The McKinney Police Department has placed one of its officers on paid administrative leave as officials investigate after video of police response to a disturbance call Friday was posted online.
Police said officers were dispatched to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool at about 7:15 p.m. Friday, after the initial caller said several teenagers were in the area who did not live there or have permission to be there and refused to leave.
One of the responding officers was placed on administrative leave after the video showed him throwing 15-year-old Dajerria Becton facedown to the ground and apparently pinning her with his knees. He also cursed at the crowd and at pointed his gun at two other teens.
NBC 5's media partner, The Dallas Morning News, reported that Corporal Eric Casebolt is the officer on leave.
“You really don't understand, like, police brutality until you actually experienced it firsthand,” said Jahda Bakari, an incoming freshman at Independence High.
Bakari captured a confrontation between a teen girl and an officer on her phone. From a different angle, you can see an officer holding down the teen as she cries for help.
Bakari is seen on the video trying to help the teen being held down. In the video, an officer hits her, pushing her away.
“I felt like I needed to help her, like I had to try,” she said. “I was surprised, really surprised, like didn't comprehend it, at first I was like what happened?”
Police said nine additional officers arrived, and the situation was eventually brought under control. However, police have not indicated whether anyone was arrested or cited.
"Anytime you confront a large group of people, it’s a very dynamic situation and tensions can rise very quickly” McKinney police chief Greg Conley said Sunday. “Our initial reaction was to place the officer on administrative leave so that we could conduct a complete and thorough investigation of the incident."
Video showing the incident has sparked widespread scrutiny of the officer's actions. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas released a statement Monday, saying the incident appeared to be "a textbook case of overuse of force."
"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," the statement read.
McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller released the following statement on the incident:
"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.
"Our City Management and Police Chief are investigating the situation as required, and I have faith they will conclude the investigation expeditiously and take appropriate action. We will continue to monitor the situation through our City Manager's office and will continue to work with community leaders as we follow this investigative process."
The girl in the bikini who was tackled by the officer was temporarily detained and released.
Late Sunday, the NAACP released the following statement:
Tomorrow [Monday], Dallas/Fort Worth, state and national NAACP leadership will meet with McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley to demand a thorough investigation led by an independent police agency.
From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO:
“I am deeply disturbed by the McKinney Police Department’s treatment of these African American teenagers. The excessive force on an unarmed 14-year-old girl clad only in a bikini by an officer wearing a uniform and a gun, was particularly troubling. The NAACP has reached out to the families of these young people and will be advocating on their behalf at our meeting with the Chief of Police tomorrow [Monday]. These teens appeared to be simply attending a pool party and deserved respectful treatment under the law. We are calling for a full investigation of the McKinney Police Department officers and that they be held accountable to the full extent of the law. We also join the community in wrapping our arms around these young people as they heal from the physical and mental scars this incident may have caused. “
From Gary Bledsoe, Texas State Conference President:
"From what we have seen on the video, the treatment is inhumane and especially since we are talking about teenagers. These are our children. If there is an explanation for this we would like to know what it is."
From Ricky McNeal, President Garland Texas Branch:
"The NAACP is very concerned about what has occurred, and we have arranged meetings with the Police Department to obtain as much information as possible. Tomorrow [Monday] NAACP leaders, including myself, National Board Member Bob Lydia and NAACP Arlington Branch President Alisa Simmons will meet with MPD Chief Greg Conley.”
From Alisa Simmons, President Arlington Texas Branch:
"The fundamental problem is the expectation that many officers have when they look at young African Americans. They expect them to be more violent, more dangerous than any other race and they expect them to engage in criminal behavior.”
From Erin Gaddis, Texas Youth and College Division President:
"We will be working as part of the State conference to diligently investigate this matter, and will provide all the assistance we can to the young people in McKinney."