were able to confront a man who resembled a fugitive without bringing harm to the man. I won’t hesitate to report on incidents when Myrtle Beach area police get it wrong - though I, frankly, hope such incidents are few and far between.
There are ways cops can handle highly-charged incidents without making things worse. We’ve seen good examples in Myrtle Beach. This one out of Texas is an example of the opposite. The cop seemed to be over his head. Maybe with better training, he’ll know how to better deal with his temper. If not, he shouldn’t be wearing a badge.
The job is tough, yes - and not everyone is cut out for it.
I won’t back off the call for reforming the criminal justice system, including how we are policed. That’s long overdue. But we must also be willing to point out when cops get it right, particularly because such incidents can be used as a model for others.