According to 19-year-old community member Tatiana, who put together the event to celebrate the end of the school year, several white people at the pool hurled racial slurs at her friends, calling one a “black f-er” and talking about Section 8 public housing. When 14-year-old friend Grace Stone stood up for the group, saying the comments were racist, the man and woman started berating her. Tatiana alleges she stepped in to tell the white couple that they shouldn’t verbally attack a young girl, at which point they told her to “go back to [her] Section 8 home.” One woman, identified as Kate, allegedly slapped Tatiana in the face, before attacking the teenager with the help of another woman.
Tatiana’s mother, who was also featured in the YouTube video, responded, “I’m just upset that we couldn’t have a peaceful event. [If] it was any issue that they truly had, they should’ve came to me, the adult that was here at the event…and not go to that extreme.”
Watch the video of Tatiana:
Brandon Brooks, a white teenager who filmed first video of the police encounter, explained to Buzzfeed News that many of the black kids had special passes to swim in the community pool, although some did jump the fence. “I think a bunch of white parents were angry that a bunch of black kids who don’t live in the neighborhood were in the pool,” he said. However, he maintains, many of the kids who were handcuffed and told to get on the ground were ‘innocent bystanders.’
Having seen the original video on YouTube, Tom Fuentes, a former assistant director for the FBI told CNN that the officer’s actions were unjustified, and that the main officer was “running around and escalating” the situation. “He’s out of control. He clearly has no self-discipline. He lost control of his temper. Nothing good can happen at that point. Thankfully he didn’t shoot somebody,” he concluded.
But local homeowners defended the officers’ actions, arguing the officers’ safety was threatened. “I feel absolutely horrible for the police and what’s going on… they were completely outnumbered and they were just doing the right thing when these kids were fleeing and using profanity and threatening security guards,” an anonymous woman told Fox4. Notes thanking the officers were also hung on the pool fence.