We’re heartbroken and infuriated by a recent video from McKinney, Texas, where a police officer—now identified as Cpl. Eric Casebolt—attacks and yells at teenagers attending a pool party. What really happened in McKinney? As you might suspect, the police and attendees have very different opinions.
The video shows Casebolt chasing after young black men, forcing them onto to the grass and handcuffing them. Casebolt then grabs a girl in a bikini, indentified as Dejerria Becton, by the head and uses his weight to keep her on the ground. He is then seen pulling his gun on two boys who come over seemingly to help Becton. Becton spoke to Fox 4 about the attack here. The hashtag “#sayhername” is blowing up on twitter, urging people to use Becton’s name.
Casebolt has since been put on administrative leave while his department investigates the instance, but this isn’t the first time he’s been investigated for racism. In 2007, Casebolt was sued by a man who accused him of racial bias and sexual assault.
In light of this incident, a petition has been posted on colorofchange.org “urging local officials to fire Officer Casebolt and charge him with assault and battery for his brutal and discriminatory actions.” You can view and sign the petition here.
The McKinney Police Department issued a statement on their Facebook saying, “The initial call came in as a disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave. McKinney Police received several additional calls related to this incident advising that juveniles were now actively fighting.”
Unsurprisingly, the official report doesn’t line up perfectly with what attendees and neighborhood residents say happened. The pool party was held at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool, open to to residents of the community. In another video, Tatyana Rhodes, a young woman who lives nearby, said she and her mother organized the party as an end-of-school bash. She says the kids were all invited and many of them live nearby. Some say the party was advertised on Twitter, meaning anyone could attend.
Although it’s unclear how the dispute started, the video makes it clear Casebolt used violence to subdue people. Officials haven’t decided if they believe his actions were justified, but there’s been a massive outcry from the public—and watching the video, you can easily see why. McKinney comes on the heels of #blacklivesmatter, nation-wide criticism of police brutality towards black citizens—including the shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Tamir Rice in Cleveland.
Unfortunately, in many of these cases, cops have gotten off with very light sentences or no sentence at all. Will Casebolt be charged for his actions or will he too be seen as innocent in the eyes of the law? Watch the video for yourself below.
Image and video courtesy of Brandon Brooks on Youtube