Eric Casebolt, the Texas police officer who last summer pinned a teenage girl to the ground at a pool party, has been sued for $5 million, The Independent is reporting.
The multi-million-dollar lawsuit was filed by Dajerria Becton, 16, through her legal guardian, Shashona Becton. Besides Casebolt, the lawsuit also names McKinney Police Department and the City of McKinney as co-defendants. Specifically, the suit seeks damages for “Officer Eric Casebolt’s individual use of excessive force, assault, [and] unlawful detention resulting in the injuries to minor child, D.B. under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution…”
Back in June 2015, Eric Casebolt became the center of attention after a viral video surfaced showing the aftermath of a pool party in the well-to-do Dallas suburb of McKinney, Texas.
In the video, Casebolt can be seen using profanity at various teenagers, pulling out his gun, and violently throwing Becton to the ground before pinning her with both of his knees. He also attempts to intimidate individuals filming the takedown, even though filming police is legal in all 50 states.
Lawsuit: Ex-McKinney officer used excessive force at pool party https://t.co/nzBjYmEBKU
— Mitch Mitchell (@mitchmitchel3) January 4, 2017
What happened that day remains in dispute to this day, as The Dallas Morning News reported at the time. What is clear and beyond dispute is that a group of teenagers invited their classmates to the restricted-use community pool in the upscale, mostly white neighborhood of Craig Ranch to celebrate the last day of school with a pool party. Some rowdy kids who were not invited jumped over the fence. When the security guard confronted them, he called the cops.
When 12 police officers from the McKinney Police Department, Casebolt included, showed up, many of the black teenagers started running.
Neighbors insist that the party was out of control and that the heavy police response was necessary. Neighbor Bryan Gestner said that what happened at the pool that day was nothing short of a mob scene.
“This was a Twitter party that turned into a mob event. Jumping pool fence. Assaulting 2 security guards, attacking a mother with three little girls. The video doesn’t show everything.”
However, the teenagers and their families insist that the event was, at the most, a matter of trespassing that could have been solved with a less heavy-handed response. Tatyana Rhodes said that many of the officers – as opposed to Casebolt – were patient, kind, and understanding, but that Casebolt escalated things.
“He was just aggressive for no reason at all. It was horrible.”
— Your Black World (@YourBlackWorld) December 10, 2016
Casebolt, for his part, insisted that he’d had a particularly trying day before the incident, including responding to a suicide attempt and a successful suicide before being called to the pool party.
The incident added fuel to the ongoing debate about heavy-handed police tactics as well as how police treat minorities and teenagers, and minority teenagers in particular. The neighborhood of Craig Ranch, and the McKinney Police Department, would both later be the scene of impassioned protests.
Drawing the most ire was Casebolt himself. Amid mounting calls for his firing, as well as demands for criminal charges, Casebolt resigned. In June 2016, a grand jury investigating the incident declined to indict Casebolt on any criminal charges.
Responding to the lawsuit, the McKinney Police Department insisted that neither Casebolt nor the department at large did anything wrong that day.
“The City of McKinney denies the claims alleged against it and the McKinney Police Department, and as such, will vigorously defend the recently filed lawsuit.”
Do you believe that Eric Casebolt should be held civilly liable for his actions at the June 2015 pool party?
[Featured Image by Ron Jenkins/AP Images, File]