‘I’m the Real Victim Here’–Cop Who Quit over Body-Slamming Bikini Girl, 15, Speaks from Hiding Place
Shekhar Bhatia, Daily Mail, June 12, 2015
The ex-cop who was captured on video forcibly detaining a bikini-clad screaming schoolgirl says he has been caught up in an anti-police campaign which has nothing to do with him.
Eric Casebolt is in hiding, fearing for his life, as his police department has received more than 27,000 calls and emails from around the world, many of them messages of hate and containing threats.
But Casebolt, 41, said: ‘I am devastated that what I did is being used in all the talk about the way African-Americans are treated by police.’
He told a friend, who relayed his message to Daily Mail Online: ‘There are legitimate claims about police brutality and racial profiling and questions about the shootings of African-American people by police and I have been dragged into it.
‘I am a victim of all that has been going on right now. I’m just sorry that I have contributed to it. On another time, nobody could have accused me of being racist.
‘Things got the better of me and that’s all. I am very concerned that folk stop judging me in that way. All the other incidents with police on video this year has nothing to do with me.’
The married former officer, who has a teenage son, is to receive counseling for stress and is worried about his safety and that of his family.
He has received no official police protection, although off-duty colleagues are guarding his home and his secret hiding place.
His detention of 15-year-old Dajerria Becton, during which he pushed her face into the ground with his knee in her back, led to widespread criticism and his resignation.
A video, shot on a mobile phone by a schoolboy, emerged on the internet later, and has led to an extraordinary outpouring of hatred, Daily Mail Online can reveal.
Google has been manipulated so that searching for ‘McKinney Police’ delivers a mocked-up picture of an officer standing next to a hooded member of the Ku Klux Klan.
The venom has also led McKinney Police to shut down its Facebook page and another page set up to support the 41-year-old officer, who has resigned, has been over taken by anti-police rhetoric.
A message on it reads: ‘This was formerly a page that supported out-of-control cop Eric Casebolt, but we took it away from the former admin and made it a better place.’
The page now carries messages of contempt for Casebolt and police and images mocking the pool party incident at Craig Ranch, McKinney, a week ago.
The officer was one of a dozen called to the scene, but the only one to draw his weapon while trying to round up teenage suspects he felt may have been involved in trouble.
Residents at the exclusive enclave had called police after a fight broke out involving two white women and a black teenager and more than 100 youngsters converged on the private swimming pool and children’s park.
Nobody was charged in connection with the incidents, but demonstrators held a protest at the pool and accused police of racism.
McKinney police department has received hostile messages and threats of violence from people as far afield as Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand, a police source said.
Casebolt and his wife are ‘scared’ for their safety, but overwhelmed by support they have also received.
A source said: ‘The first few days were a nightmare for him as he saw his good reputation shot down. He then had to deal with threats to his safety.
‘He is extremely grateful for the support that has started to come his way in the last 48 hours and is overwhelmed that people are prepared to help him financially.
‘His fellow police officers are restricted on what they can say publicly, but they are supporting and protecting him privately. He has had many offers of help from them.
‘Some have told him, it could so easily have been them in this position while trying only to do their job and serve their community.’
However, his chief of police Greg Conley described Casebolt’s actions as ‘indefensible’ and added: ‘He came into the call out of control, and as the video shows, was out of control during the incident.’
But it later emerged that the cop had attended two suicide call outs in the hour before going to the pool and had comforted the widow of a man who shot himself dead in front of children at an apartment complex.
But Casebolt, who served 11 years as a policeman, has hired top criminal defense attorney Tom Mills as he fears he is about to be charged.
A sergeant at Mckinney Police Department’s Internal Affairs completes his investigation and reports on Monday.
The District Attorney will then place the matter before the jury and ask them to view footage of the incident and evidence from witnesses.
A source told Mail Online that Casebolt is also preparing to be sued by the schoolgirl’s lawyers.
If a charge is levied, Mail Online has been told, the former officer will argue that he was carrying out his duties in difficult circumstances and attempting to detain witnesses as he would be have been required to do.’
His lawyer Jane Bishkin described him as ‘a compassionate officer who only wanted to serve the community of McKinney’.
Casebolt had attended two suicide call outs in the hour before the incident at Craig Ranch when he manhandled the schoolgirl while trying to detain her.
A witness to the first incident where a man shot himself dead by a swimming pool said Casebolt was extremely professional when he arrived. The tragedy happened around eight miles from Craig Ranch.
Vanessa Vigil, 16, and her mother Patricia,48, live in a house overlooking the swimming pool where the victim shot himself with a handgun.
He was with his partner and baby son when he killed himself with a single shot in front of children and their parents.
Casebolt, who had only signed onto his shift less than 30 minutes before, comforted the woman and helped seal off the area.
Vanessa said: ‘I saw him standing over the body which was lying next to some blue loungers and beside the pool edge.
‘The policeman looked pained and afflicted as he stood there.
‘Then when the kids came back he told them to stay away. I think he may have thought they would have been affected by the site of the body.’
She added: ‘I was looking at Twitter on Sunday and I saw the video of the girl at the pool and I recognized him as the same police man.
‘I think he was very good here, but he seemed to have lost it at the other pool.’
The suicide victim, who police and the local coroner have declined to name, was said to have lost his job as a truck driver and enrolled a welfare program, but had been suffering depression.
Casebolt attended a second suicide call out minutes later, at a separate location, and helped officers comfort a schoolgirl after she had been talked down by other police officers.
He then attended the call at Craig Ranch after a pool party went out of control and residents called police following a confrontation between two white women and the party organizer Tatiana Rhodes.
Police are also looking at how the party came to be attended by more than 100 youngsters, many from outside the area, after learning of the party through social media.
A disc jockey, DJ Reign, was also there and residents complained that he played loud rap music littered with profanities and inappropriate for the area.
The swimming pool and playground at Riverwalk are strictly off limits to non residents unless they are accompanied by somebody who lives in the nearby detached houses.
Only two guests per resident are allowed entry into the recreational area.Rhodes, 19, accused the women of racially abusing her, a claim that was substantiated by a witness, white school girl Grace Stone.
The party planner, who called the event a ‘cook out’, is seen apparently fighting and pulling one of the women’s hair, while another intervenes.
The first woman was identified by Mail Online as Tracy Allbritton whose best friend Aaron Clark, who is black, denied her actions were fueled by racism.
Tatiana claimed she became involved the scuffle, after black friends were racially abused.
Local resident Jayne Richardson, who is white,said: ‘ This is not about being anti-police. I was in the military police and my brother in law is an officer on Oklahoma. My father served in the forces.
‘I am very much pro the uniform and blue. But I can’t stand people being anti-black.
‘This incident and those we have seen on social media in recent times involving officers and black people has made me have a good look at things.
‘I now wonder how many innocent black people have been unlawfully killed or wrongly dragged off to prison over the years before.
‘It is only because of cell phones now that we can see there are many questions about the treatment of black people by the police in America.
‘We need to sort this problem out once and for all. Craig Ranch is a good place to start.
Attorney Hannah Stroud, who represents Dajerria Becton said her client had gone on vacation and any civil legal action against the officer would be considered once a decision on any criminal proceedings had been made.
But police sources stressed that every individual involved in the first incident involving Ms Rhodes and the two white women and the youngsters in the second matter with Casebolt were still under investigation.