Witness Says McKinney Viral Video Stems From "Pool Party Run Amok" - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Witness Says McKinney Viral Video Stems From "Pool Party Run Amok"

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    Witness: McKinney Incident After "Pool Party Run Amok"

    An officer's actions raised tensions in McKinney, where some community activists accused him of racism while others urged calm until the facts are investigated. (Published Monday, June 8, 2015)

    A black teenager in a swimsuit repeatedly cried out, "Call my momma!" as a white police officer pinned her to the ground, only moments after drawing his handgun on other black teens following a pool party in McKinney.

    "On your face!" the officer yelled at the girl, amid screaming from a crowd of onlookers.

    The officer's actions raised tensions Monday in the Dallas suburb, where some community activists accused him of racism while others urged calm until the facts are investigated.

    Hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside an elementary school Monday in protest of the officer's actions. Some who gathered held signs that included the phrases, "My skin color is not a crime," and, "Don't tread on our kids."

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    A few dozen addressed the crowd through a bullhorn, including Derrick Golden, a pastor from McKinney who met earlier with the city's police Chief Greg Conley. He said Conley "responded appropriately" after the officer was seen in a video pushing a 15-year-old girl to the ground and pointing his gun at other teens. The officer is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

    But Golden said Officer David Eric Casebolt should be terminated because of the profanities he used and the fact that he pulled his gun.

    The demonstrators marched a mile from the school to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool, where Friday's incident occurred.

    About a dozen counterprotesters held signs supporting police.

    Earlier in the day Jahi Adisa Bakari, the father of one of the teenage girls at the party, said he would press for the officer to be fired, saying he was "was out of control."

    But Benét Embry, a black local radio personality who witnessed the incident, said it was "not another Ferguson" or "another Baltimore," referring to other police encounters that have left suspects dead and fueled a nationwide "Black Lives Matter" movement.

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    "This whole incident is a pool party run amok," Embry said.

    Police said the youths did not live in the area and did not have permission to be at the pool in McKinney, an affluent, predominantly white city.

    According to neighbors, Embry said, a woman who lives in the community reserved the pool for a party. The homeowners' association limits the number of guests each homeowner may have at the pool to only two. But about 130 people, mostly kids, showed up for the woman's party, he said.

    At one point, several kids began jumping over the fence to get into the pool area and were causing a disturbance, Embry said, and a couple of fights broke out.

    "The neighbors did not see an African-American party and say, 'OK, let’s call the police.' That was not the case security called the police because the fights started breaking out and people started jumping over the fence trying to get access to the pool," Embry said.

    While he did not agree with the officer's profanity or belligerence, Embry said, police were right to respond.

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    McKinney police Chief Greg Conley spoke to the press Sunday on the investigation of an incident recorded on video showing the police response to a disturbance at a pool party.
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    "I believe something did need to be done because we had discord out here," he said. "We had people fighting and I really thank God no one was seriously injured in all this melee and/or chaos."

    The girl who hosted the end-of-year bash claims a neighborhood woman came up to the her and her 14-year-old friend and started making racist comments.

    "So I walked up to them and I told them that's wrong. You shouldn't be doing that. She's 14. You shouldn't be treating her like this. It's not right and they told me 'go back to where you came from. You're immature, you shouldn't be talking to me' and stuff like that," said Tatyana Rhodes. "That's when one of the 40-year-old women came up and hit me in my face and they both started to attack me."

    Rhodes mother believes that fight is what led to police being called.

    "I feel that it's wrong, we stay in the community, we are part of Craig Ranch. And for my daughter, who lives here, to be treated like she doesn't belong, to me, that's wrong," said LaShauna Burks.

    As police broke up the crowd, Casebolt pulled the bikini-clad 15-year-old girl to the ground, then used his knees to pin her down. He also pointed his gun at other teens and cursed.

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    [DFW] Civic and Religious Groups, Parents Call for Action in Wake of McKinney Viral Video
    Civic and religious groups joined parents who live in Craig Ranch in calling for action after a viral video showed McKinney police response to a disturbance call at a community pool Friday evening.
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    "It was absolutely wrong doing on both sides. It was wrong for the cop to throw her down, it was for him to draw his gun, it was wrong for the little girl when he told her to leave. She should have just left," said Embry. "And I don't have a problem saying that. Because whenever you, as a child, put yourself in an adult situation, you're going to be able to deal with those adult consequences."

    In a statement, the police department said the video "raised concerns that are being investigated."

    Robert Taylor, a criminology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas who has done studies for the McKinney Police Department, said both the officer and the teens at the pool party acted inappropriately.

    The teens were not following police orders, he said, but the officer's decision to pull out his gun did not help matters.

    "That's not the way we're trained," he said. "We're trained in policing to de-escalate problem encounters like this. ... Obviously, that officer lost his cool. No doubt about it."

    Most people were released, except for one man arrested for interference with the duties of a police officer and evading arrest, police said.

    NBC 5 confirmed Casebolt is a 10-year veteran of the McKinney Police Department. He joined the police force in 2005. Before that, he served almost two years as a state trooper, according to records from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

    Casebolt took eight hours of cultural diversity training at Collin County Community College in February 2009. He has also taken courses in racial profiling and use of force.

    He has five days to respond to any administrative complaints against him.

    McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said city officials plan to meet with community leaders to discuss the incident.

    "We really need to come together as a community," the mayor said.

    Nikki Perez, a black resident of McKinney, attended a City Council meeting Monday to express her concern over the officer's actions.

    "I don't excuse the behavior of those teenagers, but if I call 911, then I wouldn't want that cop to respond," Perez said. "He blew his credibility when he opened his mouth and started cursing at the kids."

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