The Instigator
Debateteam1
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Wylted
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Was it wrong for the McKinney, Texas police officer to use excess force to subdue the teenager girl

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Wylted
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/10/2015 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 583 times Debate No: 76387
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

Debateteam1

Pro

I feel that the police officer was out of line in the way he treated the young African-American teenage girl in the video. It was clear that the girl did not have a weapon, she was dressed in a bikini bathing suit, and appeared distressed. I could not hear the conversation well from the video, but the body language and what I saw was an example, I feel, of police using excess force to subdue the crowd. I also saw the same policeman, a Caucasian, brandish his gun and point it at some other teens in the crowd.
Wylted

Con

I assume the first round is for acceptance, and I'll outline my case just as my opponent has created an outline, though I maintain the right to deviate from the outline, should any research on the subject bring me to a better argument.

I disagree with the notion that the officer used excessive force in gaining compliance. Once he gave a lawful order for her to get on the ground she is required by law to comply, and if she fails to comply, the officer has the legal authority to use force. Force often times looks ugly, it isn't a pretty thing, but as a society, we've granted the police the authority to use it under certain circumstances, in this circumstance the officer's actions fell with normal police procedure.

With that said, I have no doubt the officer could've handled the situation in a way that could've had better results and would've never led up to this incidence. Him coming in hot headed and using filthy language was inappropriate, but once somebody fails to obey a lawful command, and officer of the law is authorized to use force, in order to get the individual to comply, the officer did nothing wrong in his attempt to subdue the girl.

Not. That the debate isn't about events leading up to officer in question applying force to get compliance, the debate is about whether, in that instance when he applied force, whether it was wrong.

Good luck to pro.
Debate Round No. 1
Debateteam1

Pro

In response to the post from Con, I feel the policeman's action was not justified nor was it necessary to force the unarmed girl in a bathing suit, head down into the ground. My reason for that is the girl was not armed and did not appear to be resisting the officer when he had a hold of her arm. I do not see what she did that provoked the officer to use force. In my opinion, the police man was out of control, used excess force with the young girl and brandished a gun when clearly there was no need to do so.
Police are here to serve and protect the people but I disagree in his actions to subdue the crowd.
You claim that police have the right to use force when needed. I agree with that if it is justifiable. In this situation, as I see it, there was a crowd of teenagers, they were not breaking the law to my knowledge, and one policeman was involved in crowd control. His actions led me to believe he made poor judgement when he took his gun out and waved it around. There was no other weapons in view and another officer signaled to him to put his weapon away. He grabbed one girl's arm and yanked it about. The girl was not pulling away and was forced to lay face down on the ground as he continued to shove her face into the ground. I feel that force is justifiable if warranted. In any case, if the young girl's action was to resist the police officer, the officer had other choices he could have made to get the girl to comply.
You claim that we give police the authority to use force if necessary and force could be ugly. I don't see that this situation warranted force or tactics of intimidation. Perhaps the officer wanted to display his authority and make the girl an example of his power over her or the crowd. If that's the case, then the police have no laws and the people have no rights. Clearly there was no other weapon in the crowd and the girl was not breaking the law, therefore I stand on my opinion that it was wrong for excess force used on the girl, when it clearly showed she was not physically breaking the law or resisting the officer.
Wylted

Con

My opponent is taking a more informal conversational type of style in this debate. I'll take the same style, and hopefully my lack of "professionalism", offends nobody.

I want to start out by saying, I don't agree with all the officers actions. He was a bit of a jerk, when he came into the scene. I think I agree with that and even the officer himself has agreed to that part.

"I feel the policeman's action was not justified nor was it necessary to force the unarmed girl in a bathing suit, head down into the ground. My reason for that is the girl was not armed and did not appear to be resisting the officer when he had a hold of her arm. I do not see what she did that provoked the officer to use force. In my opinion, the police man was out of control, used excess force with the young girl and brandished a gun when clearly there was no need to do so."

It's my opinion, pulling the gun was justified. The kids came up on the officers gun side, in clearly aggressive stances. They could have easily disarmed the cop and shot him, but that is beside the point. This debate isn't about the pulling of the gun, but the force he used on the girl. I'd also like to point out, that it's a shame that politics or emotions get in the way of truth finding. I let my emotions and beliefs get in the way of it as well, and it's something we all have to watch for in ourselves. A lot of people are aware of the massive amounts of problems in the criminal justice system, and policies pertaining to use of force. Cops are the face of the criminal justice system and it's easier to yell at a human who may only be a cog in the wheel, than it is to blame the system. Humans can be attacked, but the criminal justice system can't be. It's not a person, so villianizing it, does no good. Even as a conservative, I'm aware of the problems with the criminal justice system, but liberals are particularly aware. I find myself agreeing with liberals, who've studied the criminal justice system with the roots of the problem and how to fix it, but I disagree with most of the ones who notice the problem, but mis-assign blame.

The point I'm trying to make with that long post, is that people are aware of these problems, and they don't see an isolated incident, but instead see the whole system when looking at that footage. However, that officer is a human, not the system and he may even hate the problems the system causes as well, but he must follow policy. Even if you disagree with use of force policy, you should still expect and demand cops follow it. We as citizens, have control over policy and elected officials who make policy. If we say to the cops, that they should only obey policy we like, than we're giving them license to act, outside of our control. When an organization has a monopoly on force, it's usually best that they act in ways that we direct, instead of "the correct way" or "how we want them to act". The second we tell them to ignore policy, we give them license to act in accordance to their will, instead of the people's will.

In the United States, as well as probably every country in the world, officers are given the power to use force, by the people and representatives of the people. This force doesn't always look pretty. Actually the force doesn't look pretty most of the time. Anytime you see an officer use force, it's ugly. It means things have gotten out of control, and their is no pretty solution.

There are specific way that we allow officers to use force, let's talk about one way. The officer yells at the girl in the video to lay down. Now the Supreme Court of the United States has determined that citizens, must obey all lawful orders. So if an officer orders you to do anything to assist them in an investigation, arresting you, or to gain control of a situation, you must obey. Whether or not you agree with that law, it is in fact law. People do not have as many rights as they think they do, or even that I think they should have. When they disobey these lawful commands. As long as these lawful commands, don't infringe on your constitutional rights, you must obey.

The next step for an officer is to use what is known as the "use of force continuum", as a guide for determining the level of force they can use, to get you to comply. The use of force continuum in this situation says that he can use "soft hands" to get the girl to comply. "soft hands" is basically any non striking move you can think of, with some exceptions, such as choke holds (not headlocks) which cut off supply of oxygen, though they're allowed to use a similar move that interrupts blood flow. As you can see in the video, the girl is ordered to the ground on her belly and refuses to comply, so the officer is allowed to physically take her to the ground, and his hands on her and attempt of take down move are acceptable according to police policy.

"the officer had other choices he could have made to get the girl to comply"

What other options? If somebody says no, what else can you do, besides physically force them. My opponent officers no other course of action, and it's too late to do so in the final round.

My opponent keeps saying the girl isn't resisting, which is untrue. The girl is hitting the cop or running, but other forms of resistance are clearly there. The girl could lay down on her face at any moment, and the use of force by the officer ends, but she continually tries to remain standing or to sit up. Not all forms of resistance are violent, but they are resistance none the less.

My opponent may feel that the officers actions are wrong, but all he is doing is talking about his feelings. This is a debate and my opponent needs to make arguments, not just merely express feelings.
Debate Round No. 2
Debateteam1

Pro

My final note on the matter was it wrong for the McKinney Texas police officer to use excess force to subdue the teenage girl, and my counterpart, Con, claimed that I voiced my feelings instead of providing an argument. I find it amusing that Con's reason for rebuttal is that I failed to provide an argument and that people must conform to police orders according to the Supreme Court. I have to admit that perhaps my opponent did not see the entire video, so let me take a different approach so that Con can grasp the situation at hand.
The police were called to a community pool party because of a report of fighting. One Caucasian officer, Eric Casebolt, arrived on the scene and began interrogating teenagers, apparently singling out African Americans. He was yelling profanities, and instead of finding out who was involved in the altercation, grabs a young African-American teenager by the arm, throws her to the ground, and proceeds to lay her face down in the ground, while kneeling on her back to prevent her from moving. She is 14 years old, unarmed, wearing a bikini bathing suit, and to my knowledge it is unknown why he singled her out. Perhaps she was not following the command to leave the premises, perhaps she was mouthing off to the officer. Officer Casebolt's behavior was not favorable to many observers, and he failed to control the crowd. In fact, he escalated the situation with his behavior towards the young girl.
My argument for his behavior using excess force stems from the fact that the girl was unarmed, was not involved in the altercation that preceded the police call, and the fact that he clearly singled her out because she failed to leave, then so did a lot of teens in that crowd. I believe he chose the wrong way to get his job done, he made matters worse.
Here is another important fact that you need to read:
According to the Los Angeles Times, Eric Casebolt resigned from the police department on June 9, 2015. Cpl. David Eric Casebolt, who had been placed on administrative leave after the episode on Friday, remains under investigation, Chief Greg Conley said at a news conference. The corporal will keep his pension and benefits, the police chief said.

"Our policies, our training, our practice doesn"t support his actions," Chief Conley said. "He came into the call out of control, and as the video shows was out of control during the incident."

So Con, despite your reason for police executing laws and people must obey, police have policies and training to abide by in their profession (fact). Yes, police are human and they can make mistakes, but the fact of the matter resides that his own police chief stated that he was out of control, and with his resignation, it leaves me to conclude that it was wrong for him to use excess force on the young, unarmed girl. You might review the video again in order to see how ineffectively he performed his job. The very beginning of the video showed him doing a Samarai somersault onto the grass where the community pool area was. Perhaps you missed that part. That is my rebuttal argument.
Wylted

Con

Framework

The title of the debate is "Was it wrong for the McKinney, Texas police officer to use excess force to subdue the teenager girl".

This debate is not about, whether the pulling of the gun was wrong, it's not about whether the officer could have dealt with the situation in a nicer way. The debate is about whether or not excessive force is used, and whether the specific action to subdue the girl is wrong. My opponent has wandered from the resolution on numerous circumstances, and has argued from emotion.

The next are some direct responses to con, but they aren't really necessary, since he has literally dropped all of my arguments. He dropped my argument about the use of force continuum. He dropped my argument that police are given power to use their discretion to apply force, by the citizens through a Democratic process, he has dropped my arguments that the force wasn't excessive, he has dropped so many points that it isn't worth mentioning them at all.

Direct Responses

" I have to admit that perhaps my opponent did not see the entire video, so let me take a different approach so that Con can grasp the situation at hand."

I've seen the situation, and sir you're talking about events surrounding the situation and if those actions were wrong, but the debate is specifically about the handling of the girl, though those facts may be necessary to understand the question of wrongness, but whether those specific actions are right or wrong, is not within the realm of this debate.

" She is 14 years old, unarmed, wearing a bikini bathing suit, and to my knowledge it is unknown why he singled her out. Perhaps she was not following the command to leave the premises"

Yep she failed to obey that command, so he ordered her belly down as a response, since she refused that second command, he was authorized to use physical force to make her lay down. His order was lawful and according to the law, you must obey lawful orders from an officer. Her age, and the fact she is wearing a bathing suit has no bearing on policy. The policy is made to treat everyone the same, equality is an attribute we value in a democratic society, as applying the law differently to pretty girls in bikinis would be unjust.

"My argument for his behavior using excess force stems from the fact that the girl was unarmed, was not involved in the altercation that preceded the police call, and the fact that he clearly singled her out because she failed to leave, then so did a lot of teens in that crowd. I believe he chose the wrong way to get his job done, he made matters worse."

As I argued when use of force was in accordance with policy, the fact she is unarmed doesn't mean that the officer is no longer justified in using force. Singling somebody out somebody for disobeying a lawful order is a good thing to do, but beside the point, because we're not debating whether singling her out was wrong, only whether his use of force was. I believe he could've handled the situation better myself, he could of came into it with a better attitude, but it should be noted that cops who are jerks have the same authority to use force to gain compliance as one that is a nice guy, and if she resisted any officer after they ordered her to lay down, she would've had them use force on her. Now you can argue that other cops wouldn't have escalated the event that far, but it's beside the point and something that is also unknowable.

The Chief

The chief is a new argument in the final round, but I'll explain what he meant. The officer using foul language is against policy, and the officer acting so aggressively and like a jerk was unprofessional, but the portion of the video, we're debating is the takedown of the girl. The takedown is justified, other things he did was not. The chief wasn't saying that every action the officer took was against policy, he was saying that the officer did a bad job overall. Had this debate been about overall performance on the scene, I wouldn't accept it. The debate however is about the specific use of force on the girl.

Conclusion

After several arguments dropped. After my opponent barely staying on topic, you have to award argument points to me. Thanks for reading.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Why not forfeit the last round, if you're just going to post some stuff that gauruntees a loss?
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Arguments coming in less than 2 days
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Debateteam1WyltedTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con wins on virtually every front in this debate. Con demonstrated that the level of violence used was within policy required of the "force of continuum", and that there was sufficient justification for the level of force given (lack of compliance). Moreover Con undermines Pro's subjective arguments regarding the precise circumstances (bikini, unarmed) by arguing from the consequences of what would entail if cops were given that level of reign in their decisions. It is impossible to vote Pro for these reasons.