McKinney, Texas: Best Place to Live in America? What Really Happened There at a PRIVATE Pool Party This Weekend?

Historic-Downtown-McKinney

UPDATE: Comes word from Robert Wilonsky at the Dallas Morning News that civil rights groups and activists are demanding a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the police action in McKinney — as they should. Many people feel (as I do) that the officer, Eric Casebolt, way over-reacted and should likely find another line of work. Meantime, I am having trouble locating the man who posted the “neighborhood plea”  we posted below, that is circulating Facebook: Michael Cory Quattrin.

MONEY Magazine voted McKinney, Texas, as the best place to live in America last year, and we are pretty bullish on the town, too: great homes, great values, charming downtown, a good school system.

Honestly, agents tell me most buyers prefer the schools in Lucas, Prosper and Allen. But McKinney’s are highly rated.

Now McKinney is on the national map, for a pool party incident at a private community pool in Craig Ranch, a 2200 acre private development of upscale single family homes, that was videoed, posted and put the community all over the internet as yet another community where white police pick on black. I saw the news last night and emailed Jo. My initial reaction to what I saw was outrage. Outrage at what appeared to be obvious police brutality against a teenage girl and a bunch of black teenagers. The headlines were clearly meant to incite and provoke a negative reaction against the McKinney police department, to suggest that McKinney is a racist community.

This is not the McKinney I know.

Then I recalled a party my daughter threw years ago in our back-yard on Park Lane, circa 1998, along with two friends. Word spread quickly (these kids had cell phones, not Twitter) that someone was having a backyard pool party with underage drinking, WHICH WE WERE NOT. Kids came out and over from everywhere, tall, thin, black and white, public school, private school. They came slinging six-packs over their shoulder, holding bottles of tequila, and we found so much booze in our yard after that night we stocked the (locked) bar for years.

I called the police to help me get the kids off my property, which they did. They were told to go home. And they did. I learned some brutal lessons parenting teenagers that night:

1. Teenagers lie.

2. Teenagers buy alcohol even if it is against the law to do so. Ditto cigarettes. And probably now weed — in California the teens actually smoke it in parked cars, but the police cannot do anything because it’s all “medical marijuana”.

3. Anyone hurt at that party that night would have been my responsibility and liability – – I had every right to get them out of my home before things got out of control.

McKinney Police Pool Party

 

Given that experience, I am dying to know what REALLY happened in McKinney, Texas Friday night. Clearly this was a private party at a private pool owned by the HOA. Private not as in elitist, but private as in ownership and liability. Things with the teenagers got out of control. Allegedly there was a fight.

Fight-befor-the-fight

The video posted everywhere of a police office pushing that young girl to the ground was only 7 minutes long, and was a micro shot of the whole event, which lasted at least 30 minutes. There is likely much more not “shown in the video”, and in fact other videos are coming out apparently showing why the parents called the police. I suspect we will see more, like this plea from a resident who says the news media is refusing the hear the neighborhood’s side of the story:

McKinney Police Pool Party FB Post

Is this situation being inflamed by the media? Or was there sheer, vicious racism taking place Friday night in McKinney? I don’t think we are going to find out much from the initial news reports in the media. The media, unfortunately, sometimes rushes in to report a story because there is a huge pressure to be first, show off that you have the biggest testicles when it comes to news reporting. And the Facebook posts — well, they sure incited me at first! But I have already found two that were off base and contradictory.

The McKinney pool party is a perfect example of how the media can get carried away with sensationalism over truth.

We invite our McKinney readers to weigh in on what happened, and we hope the McKinney police will follow through with a complete investigation, as they have promised. The community could become a shining star of how to communicate and react to inflammatory situations. Clearly the woman who shouted “go back to your Section 8 housing” to the party crashers — if she did –– was not a great example of a mature, intelligent McKinney resident. I sure wouldn’t want her chaperoning my children or grandchildren or even next door.

Still, I am disappointed in this story from the Atlantic, which hints that it is racism and elitism that creates scenarios such as this, because taxpayers no longer fund public pools and the rich escape the poor by privatization. Could this hurt McKinney property values?  First of all, McKinney has several public pools — some cost a nominal $1.25 to get in, and they close at 5pm. And the party did not take place at a public “communal” pool:

It is the latest in a string of incidents of police using apparently excessive force against African Americans that has captured public attention. And it took place at a communal pool—where, for more than a century, conflicts over race and class have often surfaced.

It was a private pool, one of two at Craig Ranch. Pools have become increasingly difficult to insure in the last several years — I am now told that if you have a diving board in your private back yard pool, it is impossible to obtain insurance. While they may be cheaper to build now than they were in 1920,  pools are expensive to maintain and create huge liabilities.

In Marshall, Texas, for example, in 1957, a young man backed by the NAACP sued to force the integration of a brand-new swimming pool. When the judge made it clear the city would lose, citizens voted 1,758-89 to have the city sell all of its recreational facilities rather than integrate them. The pool was sold to a local Lions’ Club, which was able to operate it as a whites-only private facility. The decisions of other communities were rarely so transparent, but the trend was unmistakable. Before 1950, Americans went swimming as often as they went to the movies, but they did so in public pools. There were relatively few club pools, and private pools were markers of extraordinary wealth. Over the next half-century, though, the number of private in-ground pools increased from roughly 2,500 to more than four million. The declining cost of pool construction, improved technology, and suburbanization all played important roles.

Shame on Marshall, Texas. But while some communities may have closed pools due to blatant discrimination, many pools closed in the ’40’s and ’50’s during the poliovirus outbreak from fear the disease could expose children to the virus in public swimming pools: 

With the growth in popularity came the need for better sanitation measures. Originally pools used archaic filtration systems that required that water filters, and the actual water itself, to be changed frequently. Chlorine was discovered and produced prior to WWI in the early 1900s, but it was not until the war invigorated its manufacture that its use truly came into vogue. By the time of the polio scare in the late 1930s and 1940s, chlorine was used widely in public swimming pools as a sanitation measure.

Still, this didn’t prevent the panic that arose over the public’s fears that children could be exposed to the poliovirus in community swimming pools.

Here in Dallas, we know only too well how the population panics over disease.

As of this writing, I do not think the McKinney pool party is being accurately reported in the media. We need the whole story:

Whatever took place in McKinney on Friday, it occurred against this backdrop of the privatization of once-public facilities, giving residents the expectation of control over who sunbathes or doggie-paddles alongside them. Even if some of the teens were residents, and others possessed valid guest passes, as some insisted they did, the presence of “multiple juveniles…who do not live in the area” clearly triggered alarm. Several adults at the pool reportedly placed calls to the police. And none of the adult residents shown in the video appeared to manifest concern that the police response had gone too far, nor that its violence was disproportionate to the alleged offense.

To the contrary. Someone placed a sign by the pool on Sunday afternoon. It read, simply: “Thank you McKinney Police for keeping us safe.”

Friends in McKinney tell me that sign was not placed by the pool, but on the gate to a private home’s yard. We welcome your thoughts.

One Comment

  • Thank you Ms. Evans for giving us a broader perspective–there are two sides to every story, and teenagers indeed lie. Police officers have a challenging job. Let’s hear all voices and not jump to conclusions without an investigative process.