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.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION -

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.

NDN

McKIN­NEY, Texas, of­fi­cials iden­ti­fied the off icer who held the girl in the video as David Eric Case­bolt.

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