A controversy about armed police response to a party at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas, has erupted after footage of the incident was uploaded and shared on social media.
Origins: On 6 June 2015, a video titled “COPS CRASH POOL PARTY (ORIGINAL),” showing what was purported to be excessive armed police response to a party at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas, was uploaded to YouTube by the user Brandon Brooks. The clip (embedded below) was viewed millions of times in the span of a few days (be advised that it contains multiple instances of profanity):
The user who published the video stated that he recorded it but was not involved with the pool party incident, and he initially added the following description (which was apparently later edited):
A fight between a mom and a girl broke out and when the cops showed up everyone ran, including the people who didn’t do anything. So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason. This kind of force is uncalled for especially on children and innocent bystanders.
To some people saying that the cop pulled out his taser on the kid, it was not a taser it was a gun.
On 7 June 2015, the McKinney Police Department issued a statement about the growing controversy over the pool party raid via Facebook. Among their assertions were that police responded to a disturbance call about the pool party, party attendees were not cooperative with officers, and the police seen in the video have since been placed on administrative leave while the actions captured in the clip are investigated:
Pool Party Incident:
On June 5, 2015 at approximately 7:15 p.m., officers from the McKinney Police Department responded to a disturbance at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool. The initial call came in as a disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave. McKinney Police received several additional calls related to this incident advising that juveniles were now actively fighting.
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.
McKinney Police later learned of a video that was taken at the scene by an unknown party. This video has raised concerns that are being investigated by the McKinney Police Department. At this time, one of the responding officers has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.
In an article published on 7 June 2015 (and updated 8 June 2015), Dallas-Fort Worth television station KDFW identified the officer shown subduing a young girl as Eric Casebolt, and the cuffed teenager as Dejerria Becton:
McKinney police corporal Eric Casebolt is seen on the video taking down 15-year-old Dajerria Becton, an invited guest who says she was not involved in the fight.
“He grabbed me, twisted my arm on my back and shoved me in the grass and started pulling the back of my braids,” Becton said. “I was telling him to get off me because my back was hurting bad.”
Becton tried to get up, but Casebolt pinned her to the ground holding her down with both knees. She was eventually released to her family, who weren’t happy with how the teen was treated.
(Casebolt was accused of racial profiling and excessive force in a lawsuit over a 2007 incident; that suit was dismissed in 2009.)
Another portion of the article included several uncorroborated social media sourced accounts (purportedly published by neighborhood residents) claiming that teens attending the pool party had flooded in from other areas due to an open invitation shared online. However, the filmed interactions between police and the teens attending the party did not appear to hinge upon whether any kids were not authorized to be in the neighborhood. Separate uncorroborated accounts claimed neighborhood adults told attendees to “go back … to [your] Section 8 housing,” but that claim has not been substantiated by any released video recording so far.
Brandon Brooks (the video’s original uploader) told BuzzFeed that he believed police targeted teens of color during the incident:
“I think a bunch of white parents were angry that a bunch of black kids who don’t live in the neighborhood were in the pool,” said Brooks, who is white.
“Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic,” he said. “[The cop] didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.”
The site’s coverage of the controversy included a tweet appended with brief video footage and the following description:
Grace Stone, a white 14-year-old, told BuzzFeed News that when she and her friends objected to the racist comments about public housing an adult woman then became violent.
An additional account from a purported bystander was published to YouTube on 7 June 2015. In that clip, a 19-year-old woman who stated her name as Tatyana Rhodes said that an unidentified white adult woman had initiated the conflict. The individual who uploaded the video claimed that a smaller altercation between the young woman seen in the video below and the white woman referenced by Stone and Rhodes led to the involvement of police:
On 8 June 2015, KDFW’s Steve Noviello published an image (which appeared to be a still captured from a video) of two women he claimed were involved in the initial confrontation with Rhodes:
In addition to those two women, users of social media focused on an unidentified man seen throughout the 7-minute video alongside police responding to the scene of the pool party incident:
Former MSNBC host Joy Reid was among a number of Twitter users seeking additional information on the man’s identity and role in the incident:
Of the many claims circulating about the 5 June 2015 incident at Craig Ranch North Community Pool, few have been substantiated so far. McKinney police responded to a phone call (possibly due to an altercation between Tatyana Rhodes and two unidentified white woman) about a disturbance at the pool. Brandon Brooks, 15, filmed the incident and uploaded it to YouTube. Dajerria Becton, 15, was detained but later released to her parents. Officer Eric Casebolt, seen restraining Becton, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the situation. On 8 June 2015, McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said the city is taking the incident “very seriously.”
Update, 9 June 2015: Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce published a tweet indicating that Casebolt’s lawyer confirmed the officer resigned from the force: