A grand jury has concluded there is not enough evidence to prosecute a McKinney, Texas, police officer who became infamous for his violent treatment of a black teenager at a pool party last summer, reports CBS News.
A video of David Eric Casebolt slamming a teenage girl into the ground at a party went viral last June. The cellphone footage shows Casebolt throwing the girl face down onto the grass. McKinney police were responding to a disturbance call at the local pool party.
When other teenagers at the pool party ran forward to help the girl, the McKinney police officer withdrew his firearm, causing the young people to scatter.
The increased attention paid to police brutality and the treatment of African-Americans by authorities, particularly in marginalized and high-risk communities, fueled the public outcry surrounding the incident. But as publications like the New York Times were quick to point out, the area where the pool party took place – Craig Ranch, a subdivision outside of Dallas – is rather diverse and relatively middle class, further supporting claims that differential treatment from police officers is a problem that goes beyond class lines.
Following the pool party incident, the McKinney Police Department placed Casebolt, a patrol supervisor, on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation. McKinney Police Department Chief Greg Conley informed the media that an adult male was arrested for evading arrest and interfering with the duties of a police officer. The then 15-year-old girl from the pool party video that Conley said was “temporarily detained” was eventually released to her parents.
Reports indicate that the police had reasonable cause to be at the pool party. Benét Embry, a member of the community, says the party did grow out of control. He told the New York Times that up to 130 people were in attendance and others had climbed over the fence in order to gain entry to the party at the community pool. While Embry, who is African-American, was concerned by the sight of the young girl being dealt with so forcefully, he did not think the police officers arrived at the pool party with any ill intent.
“Of course I had concerns when I saw the officer pulling a gun,” he told the New York Times.“That’s when I started thanking God that nobody got hurt. But I don’t believe that the officer was coming out to pick on black kids.”
The McKinney Police Department provided further details about the nature of the police response to the pool party. It stated that officers were called to respond to a disturbance involving young people at the party who did not live in the area and refused to leave the pool. They further stated that they had received multiple subsequent calls reporting that fights had started to break out at the pool party.
The incident sparked protests in the community. On the Monday following the incident protesters gathered at a local elementary school with signs that read, “Stop Police Brutality” and “Don’t tread on me or my kids.”
Some members of the community called for the McKinney Police Department to undergo sensitivity training while others suggested that the teenagers at the pool party had suffered from racially biased treatment and claimed that reports of youth jumping the fence were exaggerated.
The teen that shot the video, Brandon Brooks, told Newsfix of what was presumably preferential treatment from the cops.
“I was one of the only white people in the area when that was happening,” he told the station. “You can see in part of the video where he tells us to sit down, and he kind of like skips over me and tells all my African-American friends to go sit down.”
It is believed that the officer grabbed the girl, who has been identified as Dajerria Becton, in an effort to physically remove her from the pool party. Becton told a TV station that she had been invited to the party and had not been involved in any physical altercations.
Although a grand jury has opted not to indict Casebolt, the story is not yet over. The Dallas Morning News reports that according to Becton’s attorney, the family plans to file a civil rights and personal injury lawsuit.
[Image Source: YouTube/Deezil Greezil]