Po­lice­man who con­fronted teens re­signs

Texas po­lice chief calls the of­fi­cer’s ac­tions ‘in­de­fen­si­ble.’ A crim­i­nal in­quiry is un­der­way, he says.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Matt Pearce matt.pearce@la­times.com

The Texas po­lice of­fi­cer who drew his gun on un­armed teenagers at a pool party and threw a 14-yearold girl in a bikini to the ground has re­signed, of­fi­cials said Tues­day.

Cpl. Eric Case­bolt had been suspended Sun­day af­ter video emerged of him ag­gres­sively con­fronting black teenagers Fri­day evening in McKin­ney, a Dal­las sub­urb.

City of­fi­cials con­demned his con­duct as they an­nounced the res­ig­na­tion.

“Our pol­icy, our train­ing, our prac­tices do not sup­port th­ese ac­tions,” McKin­ney Po­lice Chief Greg Con­ley said at a tele­vised news con­fer­ence.

He called Case­bolt’s ac­tions “in­de­fen­si­ble.”

“He came to the call out of con­trol,” Con­ley said. “I had 12 of­fi­cers on the scene, and 11 of them per­formed ac­cord­ing to their train­ing.”

Of­fi­cials said res­i­dents had called the po­lice to com­plain about an out-of-con- trol party and fight­ing. Some teenagers said they had per­mis­sion to be at the pool and said res­i­dents had ha­rassed them.

A by­stander’s video, which has gar­nered mil­lions of views on YouTube, showed Case­bolt shout­ing and curs­ing at teenagers who did not ap­pear to be act­ing vi­o­lently or ag­gres­sively. Case­bolt, who is white, wres­tled some black youths to the ground.

With the of­fi­cer’s res­ig­na­tion, the in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion comes to an end, Con­ley said, and Case­bolt will keep his pen­sion and benefits. The chief added that a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion was on­go­ing and would take “a mat­ter of time to work through.”

Mayor Brian Lough­miller told re­porters that he was keep­ing close tabs on the sit­u­a­tion and had met with com­mu­nity lead­ers to dis­cuss their con­cerns.

“We all have to learn from what oc­curred,” Lough­miller said.

Jane Bishkin, a Dal­las at­tor­ney who rep­re­sents Case­bolt and sev­eral po­lice unions, said in a text mes­sage that there would be a state­ment about Case­bolt’s res­ig­na­tion on Wed­nes­day.

The episode tapped into the na­tional furor over how po­lice treat black com­muni- ty mem­bers. This one was un­usual in that no one in­volved ap­peared to have been se­ri­ously hurt.

Even so, the video drew public con­dem­na­tion and de­mands from pro­test­ers that Case­bolt be fired.

For some crit­ics, the in­ci­dent sum­moned mem­o­ries of seg­re­ga­tion, when African Amer­i­cans were barred from swim­ming in pools with white Amer­i­cans.

But the McKin­ney Fra­ter­nal Or­der of Po­lice, the union that rep­re­sents Case­bolt, said Mon­day that “this was not a racially mo­ti­vated in­ci­dent” and that McKin­ney po­lice do not con­duct “racially biased polic­ing.”

In the video, of­fi­cers can be seen sprint­ing through a sub­di­vi­sion near the pool as clus­ters of teens stand around and watch.

“A fight be­tween a mom and a girl broke out and when the cops showed up ev­ery­one ran, in­clud­ing the peo­ple who didn’t do any­thing,” the user who up­loaded the video to YouTube on Satur­day wrote in a cap­tion. “So the cops just started putting ev­ery­one on the ground and in hand­cuffs for no rea­son.”

The user iden­ti­fied him­self as Bran­don Brooks.

On the video, one teen can be heard telling an of­fi­cer, “Sir, we’re just here for a birth­day party, please!”

Case­bolt drew public scorn af­ter the video showed him con­fronting black teens ag­gres­sively, forc­ing boys in the group on the ground and us­ing pro­fan­i­ties as he told the lin­ger­ing youths, by turns, to ei­ther stay on the ground or to leave the area.

“Don’t make me ... run around here with 30 pounds of god­damn gear on in the sun be­cause you want to screw around out here,” he told a cou­ple of black teen- agers he had or­dered to sit on the ground.

At one point in the video, Case­bolt walked up to a 14year-old black girl in a bikini and wres­tled her down to a side­walk, forc­ing her head down with his hand. That up­set oth­ers who were stand­ing around peace­fully.

When two un­armed teen boys rushed up, the of­fi­cer pulled out his gun, and they ran away.

“Call my mama!” the girl in the bikini, who’d be­come emo­tional, called out while sit­ting up on the side­walk.

Case­bolt then picked her up from the side­walk, threw her back down on the grass and then on her face, and put his knee on her back as a cou­ple of white adults stood be­tween him and the teens.

“He grabbed me, twisted my arm on my back and shoved me in the grass and started pulling the back of my braids,” the girl, Da­jer­ria Bec­ton, told Dal­las-area KDFW-TV.

She said she had been in­vited to the party and was not in­volved in any fight­ing. “I was telling him to get off me be­cause my back was hurt­ing bad.”

The girl and her fam­ily could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment Tues­day evening.

Sky News

A STILL IM­AGE from a by­stander’s video shows Of­fi­cer Eric Case­bolt sub­du­ing a 14-year-old girl at a pool party Fri­day in McKin­ney, Texas.

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