A white police officer in McKinney, Tex., has been suspended after a shocking video emerged Saturday that shows the officer manhandling, arresting and drawing his gun on a group of black children outside a pool party, according to news reports.
The video, which was uploaded to YouTube, captures a chaotic scene in a suburban community one hour north of Dallas that grows increasingly tense when the officer — identified as Cpl. Eric Casebolt — attempts to throw a young woman onto a sidewalk before using his body weight to push her head toward the concrete.
When several teenagers move toward Casebolt, he lets the young woman go and takes several steps toward them. As they begin to back up and then turn to flee, he pulls out his gun and approaches menacingly before two other officers appear to intervene.
Casebolt can be seen running through the confused crowd of young people while swearing and appearing to randomly handcuff teenagers, who protested that they’d just arrived at the scene to attend the pool party.
“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,” Brandon Brooks, who uploaded the video to YouTube, wrote in the description. “So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason. This kind of force is uncalled for especially on children and innocent bystanders.”
According to a statement posted on the McKinney Police Department’s Facebook page, officers responded to a “disturbance” at the Craig Ranch North community pool at 7:15 p.m. The statement notes that the juveniles at the scene “do not live in the area or have permission to be there.”
The statement adds:
First responding officers encountered a large crowd that refused to comply with police commands. Nine additional units responded to the scene. Officers were eventually able to gain control of the situation.
McKinney Police later learned of a video that was taken at the scene by an unknown party. This video has raised concerns that are being investigated by the McKinney Police Department. At this time, one of the responding officers has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.
Casebolt, a 10-year-veteran of the police department, also serves as a vice president of McKinney’s police union, according to the group’s Facebook page. He received an award for “Patrolman of the Year” in 2008, according to the McKinney Courier-Gazette.
He has been identified as a onetime instructor at Executive Self-Defense and Fitness, whose Web site noted that — in addition to martial arts training — he has “a strong working knowledge of human behavior” and “experience in the use of all levels of force.”
McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller released a statement on Sunday saying he is “disturbed and concerned by the incident” captured in the video.
“Our expectation as a City Council is that out police department and other departments will act professionally and with appropriate restraint relative to the situation they are faced with,” the statement said.
Teenagers who were at the pool party told BuzzFeed News that the gathering was an end-of-school celebration. They said that they were able to gather at the pool using guest passes and that the incident began when adults at the pool told the black children to leave the area and return to “Section 8 [public] housing.”
“I think a bunch of white parents were angry that a bunch of black kids who don’t live in the neighborhood were in the pool,” Brooks, who is white, told BuzzFeed.
“Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic,” he added. The cop “didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.”
Donnie Stone, whose 14-year-old daughter was placed in handcuffs and later freed, told BuzzFeed that he plans to file assault charges against the adult woman at the pool who allegedly instigated the confrontation.