The arrest of a black man at the annual New Year’s street celebration in tiny, predominantly white Yellow Springs, Ohio, was an awakening to many who live there, the New York Times reports. Dozens of residents criticized the police force on Facebook, accusing officers of carrying an “us versus them” attitude. Hundreds packed a gym for a special Village Council meeting to denounce the episode. Issa Walker, 28, a Yellow Springs native who is black, wrote the hashtag #WhiteFolksHereAintHavinIt beneath a picture of the meeting he posted to Facebook.
In the consensus over the need for less aggressive policing, there were differences in perspective: White residents complained about the officers’ violation of social norms in a laid-back town, while black residents focused on what they saw as a racially biased force that targets them regularly. “I don’t know if I would call it a coincidence that out of a majority white crowd, a black man would be the one to get tackled to the ground and Tased,” Walker said. A white councilman, Brian Housh, said, “I personally don’t believe that there was racial profiling or anything in town.” Yellow Springs, with 3,500 residents, is the home of Antioch College. In the incident, police charged David Carlson, 29, who is black, with felony obstruction and misdemeanor theft, saying that he took an officer’s Taser.