By James Ragland
Pastor Mike Connaway and I sat on the steep concrete steps of his downtown church for two hours, talking about life, faith, parenting — and the infamous swimming pool incident that’s drawing global attention to McKinney.
The Seattle transplant recently moved just a few blocks away from where the melee occurred, in the Craig Ranch subdivision on the town’s fast-growing west side.
Like many other residents and leaders of McKinney, Connaway, who is white, was disturbed by the shocking seven-minute video that showed a white police officer throwing a bikini-clad black teenage girl on the ground and then kneeling on her back.
He found it disgusting. And he knew the town was sitting on a powder keg if it didn’t handle the matter openly and decisively.
“I’m not a big social justice guy,” said Connaway, senior pastor of VLife, a nondenominational church he founded in 2010. “But when it is a social justice issue, you must stand up.”
The truth is, as humiliating and humbling as the past few days have been for the city of McKinney — and there are still a lot of moving pieces in this saga — the townsfolk are, for the most part, juggling this about as well as one could expect.
That includes the relatively new police chief, who distanced his department from the actions of Cpl. Eric Casebolt; and the town’s seasoned mayor, who didn’t waste much time in describing Casebolt’s response to a reported fight at the pool as “out of control.”