David Eric Casebolt, a 40-year-old Navy veteran who had been an officer in McKinney for nearly 10 years, resigned from his position as corporal four days after the June 5 incident. He had been placed on administrative leave on Sunday after the video, which was posted to YouTube.
Police Chief Greg Conley called Casebolt’s actions “inexcusable” and said he was the only officer on the scene who didn’t follow proper protocols and training.
Casebolt, who goes by his middle name Eric, is white, while the teens he is seen arresting and yelling expletives at are black.
The family of the teens who were at the party and other community activists have called for criminal charges to also be filed against Casebolt.
McKinney, which is in Collin County, Texas, is about 40 minutes from Dallas. The city of about 131,000 residents is about 75 percent white and 11 percent black, according to the 2010 census. It was named as CNN Money’s Best Place to Live in America in 2014.
Update: A Collin County Grand Jury has declined to indict Casebolt. The decision was announced June 23, 2016.
Here’s what you need to know about the pool party incident and Casebolt:
1. Casebolt’s Attorney Says He Let His Emotions Get the Best of Him
Casebolt’s attorney, Jane Bishkin, spoke out for the first time on Wednesday, saying Casebolt “let his emotions get the best of him.” She said Casebolt, who is in an undisclosed location with his family because of alleged death threats, apologizes to anyone who felt harassed, including the 15-year-old girl.
She also said Casebolt was stressed because of two suicide calls he responded to prior to the pool party incident.
McKinney Police said on Facebook that the incident happened Friday, June 5, at about 7:15 p.m. The department said officers responded to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool for a “disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to 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.
Dajerria Becton, who was released to her parents without charges, spoke to the local Fox affiliate about the incident:
Police said they received several 911 calls related to the incident, including reports that the “juveniles were now actively fighting.”
The teens were black in a primarily white neighborhood, raising concerns on social media that the 911 calls and the violent arrests of teens in bathing suits were racially motivated.
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.”
An adult male was arrested on charges of interfering with police and evading arrest. No one else was charged, as the juveniles were released to their parents. This video was uploaded showing more of what happened during the incident:
Brandon Brooks, who posted the videos to YouTube, said in the original video’s description, “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. 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.”
The pool party had been advertised on social media:
Teens who were at the community pool told Buzzfeed News the fight started between adults and teens when the adults made racist comments, including telling the black youths to “return to Section 8 housing.”
Section 8, or public housing, has been an issue in McKinney in recent years.
The city was sued in 2009 over alleged housing discrimination, according to the International Business Times. 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.
Craig Ranch, the community where the pool is located, is a master-planned community with a homeowner’s association. Neighbors say more than 70 uninvited teens showed up to the party, which included a DJ.
But Andrew Cosby, also known as DJ Reign, said on Twitter he was simply hired for the party and didn’t plan it. Cosby, who is white, also disputed claims he sold tickets for the party. He said in the now-deleted tweets, “you actually think I made this flyer? I got hired to DJ an event the event was not mine,” and “yeah but I wasn’t involved in anything. I was like 100 yards away and all I saw were cop cars,” according to Twitchy.com.
The mother and daughter who said they organized the end of the year party that drew the teens to the pool talked to local photographer E. Johnson IV. They are residents of the community:
But other residents of Craig Ranch expressed support for the police officers’ actions:
A protest against police brutality is planned for Monday evening in McKinney. Many people, both in the community and around the country, said it appeared in the video that police were targeting the black teens.
The teen who filmed the video, who is white, agreed. He can be seen in the video walking around and talking to the black teens, who are being forced to sit on the ground, without the Casebolt saying anything to him.
Brooks told Buzzfeed, “Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic. [The cop] didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.”
2. He Was Accused of Racial Bias & Pulling Down a Black Man’s Pants in a Federal Lawsuit
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.
The civil case was dismissed by a federal judge in 2009 because the criminal charges against Brown were still pending. The judge said in his decision that the lawsuit could be re-filed if he was exonerated. The charges were eventually dismissed, but the civil case was never refiled by Brown.
Casebolt was reprimanded several times during his time in McKinney, according to a public records request by the Dallas Morning News. The newspaper reported on September 26 that Casebolt “was disciplined for a Facebook post, for his behavior at a disturbance call involving him and his ex-girlfriend, and for using a police car and uniform on personal business.”
The Dallas Morning News says Casebolt violated the department’s social media policy with a Facebook post in 2014 about a call involving a suicidal teen.
“Guess who just checked the box for ‘commandeer a golf cart and tased a suicidal Knife wielding maniac off-handed and still rolling without spilling the golfer’s miller lite’?!” Casebolt wrote on Facebook.
He was suspended in 2011 for three days after he was accused of harassing an ex-girlfriend. The woman’s then-boyfriend told police Casebolt circled her apartment and also left a loaded gun unsecured in the view of children at the apartment.
In 2010, he was suspended for one day without pay after leaving SWAT training in uniform and a police vehicle to bail out his girlfriend, who had been arrested in nearby University Park.
“The reprimands are so minor as to have nothing whatsoever to do with what he is being investigated for out in Craig Ranch, which is whether he used too much force, whether he assaulted somebody,” his attorney, Tom Mills, told the newspaper, adding that most of the 188-page personnel file was filled with positive reviews.
3. Casebolt Was a Patrol Supervisor & Was a Vice President of the Local Police UnionAccording to his now-deleted LinkedIn page (see screenshots of it here) Casebolt has worked in McKinney since August 2005, first as an officer and then as a corporal, his current position.
Casebolt says on LinkedIn that he is responsible for line officer supervision, neighborhood patrol and community policing, among other job responsibilities. He is also a police academy instructor.
Casebolt received eight hours of cultural diversity training in February 2009, and also took courses on use of force and racial profiling ,according to The Associated Press.
He was named the department’s Officer of the Year in 2008.
Now, seven years later, Casebolt is facing outrage from the community, national media scrutiny and an internal investigation.
McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said at a press conference Sunday, “Several concerns about the conduct of one of the officers at the scene have been raised. The McKinney Police Department is committed to treating all persons fairly under the law. We are committed to preserving the peace and safety of our community for all our citizens.”
Mayor Brian Loughmiller said in a statement, “Having seen the YouTube video I am disturbed and concerned by the incident and actions depicted in the video. Our expectation as a City Council is that our police department and other departments will act professionally and with appropriate restraint relative to the situation they are faced with.”
The ACLU of Texas released a statement saying:
In addition to his role as a supervisor, Casebolt also serves as the second vice president of the local police union, according to its Facebook page.
While we don’t know all the facts about the party, the crowd, or whether a fight broke out, what we do know is that the police response, as seen on the video, appears to be a textbook case of overuse of force. A well-trained police department would have responded more cautiously, with less hostility, and using sophisticated crowd control methods that favor de-escalation not escalation. Without question, guns were not needed and in fact risked turning a group of partying teenagers into a violent encounter that could have turned deadly.
Police departments are intended to be organizations that protect and serve their constituents. But increasingly in this country we have two kinds of policing and we saw both in this incident: protecting and serving white communities and criminalizing and controlling black communities.
The union released a statement about the incident, saying it was not racially motivated:
Casebolt’s first job as an officer was with the Texas Highway Patrol, from March 2003 to August 2005.
He was based in Greenville, Texas, according to his LinkedIn profile. His responsibilities as a patrolman included traffic and crime enforcement, criminal interdiction, DWI investigation, crash investigation and task force operations.
4. He Appears to Have Added the Pool Party Video to a ‘Training’ List on His YouTube Account
The YouTube user “decase73,” which is the same handle Casebolt used on his now-deleted Twitter account and elsewhere on social media, added the video of the pool party incident to his YouTube list “police training.”
The playlist includes dashcam footage of a brawl involving Arizona police, a video of the Milwaukee police chief talking called “Chief Tells the Truth Black People Don’t Want to Hear” and one titled “Man Sucker-Punches Cop Gets Kicked in the Face.”
He also has playlists called “Fighting” and “Situation Awareness” that also pertain to police and martial arts training.
5. He Is a Navy Veteran & Has ‘Experience in the Use of All Levels of Force’Casebolt is an instructor at Executive Self-Defense & Fitness Training, based in McKinney.
According to the company’s website:
Eric Casebolt is an instructor trainee at Executive Self-defense and Fitness, LLC and has been a Police Officer since 2000. During his career in Law Enforcement, he has received in-depth training on impact weapon deployment and expandable baton, firearms, electronic control devices (ECDs), ground fighting, Positive Assertive Control Tactics-Dynamic Threat Response (PACT-DTR), handcuffing, joint locks and pressure point compliance, armed and un-armed self-defense. He has a strong working knowledge of human behavior, indicators of deception, criminal behavior, the development of situational awareness, and experience in the use of all levels of force. He is a certified Advanced Texas Police Officer, an Instructor in Police Vehicle Operations, a Field Training Officer, and a certified SWAT operator. He has trained in several different disciplines of martial arts, but now exclusively trains in Krav Maga combat arts, Arnis, and ground fighting.
The company removed Casebolt’s profile from its website about an hour after his name was first revealed. See a screenshot of the website here.
Casebolt served in the Navy from 1993 to 2003. He was an Operations Specialist First Class based in San Diego, before becoming a military police officer in Oklahoma City.
Casebolt said on his LinkedIn page that his responsibilities as a military police officer included patrol, DWI investigation and force protection and counter-terrorism.
While he was an operations specialist, from 1993 to 2000, Casebolt said he was a tactical information coordinator on the USS Lake Champlain guided missile cruiser.
He was also a combat air controller, RADAR operator, shipboard engagement and tactics instructor and a shipboard security and tactics team leader.