Video of Texas cop’s actions raises tension
Officer is placed on leave after pinning down a teenage girl and drawing his gun at a crowded pool party.
McKINNEY, Texas — A black teenager in a swimsuit repeatedly cried out, “Call my momma!” as a white police officer pinned her to the ground, moments after drawing his handgun on other black teens.
“On your face!” the officer yelled at the girl amid screaming from a crowd of onlookers.
The officer’s actions raised tension and triggered a protest Monday in this Dallas suburb, where some community activists accused him of racism while others urged calm until the facts are investigated.
Jahi Adisa Bakari, the father of another teenage girl at the party, said he would press for the officer to be fired, saying he “was out of control.”
But Benet Embry, a black local radio personality who witnessed the incident, said it was “not another Ferguson” or “another Baltimore,” referring to other police encounters that have left suspects dead and fueled a nationwide “Black Lives Matter” movement.
“This was a teenage party that got out of hand,” Embry said.
Police said some of the young people did not live in the area and did not have permission to be at the pool in McKinney, an aff luent, predominantly white city.
According to neighbors, Embry said, a woman who lives in the community reserved the pool for a party. The homeowners association limits the number of guests each homeowner may have at the pool to two. But about 130 people, mostly teens, showed up for the woman’s party, he said.
At one point, several kids began jumping over the fence to get into the pool area and were causing a disturbance, Embry said, and a couple of fights broke out.
Although he did not agree with the officer’s profanity or belligerence, Embry said police were right to respond.
“That’s what they are supposed to do, protect us,” he said. “I don’t know any other way he could have taken her down or established order.”
The officer has been placed on administrative leave. In a statement, the McKinney Police Department said the video “raised concerns that are being investigated.”
City spokeswoman Anna Clark identified the officer as David Eric Casebolt, 41, who joined the police force in August 2005.
As police broke up the crowd, the officer pulled the bikini-clad girl to the ground, then used his knees to pin her down. He also pointed his gun at other teens and cursed.
“He grabbed me, twisted my arm on my back and shoved me in the grass and started pulling the back of my braids,” Dajerria Becton, 15, told television station KDFW. “I was telling him to get off me because my back was hurting bad.
“I understand how he was feeling, everybody surrounding him,” she said. “I don’t think he should have pulled a gun out on 15-yearold kids.”
Brandon Brooks, the teen who recorded the video, told KDFW that tension rose after a white woman and a black teen at the party had an altercation. He said the woman told the teen “to go back to Section 8 housing,” a reference to federal aid given to low-income families.
The comment holds extra significance in McKinney, which has been the target of lawsuits accusing its housing authority of racially segregating Section 8 housing. One long-running lawsuit was settled with a consent decree in 2012 that aimed to open up the west side to subsidized housing.
Brooks, who is white, said that the officer was “out of line” and that he felt compelled to keep filming when Casebolt pulled out his gun.
“At that point, my heart did drop and I was scared that someone was going to get shot and possibly killed,” he said.
Mayor Brian Loughmiller said city officials planned to meet with community leaders to discuss the incident.
McKINNEY, Texas, officials identified the off icer who held the girl in the video as David Eric Casebolt.