Pool just put up this sign supporting McKinney PD & thanking officers for their response Friday pic.twitter.com/P7bC9hULCF
— Zahid Arab (@ZahidArabFox4) June 7, 2015
A now-viral video of a McKinney, Texas police officer grabbing a 15-year-old Black teenager by her braids and wrestling her to the ground at a pool party has sparked an investigation by the police department that employs him, but the community support for the department following the brutal detainment is raising eyebrows.
According to Fox4 in Dallas reporter Zahid Arab, residents in the community believed the “officer’s safety was at risk.” The officer in the disturbing video (below), identified as Eric Casebolt, arrived at the local community pool Friday to respond to a call describing a “disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave,” a statement from the McKinney Police Department’s Facebook read.
“McKinney Police received several additional calls related to this incident advising that juveniles were now actively fighting,” the department wrote. “First responding officers encountered a large crowd that refused to comply with police commands. Nine additional units responded to the scene. Officers were eventually able to gain control of the situation.”
On Sunday, Arab distributed a photograph of a sign at the community pool, thanking the officers for “keeping [us] safe.”
But the video, which garnered millions of views on YouTube as of Monday morning, shows Casebolt brutalizing and threatening the teenagers, rivaling statements from those in the community that called for police to remove the teenagers from the pool.
At one point he throws the young, Black teenage girl on the ground, grabbing her braids and placing his knee in her back as she called out for her mother. The teenager, identified as Dajerria Becton, told Fox4 Dallas that her “back was hurting bad” from the encounter. At one point, Casebolt pulls out his gun on two teenage boys who come to Dajerria’s aid.
Still, residents agreed with Casebolt’s use of force.
From Think Progress:
One of these homeowners appeared on camera, but allowed only her hands to be filmed. “I feel absolutely horrible for the police and what’s going on… they were completely outnumbered and they were just doing the right thing when these kids were fleeing and using profanity and threatening security guards,” she said.
The teenager who recorded the incident told Buzzfeed News that the White adults were angry that Black children who did not live in the neighborhood were in the pool. Other teenagers told the website that the incident occurred after White adults “made racist comments telling the Black children to leave the area and return to ‘Section 8 [public] housing.’”
Given the national climate of police brutality and deadly practices in the news, fleeing, even if no crime was committed, doesn’t seem far-fetched or ridiculous. Sadly, for McKinney residents, this, along with “profanity,” warrants such trauma and brutalization of Black bodies.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest from McKinney.