Lashauna Burks said her daughter simply wanted to celebrate the end of the school year with her friends on Friday by hosting a party that promised food, fun and music. However, the gathering at the Craig Ranch Community Pool in McKinney, Texas abruptly turned violent when two white women at a nearby pool began making racist comments at the black teen partygoers.
When police officers arrived at the scene, chaos escalated as officers forced teens into handcuffs, with one officer holding a young woman to the ground and pulling a gun on a crowd of black teen partygoers.
Burks, who is black, said she was the sole adult supervisor of her daughter’s event. She left momentarily to grab more materials for the party -- and returned to chaos.
“When I left, a 14-year-old girl named Grace had gotten into an argument with two caucasian women,” Burks told HuffPost on Monday. “My daughter came to me and said that the security guard told all the African American people to leave.”
Burks recounts the event in a video recorded by photojournalist and local resident Elroy Johnson and posted to YouTube Sunday evening. The video shows Burks and her 19-year-old daughter Tatiana Rhodes explaining the moments that led to the argument, which promptly became physical.
“This lady was saying racial slurs to some friends that came to the cookout...she was saying things such as 'you black f****r' and ‘that's why you live in Section 8 homes,'" Rhodes said.
Grace Stone, a 14-year-old white girl who Rhode's said is a friend of her brother's, immediately came to their defense and spoke out against the woman’s hateful words.
“[Grace] stuck up for us saying ‘that’s not right, you shouldn’t do that, that’s racist,’” Rhodes said.
Rhodes details the exchange in the video, explaining that the women began “verbally abusing” Stone and used profanity. Rhodes interjected and told the women they shouldn’t say such hurtful words to a 14-year-old. In response, Rhodes says the women told her to “go back where you’re from.”
“I said ‘Excuse me?’” Rhodes said. It was then, she says, that one of the women approached her and hit her in the face. The other woman then joined the attack, Rhodes said.
The incident was recorded by 15-year-old Miles Jai Thomas, who posted the video to his Twitter account.
— Miles(K-Bandz) (@k1dmars) June 6, 2015
Cops were soon called to the scene in response to a disturbance "involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave," according to a police statement. However, Rhodes added that most of the teens who attended the party lived in the community.
A 7-minute video recorded at the scene and posted to YouTube on Saturday, shows an officer who is seen yelling, chasing and handcuffing several black teens.
At one point, the officer, who has been identified as patrol supervisor Cpl. Eric Casebolt, aggressively forces one young girl face-down on the ground as he attempts to put her in handcuffs while she cries out for her mother. Casebolt is also captured wielding his gun at teenagers as they tried to come to her aid.
“A cop yelled 'get those motherfuckers' and they chased [us] with guns out. That's why in the video I started running,” Thomas told HuffPost. "I was scared because all I could think was, 'Don't shoot me.'"
"I was scared because all I could think was, 'Don't shoot me.'"
Burks said her daughter held the event as part of a social organization she created that promotes “positive women doing positive things for their community.” Their upcoming plans include volunteer events, homeless shelter visits and community outreach, Burks said.
Burks moved to McKinney, about 40 minutes from Dallas, from Chicago. She said one of the reasons she moved to the Texas town was to escape the violence that is all too common in Chicago.
“I moved from one state to another state to try and keep my children safe,” Burks said. “I moved from Chicago to allow them to grow up and be kids in a safe neighborhood and then they have to go through this.”
Burks said she chaperones all of her daughter’s events and that they have always gone smoothly and they have never been disruptive.
“These kids know how to act, they are not rowdy, disrespectful kids,” she said. “I know all of them.”
“The worst thing was the cops, he was ballistic. He shouldn’t have had use that much force or aggression to the situation. He was unruly and outrageous.”
On Sunday, the McKinney Police Department wrote in a statement that one of the responding officers had been suspended from the force.
Meanwhile, a protest is planned for Monday evening where Burks expects the community to rally together to speak out against the officers involved and the racist women who initiated the incident.
“My lesson from all of this is that black lives do matter, we are human and we don’t deserved to be treated with disrespect,” Burks said.
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