Buzzfeed reports that teens who attended the pool party where McKinney, Texas cop Eric Casebolt pulled a gun out on unarmed youth, and knocked down and straddled 15-year-old Dajerria Becton, say that adults made racist comments toward them—including encouraging them to go back to “Section 8 housing.” Section 8, or public housing, often connotes the place where poor people of color live. But in McKinney in particular, Section 8 also represents a major discrimination battle.
In 2008, a group called the Inclusive Communities Project, a housing nonprofit borne out of another discrimination suit in 1990, sued the City of McKinney as well as the Housing Authority of the City of McKinney (MHA for short), claiming the city was standing in the way of a plan to build public housing for very low-income families (who are mostly black and Latino) on McKinney’s west side—the same side of town where Officer Casebolt pulled his gun on Friday evening. The suit alleged that officials had limited Section 8 housing to the east side of town, thus creating a segregated city:
The City and MHA are willing to negotiate for and to provide financial support for the location of [Low Income Housing Tax Credits] housing in racially segregated low income and minority concentrated east McKinney area but refuse to do so in predominantly White west McKinney[.] The City’s and MHA’s actions refusing to participate in the [Inclusive Communities Project] program perpetuate racial segregation by making dwellings unavailable because of race or color in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
You can read the entire complaint, filed by the firm Daniel & Beshara, for yourself. The city tried to get the case dismissed—but the motion was denied. These are the terms with which the case was ultimately settled:
The settlement with the McKinney Housing Authority required it to provide local political subdivision contribution loans for up to 400 Low Income Housing Tax Credit units. ICP can provide at least $1,000,000 for these loans and has the option to provide additional funds to obtain the maximum 400 units required if the funds are made available.
So, when white residents tell black residents to go back to Section 8 housing, they’re telling them to return to the segregation that endured there until at least 2009. That context is important when it comes to understanding what’s transpired in McKinney, Texas, since.