Eric Casebolt’s attorney spoke out on his behalf for the first time on Wednesday, five days after the cop was recorded violently arresting a 15-year-old black girl and pointing his gun at two black teens at a McKinney, Texas, pool party.
Watch the press conference in the video above (starts at 8:15 mark).
Casebolt resigned Tuesday from his position with the police department. He had previously been put on administrative leave after the video went viral.
Casebolt resigned “with a heavy heart,” in hopes that “his resignation will facilitate the cooperative relationship between the citizens and the police officers of the city of McKinney,” his attorney, Jane Bishkin, said Wednesday.
Despite his resignation from the department, Bishkin is representing Casebolt for the police union.
Bishkin, said at a press conference that Casebolt was stressed by two previous calls before responding to the pool incident.
Bishkin said Casebolt had responded to a suicide call where, “at an apartment complex, an African American male shot himself in the head at a pool side in the complex.” She said the suicide was in the presence of the victim’s family, children, other parents and other children. Bishkin said Casebolt helped secure the scene and photograph the body, and “spent a considerable amount of time consoling the man’s grieving widow.”
His next call was for a teen threatening to commit suicide by jumping off a roof. Bishkin said Casebolt calmed the girl down and talked her out of jumping so that she could be safely transported to the hospital.
“Eric’s compassion during these two incidences is a testament to his character,” Bishkin said.
The calls “took an emotional toll,” on Casebolt, his attorney said.
He then heard the radio call for the pool incident at Craig Ranch North, and didn’t want to respond to a simple trespassing call, “given what he had just been through,” but when the call was upgraded to include possible “violent assaults,” Casebolt decided it was his duty to respond.
Bishkin said Casebolt was not targeting minorities at the pool, and detained a white girl, which was not seen on the video.
She said he apologizes to all who were offended, including the 15-year-old girl, Dajerria Becton.
Daniel Malenfant, the president of the McKinney Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 107 said Casebolt responded to a “high stress environment he was not fully prepared for.” The FOP, the local police union, and the Dallas FOP joined the Bishkin at the press conference.
Bishkin said Casebolt “let his emotions get the best of him.”
Malenfant said Casebolt decided to resign “with the hopes of unburdening the McKinney Police Department and the entire community of McKinney from any further negative publicity. Eric understands the pressure that was being placed on the department and city administrators, he hopes his resignation will restore the peace in McKinney that was disturbed by this incident.”
Malenfant said the positive show of support from the community and elsewhere has been appreciated, but has been “overshadowed by hatred and those set on creating racial tensions in America, this include the countless death threat calls and emails that have been received that are not being conveyed to the public.”
He said the FOP will continue to provide support to Casebolt and his family, and “is confident when all the information is justly and unbiasedly investigated, the truth surrounding this incident will be uncovered.”
McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said Tuesday that Casebolt’s actions were “inexcusable,” and he was “out of control.”
Activists have called for criminal charges to be filed against Casebolt.
His attorney said Casebolt was not at the press conference because he has received death threats.
She said Casebolt, “is sad. It was his lifelong dream to be a police officer and that’s pretty much cut off to him now.”