Protests Follow Video of Officer Drawing Gun on Black Teens

David Warren, ABC News, June 9, 2015

Hundreds of demonstrators marched Monday night to the pool where a white police officer pinned a black teenage girl to the ground and pulled a gun on others over the weekend. The protesters carried signs that included the phrases, “My skin color is not a crime” and “Fire Eric Casebolt.”

Some community activists in McKinney, an affluent, predominantly white Dallas suburb, have accused Casebolt, a 41-year-old officer, of racism. Others urged calm until the facts are investigated.

According to neighbors, a woman who lives in the community reserved the pool for a party, said Benét Embry, a black local radio personality who witnessed the Friday incident. The homeowners’ association limits the number of guests each homeowner may have at the pool to two. But about 130 people, mostly kids, showed up. At one point, several kids began jumping over the fence to get into the pool area and were causing a disturbance, Embry said, and a couple of fights broke out.

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Police said some of the young people did not live in the area and did not have permission to be at the pool.

The events were captured on video by a teenager. In the video, a black teenager in a bikini repeatedly cries out, “Call my momma!” as Casebolt pins her to the ground, only moments after drawing his handgun on other black teens.

“On your face!” he yelled at the girl, amid screaming from a crowd of onlookers.

While he did not agree with the officer’s profanity or belligerence, Embry said, police were right to respond.

“That’s what they are supposed to do–protect us,” he said. “I don’t know any other way he could have taken her down or established order.”

Casebolt has been placed on administrative leave. In a statement, the police department said the video “raised concerns that are being investigated.”

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The girl claimed Casebolt told her to walk away but forced her down after “he thought we were saying rude stuff to him,” according to an interview she gave to television station KDFW.

“He grabbed me, twisted my arm on my back and shoved me in the grass and started pulling the back of my braids,” Dajerria Becton, 15, said. “I was telling him to get off me because my back was hurting bad.”

“I understand how he was feeling, everybody surrounding him,” she said. “I don’t think he should have pulled a gun out on 15-year-old kids.”

Brandon Brooks, the teen who recorded the video, told KDFW that tensions rose after a white woman and a black teenager had an altercation. He said the white woman told the teen “to go back to Section 8 housing,” a reference to federal housing aid given to low-income families.

The comment holds extra significance in McKinney, which has been the target of lawsuits accusing its housing authority of racially segregating Section 8 housing. One long-running lawsuit was settled with a consent decree in 2012 that aimed to open up the west side to subsidized housing.

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Most people were released, except for one man arrested for interference with the duties of a police officer and evading arrest, police said.

[Editor’s Note: This article has details which complicate charges of “racism.”]

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