Fuller said the city has made progress on policing since the incident. The police department has body cameras now, and officers have been patrolling neighborhoods on the east side by bike and on foot in order to build rapport with the community. The police meet with community members at events like Tacos With Cops and Coffee With Cops.
The mayor is done engaging with Alexander, the activist, who Fuller says threatened him inappropriately during a council hearing. He and other critics of Alexander point out his checkered legal past. Alexander, to him, is a “fame junkie looking to stay relevant” and “a clown that belongs in the circus.”
Alexander admits that he threatened to release information about council members’ conflicts of interest to the media, but says he doesn’t feel that was inappropriate. He told me that he has learned from his legal troubles, and he denied that he seeks fame.
He said the city hasn’t done nearly enough to address residential segregation and discriminatory policing. He’d like to see even more community meetings, along with an equity study of McKinney. “Back in 2015, I made an oath that I will continue to fight to address this issue,” he told me, “so that McKinney can live up to what it always brags about, which is that it’s the best place to live in America.”
Before I left McKinney, I went through the guarded gates of the pool from the video to talk with families as they watched their kids splash around.
“Why are you even here?” a white man in a baseball cap said when I introduced myself. He said he doesn’t trust the media much and feels that these days, people are hated just for voting for Trump.
“The cop was rough with a girl, he was amped up, it was a ruckus—but that girl went from punk to victim,” he said. He gazed out over the turquoise water, the fountains, the manicured park beyond. Black Lives Matter—a terrorist organization, in his view—was portraying the community in a bad light. Alexander, to him, was a “race baiter.” “I work my ass off to get what I have, and we’re gonna call you racist? That’s a candy-ass argument,” he muttered.
A white woman sitting nearby chimed in to say that if her son’s school were predominantly black, she doubted her family would be accepted.
If unrest comes their way, the man in the baseball cap said, “there are citizens who are armed and are not gonna put up with that.”
I walked around the pool toward another white couple playing with their kids in the water. They gave me fake names because they were worried about their jobs. “This is the most diverse neighborhood we’ve ever lived in,” the man said, paddling away from me slowly. The incident says nothing about the neighborhood, he added.
On this, he, McCain, and almost everyone I talked with seemed to agree: The incident is not unique to McKinney. It could have happened anywhere.