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Viral Video Continues Conversation About Race and Police Brutality in Jacksonville

Brandon Brooks

Discussions about race and police brutality continue in Jacksonville after a video of a police officer confronting a group of unarmed teenagers surfaces online.

The video shows Eric Casebolt, a police officer from McKinney, Texas, subduing a 14-year-old girl to the ground at pool party.

There were two rallies held in McKinney this weekend. One was in support of officer Casebolt. The other called for justice for his actions.

During an appearance on WJCT's “First Coast Connect,” Tad Delegal, labor and employment attorney, and Wells Todd, spokesperson for the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, discussed the dividing points of view concerning the incident.

“I think one of the things we need to do is step back and let the process play out,” Delegal said. “In this day and age we see bits and pieces or get one part of the story, and everyone jumps to conclusions, and frankly there’s a reason why police uses of force should be subjected to objective review.”

Delegal has represented officers in use-of-force cases.

Hey says it’s important to look at these incidents case-by-case and not make broad generalizations about police officers.

Todd says when we look at this issue in this latest event, it’s part of a deeper problem that we see across America.

“I think what we need to look at here is the broader picture of race relations in America, and the institutionalization of racism in America,” Todd said.

Todd says there is unfinished business dating back to Civil Rights Movement.

“To be able to sit in front of a bus is one thing. To sit at a lunch counter is one thing,” Todd said. “But to actually get your rights, and to talk about economic rights, and to talk about housing and schools. All those things were left undone, and now it’s boiled up again and come to the surface.”

Delegal says there are more African-Americans involved in police action because there is a greater percentage of African-Americans who are of lower socioeconomic status.

“These people don’t suddenly become racist when they become police officers,” Delegal said.

Todd says he’s not calling all police officers racist.

“It’s the system we live under that’s racist, and we have to confront that,” Todd said.

Listen to the full conversation with Tad Delegal and Wells Todd on Tuesday’s episode of the “First Coast Connect” podcast on iTunes.