It took me a few days to get over the blatant racism that we have all seen by the cops in McKinney Tx. I’m not surprised by it though, being a black man from Texas. Texas has a long history of racism against minorities and many incidents have been reported but there are many that have not been reported. One of the biggest in recent times was the dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
On Friday June 5th, a large group of teens gathered for a pool party in the city of McKinney, Texas. Shortly thereafter, someone called the police. The McKinney Police Department announced it was placing Eric Casebolt, the patrol supervisor shown in the video, on administrative leave.
Casebolt is seen in the video along with at least two other officers who appear to have been the first on the scene. He first appears while running after a teen, tripping and then doing a barrel roll to recover, while dropping his flashlight.
He returns to the area where a group of teens, including the teen filming the scene, are standing, and grabs one by the arm, twisting him down to the ground while the teen, who is black, appears to be speaking calmly to another officer, who also seems calm. Casebolt runs off and detains two other black teens and curses at a group of black girls, telling them to leave.
Casebolt yells at a group of teens he detained, saying “Don’t make me fucking run around here with 30 pounds of goddamn gear on in the sun cause you want to screw around out here.”
After delivering the lecture, Casebolt goes up to the group of girls, and warns them not to “keep standing there running your mouths,” and tells them to leave “now.”
The video shows a 15-year-old black girl, Dajerria Becton, walking away with the group. She then stops and turns back towards Casebolt and it’s not clear if she says something to him. Casebolt charges after her and grabs her by the arm, dragging her to the ground.
As he wrestles her to the ground, two other teens approach and appear to try to stop him from detaining her. Casebolt then pulls his gun from his holster and points it toward the teens. Two other officers then take off after the teens who ran, and Casebolt re-holsters his gun. He then continues to detain the girl, holding her on the ground.
Police said in the statement, “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.”
Teens who were at the community pool said the fight started between adults and teens when the adults made racist comments, including telling the black youths to “return to Section 8 housing.”
The city was sued in 2009 over alleged housing discrimination. The city settled the lawsuit, with an agreement that 400 low-income housing units be built. The first portion of those units, a 164-unit complex, is being built now.
Federal court documents show that Casebolt and other officers were sued in 2008 in federal court for racial profiling, harassment, failure to render aid and sexual assault.
Albert E. Brown Jr. accused Casebolt of reaching into his “private area” and pulling his pants “down below ankles” during the traffic stop.
Brown was parked on the wrong side of a road in McKinney, according to the civil complaint. Casebolt told Brown he was going to write him a ticket for the traffic offense, but then said he saw two marijuana seeds and an open container in the car. Brown said Casebolt remarked about the “white girls” who were with him, made comments about him and his clothes, and then grabbed his private are and pulled his pants down.
Brown also claimed in the lawsuit that another officer, Lee Keith, slammed his head into the hood of the car repeatedly. He said Keith held him while Casebolt pulled his pants down. Another officer, who is not named in the lawsuit, allegedly spread his legs while one of the officers shined a flashlight in his anus.
Brown was arrested on charges of marijuana possession and attempting to take a weapon from an officer.
Whatever took place in McKinney on Friday, it occurred against this backdrop of the privatization of once-public facilities, giving residents the expectation of control over who sunbathes or doggie-paddles alongside them. Even if some of the teens were residents, and others possessed valid guest passes, as some insisted they did, the presence of “multiple juveniles…who do not live in the area” clearly triggered alarm. Several adults at the pool reportedly placed calls to the police. And none of the adult residents shown in the video appeared to manifest concern that the police response had gone too far, nor that its violence was disproportionate to the alleged offense.