Police protection or police aggression?
As many of you have probably seen by now, yesterday a video went viral of a teenage pool party in McKinney Texas that left many wondering whether or not the line between police protection and police aggression had been crossed. After what most say was the McKinney Police Department responding to a resident's call for a "disturbance" in the neighborhood, police arrived and began to shut down the pool party in what appeared to be the relatively routine way cops shut down any teen party that gets a little out of control.
However, although most could agree that the majority of the cops were professional, footage from the 7 minute video shows one officer in particular, Eric Casebolt, being a little overzealous in his handling of the kids. From jump, we see Eric barrel roll to the scene while chasing down the 14-15 year olds, even pulling out his weapon at one point on a couple of teenage boys. Next thing you know, Casebolt aggressively proceeds to pin down one young lady, shoving the young girls face into the ground and digging both his knees into her back. Other kids scream in horror as the cop threatens them to be quiet, while telling them to get their 'asses' out of there.
Of course this issue has since raised a few questions, so here are some facts to know about the McKinney Pool Party:
1.) The Organizers of the Pool Party Were Blacks Residents of the Community
Contrary to what many thought was a classic case of kids crashing a party in the wrong neighborhood, the organizers of the end of the school year pool party was 15 year old Tatyana Rhodes and her mother Lashawna. Both ladies are residents of 'Craig Ranch,' a community with McKinney, Texas that has a public pool open to residents. The party was even advertised on social media (probably why it had more guest than expected). According to Tatyana and her friends, some of the neighbors did not agree with the party and some of its guests, who are not residents of the community, but rather, friends of Tatyana's. This lead to tension, an altercation and police being called to the scene there after:
Tatyana: So basically what happened was, me and my sister and few friends made a cookout and basically when I went to go get my keypad from someone, this lady was saying some raicial slurs to my friends, she was saying things like "Black F-ers" and "That's why you live in Section 8 homes. And there was also a male friend that was saying rude things...
So I said 'Excuse me?' and then the other lady, her name is Kate, came up to me and she smacked me in my face. And she went and hit me in my face and that's when most of the people attack me.
"He was just aggressive for no reason at all, it was horrible. Everything could've been solved way better than what it was. There were other officers that were actually nice to people."
I live in Craig Ranch. Most of the [people that attended] do.
LaShawna (Tatyana's Mom): I'm just upset we couldn't have a peaceful event and if there were any issues that they truly had, they should've came to me, the adult, that was here at the event, and say 'Hey, we don't want the kids or whatever,' and then let me handle it but not go the extreme. Most of these kids [were classmates]. There was food and everything.
Interesting enough, in 2009, the city of McKinney was sued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for discrimination. The Department brought actions against the city of McKinney and the McKinney Housing Authority after officials rejected a proposal to construct affordable and low-income housing on the west side (and more predominately Caucasion) area of McKinney, which includes Craig Ranch. The settlement required the housing authority to provide loans to developers for the construction of as many as 400 low-income housing units. This may explain why some of the "other" longtime residents told the young, African-American teens to go back to their "low income" homes.
2.) The Police Were Initially Called Because of an Actual Fight that Took Place
— Miles(K-Bandz) (@k1dmars) June 6, 2015
The police were initially called once this fight took place between one of the teen guests and another resident who was also at the public pool. Most say the fight was between a teen girl and an adult, White woman and McKinney resident. In the clip, you see an adult woman helping out one of the women in the fight with the Black teen, by hitting the teen over the head in an attempt to break up the altercation.
3.) The person who filmed the entire incident, a Caucasian teen named Brandon Brooks, most definitely thinks that this was a race issue:
Via a recent interview, Brandon revealed:
The 9-1-1 call was probably described as this Black girl beating up this mom, which was actually the other way around. The mom pulled the girl’s hair. I think the cop just got nervous and started putting every Black person on the ground, trying to catch this on girl who was in the fight with the mom- while the mom just stood there and laughed.
The parents were mostly like, ‘Oh, they deserved it.’ Or, ‘They shouldn’t have been in our pool.’ The parents were like happy that all he kids got put in handcuffs and were getting escorted out of the pool and whatever. The kids’ reaction was mostly like, ‘Oh my God.’ Or, ‘What’s gonna happen [to us?]
Most definitely [this was a race issue]. Some of the comments on my YouTube video were like, ‘Oh, the cameraman must be white.. because I was standing in the middle of these hoards of Black people, and I was the only one who the cops didn’t look at or who the cops didn’t put handcuffs on. I was basically invisible to the cops.
4.) The Teen Girl in the Video Was Not the One in the fight- She also Said She Did Nothing Wrong
Some say the teen girl who was harassed by Officer Eric Casebolt warranted his aggression because she resisted arrest, others say she simply used freedom of speech to let an officer know what he was doing was wrong (as far as using excessive force), she says she actually did nothing. According to 15 year old Dajerria Becton, who could be seen and heard crying for her mom in the video:
"He (Officer Eric Casebolt) told me to keep walking and I kept walking and I guess he thought we were saying rude stuff to them.
He grabbed me and he liked twisted my arm in the back of my back and he shoved me in the grass and he started pulling the back of braids and I was telling him he can get off me because my back was hurting really bad. Him getting fired isn't enough."RT #craigranch #RETWEET pic.twitter.com/DjHf7I7njr — lohanthony 10/26 (@Xmukexziamx) June 6, 2015
However, according to an older resident (who chose to blur out her face since supporters of Officer Casebolt have already started getting threats), she said that is not the case:
Resident: He grabbed her arm to try and handcuff her and she started resisting immediately and she should've just stopped at the point like anybody and sat down and put her hands behind he back and he said lie on the floor and she wouldn't.
They (the police officers) are just doing the right thing while these kids were fleeing and using profanity and threatening security guards.
5.) There are Supporters Already Putting Up Signs Thanking the McKninney PD:
Interesting Fact: The community’s indoor and outdoor sports training center, which includes the pool, was founded by African-American Olympic gold medalist and world record sprinter Michael Johnson.
As of right now, McKinney Chief Police Greg Conley confirms that Casebolt has been suspended for the time being, while also adding that he is, "committed to the complete and thorough investigation into this incident."
What are your thoughts on the issue?
Catch the footage of the dramatic police shake down and the interview with the teen who filmed the incident on Page 2