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Crossing the Line

The hard truth behind police misconduct in Prairie View and McKinney.

By September 2015Comments

Illustration by Thomas Fuchs

The national scandal over police misconduct that began a little more than a year ago in Ferguson, Missouri, and moved through New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Cincinnati came to Texas this summer, most recently to Waller County, outside Houston. On July 10, Sandra Bland was driving through Prairie View—where she planned to soon start a new job with her alma mater, Prairie View A&M—when she was pulled over by state trooper Brian T. Encinia. Bland, a black woman, was stopped for changing lanes without signaling—the kind of minor traffic violation that black people are disproportionately accused of. Whatever inspired Encinia to flip on his lights, the stop should have ended in a warning or, at worst, a ticket. Instead, it resulted in Bland’s arrest. And three days later, she was dead.

At the time of her death, she was in custody at the Waller County jail, and officials later declared that she had hanged herself. The circumstances surrounding her death—the subject of much speculation on social media—remain unclear as of this writing. What’s plainly evident, though, is that she never should have been there.

Bland’s arrest became a major news story, which prompted the Department of Public Safety to release video of her encounter with Encinia, recorded by the dashboard camera in the officer’s vehicle. In the footage, Encinia seems irritated when Bland expresses frustration about the reason for the traffic stop. He becomes enraged when she refuses to extinguish her cigarette in her own car, a command she wasn’t obligated to obey. He opens her door, puts his hands on her, and tries to drag her out. When that fails, he threatens her by saying, “I will light you up,” and points his Taser at her.

After Bland gets out of her car, much of the encounter takes place on the sidewalk, outside the camera’s range, but the audio captures Bland’s cries of “You’re about to break my wrist,” “I’ve got epilepsy,” and “He slammed my head into the ground,” as Encinia shouts at her. There’s another video of Bland’s arrest, captured on a cellphone and posted on YouTube, that shows parts of the encounter that the dash cam missed: in that footage, we can see another officer (who arrived at the scene several minutes after Bland was stopped) on top of Bland, with a knee in her back, as she lies facedown on the ground, screaming in pain and terror.

The image—of a Texas law enforcement officer pinning down an unarmed black woman—is one we’d seen already this year. A month before Bland’s arrest, in the North Texas suburb of McKinney, a white officer named Eric Casebolt arrived at a pool party in the affluent Craig Ranch North community. The party was hosted by a nineteen-year-old African American girl who lived in the neighborhood. Her mostly white neighbors had responded by calling the police. Casebolt was captured on video as the picture of an out-of-control cop: yelling at black teenagers, swearing, and throwing a fifteen-year-old black girl to the ground face-first and sitting on top of her, then pulling his gun and brandishing it at teens in bathing suits. Most telling of all, the footage was captured by a white kid who wandered around the scene unmolested.

The incidents were chillingly similar: an angry white cop escalating an innocent encounter and physically oppressing an unarmed black person. In McKinney, it resulted in only bruises and humiliation. In Waller County, it resulted in an arrest that may have contributed to Bland’s death. But both of them fit into a national narrative that’s been building for months—and years—as the litany of names of unarmed black people killed by police grows: Oscar Grant III, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Larry Jackson Jr., Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Natasha McKenna, Rekia Boyd, and on and on.

These incidents have too seldom resulted in serious consequences for the offending officers. With few exceptions, police are almost never prosecuted. Discipline tends to range from suspension to firing. Even when officers lose their jobs or resign, as Casebolt did, they can quickly catch on with another department. In 2013 two Jasper officers were fired after they were captured on video grabbing a black woman in their custody by the hair, slamming her head into a counter, and dragging her around the room by the leg. By 2014 one of the officers, Ryan Cunningham, had found work in the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.

In a few instances, officers have tried to escape responsibility by lying about or inflating what happened. In Waller County, Encinia at the very least seemed to exaggerate in his report, claiming that he arrested Bland for assaulting an officer, when the video shows him telling her while she’s still in the car that she’s under arrest. (No footage of Bland obviously assaulting Encinia appears in the recording.)

For state senator Rodney Ellis, trust in law enforcement, especially in the African American community, is deteriorating. Ellis, a black Democrat from Houston, has long worked to reform the criminal justice system in Texas. He warns of dire consequences when a community feels disconnected from, and suspicious of, the police. “For law enforcement to work in this country, you have to have a relationship between law enforcement and the community that they’re there to protect. If not, this will have to turn into a police state, or we’ll have total anarchy,” he says. “We’re not going to spend the resources it would take to turn this into a police state, nor would the people accept it.”

Ellis points out that the distrust isn’t just among African Americans, though he says it’s more extreme now than he’s ever seen it. “It’s in the Anglo community as well,” he says.

That’s an important point. We’re a law-and-order state, but we’re also a state full of people who are committed to the ideal of the freedom-loving, iconoclastic, rugged individualist. We respect the badge, but we’re also a state that recently passed a law allowing the open carrying of handguns, over the explicit objections of police departments. The open carry measure was backed by several prominent libertarian activists who engage in “cop watch” patrols, in which they record police activity and upload videos to YouTube of people quoting the Constitution at officers. Many activists have professed that police abuse, government overreach, and infringement on civil liberties are threats to freedom. When white people have had their guns unjustly confiscated, these same activists have raged on social media.

Yet with few exceptions, libertarians in Texas have largely been silent on the Bland and McKinney cases. (One exception was Representative Jonathan Stickland, a Republican from Tarrant County, who noted at a recent legislative hearing on Bland that “liberties were stomped on” in her arrest.) When I went to the Waller County jail in late July, I saw a group of demonstrators sitting outside the building holding “What Happened to Sandra Bland?” signs. Most of them were black; a few were white. I asked them why they thought libertarians weren’t out there with them. Most of the people I asked didn’t want to answer. One demonstrator, a white woman named Hannah Bonner, who serves as a Methodist pastor at St. John’s Church in downtown Houston, finally did.

“I think that people have difficulty translating their beliefs to situations they don’t easily identify with,” she said. “So they don’t easily identify with Sandra Bland. They have trouble seeing that they’re being inconsistent in their belief system if they’re not speaking of her. That might be rooted in insular thinking, or it might be rooted in racism.”

Indeed, Waller County has a sad history of racism. The county suffered the third most lynchings in Texas between 1877 and 1950. County sheriff Glenn Smith previously served as the chief of police in Hempstead, the county seat, until he was fired amid allegations of racism and police misconduct. The City of McKinney, meanwhile, settled a 2008 lawsuit that accused it of “illegal racial steering” to keep low-income housing from being developed on the west side of the city, which is 86 percent white. But, then, there are scarcely any regions of Texas—or the rest of the U.S., for that matter—that don’t have their own history of racial oppression.

In recent years, it’s been tempting to ignore this history or to think we’d somehow advanced beyond its reach. After we elected the first black president, in 2008, quite a few commentators wondered if the U.S. was evolving into a post-racial society. The people who were paying attention, particularly in black communities, knew such statements were premature. They talked about the disproportionate number of African Americans sent to prison on minor drug offenses, and how black drivers were being unfairly targeted by police. These were issues many white Americans hadn’t thought much about—until they started seeing the videos.     

In that sense, videos like the ones from McKinney and Waller County are valuable in part because they show white people what black people have known for years: that racism, both individual and institutional, is alive and well. When I talked to a young black activist named Rhys Caraway outside the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, he said his uncle was a Texas Ranger, which, to him, meant simply that he’d gotten better advice on how to deal with the racism he would encounter. “I grew up around police officers, and I had to be taught how to act when I went into certain neighborhoods so I wouldn’t be targeted or profiled or pulled over for no reason,” Caraway told me. “They know the truth: even though they’re police, at the end of the day, they’re still black. When they’re not in the uniform, they’re just as black as I am.”

If Texans fail to grasp the significance of Sandra Bland’s traffic stop and the treatment of the teens in McKinney, we not only risk perpetuating injustice, but we jeopardize some of our great Texas ideals. We like law and order when that means other people are punished for actions we disapprove of, and we like freedom and individual rights when people we identify with stand up for themselves. But what about Bland, who exercised her First Amendment right to be unfriendly to a police officer and ended up dead? What is it about her that keeps many of the voices of freedom and individual rights from identifying her as part of their cause?

Perhaps it’s because many Texans like the frontier mentality of standing on your own, but they like that idea best when it applies to someone who doesn’t look like Bland. Some Texans still want to believe that if the kids in McKinney had just done what the officer said—if Bland had smiled and said she was sorry for not using her turn signal—then all this trouble could have been avoided. In other words, some Texans like the frontier myth for only certain people. It’s time to acknowledge the hard truth behind these incidents: that our contradictory Texas ideals—our love of law and order and our frontier mythology—are ideals that have applied mostly to white people. Perhaps, after seeing these videos, Texans can begin to change that.

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  • PeopleAreCrazy

    The image shown at the top of the page shows a person with their hands up as if they are surrendering. Of course, 99.9% or more of the deaths of people at the hands of police officers involve them resisting or attacking police officers. Good job pushing the false narrative TM.

    • jammerjim

      Cops have shot and killed 60 *unarmed* people this year. That we know about.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/08/a-tough-weekend-for-the-black-lives-matter-movement/400862/

      • PeopleAreCrazy

        #1 “Unarmed” is a fallacy, as courts have ruled in numerous homicide cases that a person’s fists/feet are weapons, as are vehicles a person may be driving. #2 A suspect attacking a police officer could incapacitate them to the point that they severely injured and/or are unable to defend themselves and have their firearm taken and used against them. #3 People that aren’t attacking officers, fleeing, and/or failing to obey lawful orders are almost never injured.

        • rushthis

          Then the cops are pure cowards, and unfit to wear a badge.

          • PeopleAreCrazy

            Really? Because they don’t want to take a beating and have their gun used on them or get hit by a car and killed or seriously injured? We’re done here. The level of ignorance you showed in that statement is telling.

        • jammerjim

          Over the past year, police have killed about 1090 people. Some of them, perhaps even most of them, were no doubt justified. But the level of violence employed by the police should be scary to anyone willing to pay attention. It’s not hard to find example after example of excessive use of force, and the millions that cities are paying out to settle the lawsuits. There is video of an unarmed guy shot running away. The 12 year old kid who was shot the second the cop car rolled up on him. The guy shot on the subway platform while he was in cuffs. Houses smashed into and people and pets shot based on faulty search warrants. The guy in Chicago who was basically beaten while in cuffs and helpless and caused his death.

          I don’t want to put it all on the cops. We’ve said we wanted them to get tough on crime. We’ve celebrated “tough” DA’s. And now we, the public at large, are starting to see that all that wanting to get tough is just getting people killed (and innocent people thrown in jail) and not really all that helpful in actually stopping crime.

          • PeopleAreCrazy

            I agree there have been a few heinous incidents and those officers are facing the wrath of the court as they should be. However, the lynch mob mentality of the media and some of the public is misplaced.

          • PeopleAreCrazy

            August 7th, a Birmingham detective stopped an unarmed man (ex-con) who assaulted the officer, possibly with his own handgun. Had the officer shot the man the media would cry out about how police shot another “unarmed man.” This “unarmed” man has since been charged with attempted murder. http://www.birminghamtimes.com/2015/08/police-assault-investigation/

          • jammerjim

            Congratulations, you found one. Maybe. Considering how we have now had quite a few documented cases of police “reports” not matching the recordings of the incidents* I have become less inclined to unquestionably accept police testimony in these matters.

            * like the time one shot a twelve year old with a toy gun

          • Titian_Red

            jammerjim, you are spot on. The real issue is the legislators who pass the legislation that allow this behavior. This faulty legislation, coupled with the police unions that do their best to prevent police from being indicted is also part of the problem. DA’s get re-elected by the cop vote, not the popular vote, so it’s in their best interest to look the other way when cops act criminally.

          • Terry GodLion

            I agree the SPEED at which officers go to RED ZONE, has increased exponentially the past few years.
            I think a LOT of this has to do with training local LE and the Feds together.

        • Walker62

          Then if the gun is taken from the officer, they are then ARMED. So your premise is false.

          • PeopleAreCrazy

            What premise is that?

      • Terry GodLion

        The Cops should way more Crackers than Blacks.
        As they should since Crackers are 50% of the population for another 2-3 yrs.
        But, the problem is blacks are disproportionally doing more crime/s than whites as a percentage of the population.
        Black On Black murders are the leading cause of death in the inner cites.

      • borgerboy

        Were are your numbers on how many “cops” have been murdered ??

        • jammerjim

          They aren’t hard to find, if you want data and not just playing gotcha.

          https://www.odmp.org/search/year 134 in 2014
          http://www.nleomf.org/facts/research-bulletins/ 64 so far in 20125

          Please note these are total deaths, not deaths by criminal activity. The pages do break it out for you, which is nice. For example, in 2014, 47 died by gunfire, and another 27 died in auto accidents.

    • Unwound
      • PeopleAreCrazy

        A good reference of what I posted earlier. If you didn’t read it I’ll post it again: I agree there have been a few heinous incidents and those officers are facing the wrath of the court as they should be. However, the lynch mob mentality of the media and some of the public is misplaced.

        • Unwound

          not really

          • PeopleAreCrazy

            With such an evidence filled post as that how could anyone argue with your facts and scholarly argument? /sarcasm

          • Unwound

            Yup. Pretty much

          • PeopleAreCrazy

            You have nothing. Thanks for proving my point for me. Goodbye.

          • Unwound

            Oh for sure man

        • Terry GodLion

          THE MEDIA covering these incidents to a degree heretofore UNSEEN by me( after nearly six decades is appalling.)
          Money see, monkey do.
          Just like ALL THE PREVIOUS mass shooters.
          Always someone else watching, seeing publicity, and their goes the COPY cats.

  • J Lewis

    When did TM become such a rag? Absolutely disgusting. Way to perpetuate a false narrative and spread the hate even further.

    • Chris meredith

      Texas Monthly is and always has been a left leaning liberal rag. I wish they would stick to BBQ and get out of politics. It is hard to believe it still exist in a state where it basically shits on 75% of the people.

      • herc_jason

        True dat…I didn’t realize I was contributing to a “progressive” “social justice” mag. Guess I need to re-think my subscription if all they want to do is push the race-baiting and division further.

  • Glen Perry

    The victims are always blamed for the violence leveled at them by institutional racism. The next thing we’ll hear is that Sandra Bland deserved to die because she was drinking tea, and eating skittles.

    • Madrigalian

      Tea, skittles and codeine or promethazine from cough syrup, also known as “Purple Drank” is a hip hop favorite of the drug addled gang banger scene and had nothing to do with anything.

      • Glen Perry

        And you knew this before the murder of Trayvon Martin?

        • Madrigalian

          Trayvon wasn’t murdered. He was killed in self defense.
          And yeah, I know the scene. Most people don’t however, which is why I wanted to make sure it was included in your “poor tea and skittles victim” routine.

          • Walker62

            Trayvon was murdered. Martin did NOT instigate the confrontation. Imagine if your daughter, wife or mother was being followed. Then the guy gets out the car and FOLLOWS her. She is anxious and pepper sprays the guy following her. He pulls his gun and shoots her. How is that incident different from Martin/Zimmerman!?

  • Madrigalian

    She was belligerent. She was arrested. She committed suicide.
    End of story.
    Everything else is so much “victim” horse manure.

    • Glen Perry

      Belligerence isn’t a crime, but evidently driving while black is.

      • Madrigalian

        No, but belligerency with an officer who has pulled you over for a traffic violation will get you arrested 9 times out of 10 what ever the color of your skin. Everyone knows that, even race baiting dovche bags. If she had responded appropriately she probably would have been let off with a warning. But we’ll never know because instead she acted like an entitled idiot.

        • jammerjim

          I find it interesting that you seem to think “belligerency” is a crime worthy of arrest and jail time.

          • Madrigalian

            Interfering with an officer in the lawful performance of his or her duty, by becoming belligerent and uncooperative is a violation of the Common Law. It is subjective, no doubt about it. But it is absolutely legal. As it is the officer who determines what constitutes “interference”, it is usually best to remain calm and civil, whatever the case.

          • jammerjim

            Refusing to put out your own cigarette in your own car is not interfering with the officer’s duty. Nor is it illegal to be grumpy about being pulled over. You do realize you are essentially saying that it’s okay if a woman gets raped if she is dressed nicely, don’t you?

          • Madrigalian

            I saw the video. She was belligerent, uncooperative and actively hindering the officer from performing his duties, not to mention abusive. I would have arrested her too.

            And for the record; I never “roll over” for a cop. I know my rights and defend them. Calmly and politely.

        • Glen Perry

          Because the police can break the law and ignore people’s constitutional rights without fear of being held accountable, doesn’t make it right.

          • Madrigalian

            Which law/constitutional right would that be?

          • herc_jason

            I guess Glen went to find a copy of the constitution,,,funny…seems there are no exceptions in the constitution for police…maybe he means cops can run red lights sometimes, those legal law-breakers!

      • MDER

        In Texas (at least) blacks are pulled over at a disproportionately lower rate than their white counterparts. Sure their are some bad officers out there, just like in any job, but if you look at the millions of stops and arrests every year compared to the proportionally few bad incidents, it’s not as bad as what the media proports. It’s unacceptable for anyone to be beaten or killed, and the offers envoy ex should be dealt with harshly, but the rate of incidents is not proportionally that high.

    • rushthis

      She didn’t cower in fear of the belligerent cop who was on a power trip. He’s unfit to wear the badge.

      • Madrigalian

        “Cowering in fear” =/= Civil discourse.

  • Michael O.

    On the very face of it, this article demonstrates a clear contempt for facts and is a misguided, misleading piece of what some may call journalism. Mr. Solomon, I would suggest at least feigning some logic in your
    articles in the future if you ever wish to become a respected journalist. You have stretched this narrative so thin at times that it is see-through.

    First, the logical reader will observe that Ms. Bland’s death, while tragic, was not the direct result of the arresting officer as your article posits. There are many moving parts in the justice machine and to place
    the blame for her death squarely on the arresting officer is not only ignorant, it is immoral.

    Second, the logical reader will note that the fact that Ms. Bland attempted and succeeded in suicide is at the very least a good indication of her unstable mental condition at the time of her arrest and incarceration. The path from well-adjusted member of society to suicidal is a long, complicated one which usually includes multiple depressions and often multiple suicide attempts. It is not traveled overnight and her successful suicide is very clearly a failure of those who knew her to get her the help she so desperately needed. It should be noted, however, that sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can’t always get someone the help they need.

    Third, in as much as the racism mentioned in this article marginalizes and generalizes those against whom it is felt, so, too, does this article marginalize and generalize the race charged with racism. Instead of
    taking the time to individually identify the guilty parties, Mr. Solomon has taken the easy way out and decided to take the “When will white people learn?” angle on this article. Not all white people are racists, and not
    all black people are criminals. In the real world, the one which most Texans live in, a typical Texan lives in shades of gray when it comes to their beliefs or principles. Mr. Solomon’s blatant attempt to paint all white Texans into the racism corner is offensive and, again, ignorant.

    Fourth, I will concede that there have been many, many cases in which officers of the law clearly went way too far in their treatment of prisoners or suspects. However, when did it become okay to downplay the importance of the law and the adherance to the law? None of us is above the occasional traffic ticket, but the law is still the law, is it not? It seems an inconvenient truth to the left that the law is still the law and it is not unrealistic to expect someone who gets caught breaking the law to take responsibility for their actions.

    Lastly, although I do understand that this is an opinion piece, this publication is being grossly negligent by empowering the pigeon-holing that Mr. Solomon seems so fond of. The lack of the application of
    logical thought to this article suggests that Mr. Solomon’s ability to bring site traffic through sensationalist headlines and inflammatory rhetoric, and not his merit as a serious writer, is what got him his job at TM.

    Thank you Texas Monthly for allowing the racism, degradation, sensationalism, and ignorance to continue permeating our beloved state through your apparent lack of responsible publishing.

    Truly, a line has been crossed here.

    • rushthis

      Yes, a line has been crossed. The violent and oppressive practices of the nation’s poorly trained police forces are coming to light. You guys HATE the cameras that are exposing all of this, don’t you officer?

      • jammerjim

        Its interesting that he reads so much into the article that…isn’t really there. Protesting a bit much, I think.

        • Michael O.

          I like to think I’m exercising my critical thinking skills. Sometimes critical thinking leads me to conclusions that surprise even me. However, in your opinion, what part or parts of my comment addresses thoughts not found in the original article?

          • jammerjim

            1. There is no direct line in the article between the arresting officer and Bland’s death. You put it there.

            2. The jailers failed in their duty, since Bland indicated she had once attempted suicide, and they did not follow up or apparently do what you are supposed to when a potentially suicidal person is in your jail. That hardly lets them off the hook as you seem to want to argue.

            3.I tried and failed to see where “all” white people were charged with racism (indeed, the article notes white protestors). That’s because it doesn’t. It does point out the obvious: A lot of white people simply have no clue what it’s like to be Black in America. I sure as hell don’t, but I’m trying to learn, after many years of ignoring these sorts of stories.

            4. There is no place in the article where it suggests anyone should ignore the law, or fail to be held responsible for breaking it. None. Being rude, even insulting, to a cop is not against the law.

            5. That you can read about a woman who was pulled and ultimately arrested because she failed to signal a lane change and was rude, and feel that the article is full of racism, degradation, and sensationalism is a little scary. And you say you engage in logical thinking? Sir, I beg to disagree.

      • Michael O.

        “You guys”? First thing I’d like to know is what you mean by that. Who exactly are you addressing? Once I know what ideology you presume I belong to, I can better explain to you how dangerous presumptions like that can be in academic discourse.

    • Walker62

      It was not the direct result. It was a contributing event. He should be removed as peace officer but no charges of manslaughter or murder are warranted. That should be investigated against those at the jail. At minimum, it sounds like jailer negligence but maybe not even that.

    • herc_jason

      Well put, MIchael. Shame on Mr. Solomon. If this is journalism, I guess the art is lost.

  • bcbob

    She showed the officer no respect, had she been polite and respectful I doubt that she would have received anything in writing just a verbal don’t do that again . .. but she had to jump in his face instead of following the advice I got and continue to give . ..

    Repeat after me . .. Good afternoon sir, What did I do wrong sir, I didn’t realize that sir, I’m very sorry about that sir . . . the last three times I was pulled over in Texas from out by El Paso, Just north of Beaumont, and just outside Mexia . . . that was the result and I was doing at least 20-25 over the speed limit each time . . . found out that by treating officers with respect they also treat you with respect . . . just saying . . . .

    • balconesfalk

      I watched both tapes numerous times. The cop was trying to press her buttons and get her to react, and react, until he threatened to “light her up” with a taser gun. At that point she did his bidding. From what I observed in those tapes I’d say he was doing everything in his power to get up close and personal to body slam her to the ground, conveniently out of cruiser camera range. She didn’t just flop over on the ground–he did something to put her there.

      • bcbob

        From where I watched he started out being polite, asked if she was ok and was generally pleasant to her . . . she started out aggressively answering his questions, refused to put out her cigarette (something I would do for anyone who asked me to just out of common courtesy) but not her. She refused a lawful order to get out of the car. As soon as you refuse the lawful order you are in deep shit. She then started calling him disrespectful names “motherfucker” etc. Listen to the use of curse words coming out of her mouth – she was not trying to defuse the situation she was inciting it. . .. Once that snow ball starts rolling down the mountain it can do nothing but get bigger and faster and then nothing can stop it. You need to stop it the instant the officer walks up to your car . . like I said before, “Good afternoon sir, What did I do wrong sir, I didn’t realize that sir, I’m very sorry about that sir . . . ” None of those words ever came out of her mouth. She did not try to defuse the situation at all. Her cell mates were on the side of the jailers saying they were very compassionate . . . . I guess we will just have to wait till the final word comes out . .. but you have to remember in the country, for now anyway, A person is innocent until proven guilty.

    • Walker62

      He showed HER NO respect. She showed the officer respect but pulling to the side of the road when she saw his flashing lights as required by law!
      She was in HER car engaging in an activity, smoking, that is LEGAL in TEXAS AND THE U.S.A. She didn’t curse him. She didn’t threaten him with bodily harm. She didn’t threaten him with legal action until he threatened her with bodily harm.

  • Jeff Crosby

    Just admit it. You LIKE it when cops abuse uppity blacks.

  • goodwater

    What do you expect from Texas Monthly -an honest piece of journalism. It’ll never happen. It’s a rag of the secular progressive movement (AKA liberal). The only honest articles they publish is when it relates to Texas BBQ.

    • balconesfalk

      Whenever “liberal” is used sneeringly in describing print media I suspect one’s point of view is far-right nutzo. There is nothing especially liberal about “Texas Monthly”. It is not nearly liberal enough to suit me.

      • goodwater

        Each to his/her own opinion. It is a liberal rag. I have been a subscriber for well over 20 years and have had sufficient time to determine it’s political bias’. As for your suspicion that my point of view puts me in the category of “far-right nutzo” well I take that as a compliment. I adhere to the political philosophy of the Founding Fathers – Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington, McHenry, Franklin, Dickinson and all the other signers of the Constitution and patriots that put in place the Supreme Law of the Land – The United States Constitution. I proudly proclaim my political beliefs as a Constitutionalist. I don’t know who created the “far right” “far left” “moderate” “middle” descriptions – most probably the NY Times the backbone of the secular progressive movement.

      • Terry GodLion

        Then why are you here?.

  • Daniel Miller

    For all the fury caused by this article, I haven’t seen any critics point out a factual error.

    Thanks, critics, for illustrating the article.

  • Walker62

    Just saw a video on late news of how it’s done right. Traffic stop. Belligerent driver gets out of his car and walks toward the officer who is standing next to his squad car. The Officer warns him not to come further yet he does. So Cop gives him a taste of his Taser. He as expected goes down quick. End of story. NO one killed.

  • Alex Dubois

    I don’t like police misconduct, but this story is unnecessarily provocative. And the details of the McKenney incident appear to be intentionally misleading. The party was illegally hosted by the black woman without permission of the HOA. She hosted a party for her “for profit” business. The article makes it sound like the neighbors called the police BECAUSE of the race of the party participants. They called the police because there were non-residents over running the pool that they PAY for.

  • Terry GodLion

    Whatever inspired Encinia to flip on his lights, the stop should have ended in a warning or, at worst, a ticket. Instead, it resulted in Bland’s arrest. And three days later, she was dead.

    While I KNOW the Cop acted WRONGLY, he WAS issuing her a warning.
    She kept running her mouth, and blowing cigarette smoke in his direction, SO what?.
    He asked her to put it out.
    (which was NONE of his business, and uncalled for)
    She yelled(loud voice)stated what Hell for? the is MY car and I can smoke _ _ _ _ then the explosion hit.
    HE LOST IT.
    And he should be fired if he hasn’t been already.

  • george phillips

    untill you are pulled over,stoped or what ever by one of these super cops that think they are the law and you will obay everything he says or tells you to do,or get slapped around a bit and arrested for disturbing the peace or resisting,when you did niether you find it hard to believe that our police would do such a thing,well folks they do it and it happens alot,they pull guns on you for no reson when you ask why?they say you wanna go to jail.but there are good police out there we need to find away to let the good ones turn the bad ones in,in other words break the big blue shield that protects these rogue cops

  • Herman Torres

    Missing is the way the bikers were treated in Waco. Even though they were heavily armed, law enforcement treated them with deference and respect.

  • herc_jason

    To lump Michael Brown and other “resistors/attackers” in with folks like the tragedy in South Carolina, where the violence/murder was wholly unjustified (and the cop even caught planting evidence) is a true mischaracterization of the issue, and a broad brush painting that would be rallied against, should it be applied to any other group. There are, of course, bad apples everywhere, and our police force’s #1 job is to employ folks who are worthy of the trust placed in them. When you put the police in a difficult position, where certain folks want to cause incidents because of the media/community fervor, you just ask for more incidents & violence. When cops go “hands off”, like has happened in Baltimore and other places, violence reigns. When cops are gunned down in their cars, you might guess they are a bit jumpy.

    My Momma always told me to be respectful, and comply with any police personnel…doesn’t matter if you feel wronged, etc…justice comes in court, not necessarily on the street, and you never know what your cop may have just been through…their job is usually dealing with the worst elements and situations we have out there. Respect the authorities & allow whatever detainment to occur without incident, your chances of justice are much greater. I salute the police for the very difficult job they do, and the patience and respect that 99.9% of them have during very emotional times for those around them.