McKinney, Texas Police Chief Greg Conley has wasted little time in the aftermath of the Craig Ranch pool party police debacle, circling the wagons.
McKinney Officer Eric Casebolt, 2008 "Officer of the Year" responded to a radio call purportedly by white residents in Craig Ranch alleging that a group of black teens were "trespassing" and refusing to leave. Thanks to cell phone recordings made by mostly white kids who were also in attendance, the former Officer of the Rear could be seen going into a tuck-and-roll on the ground and emerging in a foot chase and gun-waving spectacle that would be akin to a pack of lions converging on a horde of gazelles.
Chief Conley has already found ways by which to minimize Officer Casebolt's overzealous and outrageous behavior. As usual, Chief Conley blames the black teens attending the pool party.
I knew as I watched the video, this was not Casebolt's first offense. Like most others, Casebolt has a history. Like most others when left unchecked - errant officers live to offend again. Thankfully, in this incident, unlike another, there was not a loss of life.
Let's not beat around the bush here. Let's just call this what it is - racist white privilege.
A white woman, who purportedly lives in Craig Ranch had a problem with the number of black teens who had been invited to the community pool for a birthday party. While poolside, this white resident reportedly hurled racist remarks towards the black teens as they arrived at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas on Friday evening.
A white, female resident of Craig Ranch approached the host, 19-year-old Tatiana, who happens to be black and also a Craig Ranch resident, and several of her friends in a hostile and offensive manner. During her tirade, the white woman allegedly struck Tatiana in the head. According to Tatiana, another white female then attacked her. It should be noted that neither of the white women have been reported arrested for assaulting Tatiana. However, a call was made to 9-1-1 accusing the black teens of "trespassing."
McKinney Police Officer Eric Casebolt and several others eventually responded and what happened next was jaw-dropping. Casebolt was captured on cellphone recordings chasing and swearing at the black teens in an attempt to corral them up like cattle. At one point, it appeared from the video that Casebolt took exception with something that may have been said by a young bikini-clad black teen at which point Casebolt charged the 15-year-old girl, grabbed her by the arm and began to fling her back and forth.
Casebolt intermittently stopped his assault on the 15-year-old female to direct his attentions at any young black person within close proximity. Pleas to stop could be heard on the recording as Casebolt yanked the 14-year-old teen's long hair and hurled her to the ground. Casebolt stopped briefly, stood up, unholstered his service weapon and began charging in the direction of the two black male youths who begged him to stop assaulting the young girl. The young men ran apparently fearing for their lives as someone could be heard saying, "I don't want to die."
Casebolt then directed two white male police officers to "go get those motherf-ckers." The two white officers then bolted in the direction of the two black teenagers returning a short time later with two black male teens in handcuffs. It should be noted that Casebolt was the senior officer at the call as evidenced by two chevrons on his police uniform sleeve. The other officers were what we call in the police world "slick sleeves," which denoted less seniority.
Casebolt then returned his attention to the 15-year-old and forced her face first into the ground yelling, "get your face down, get your face down." The 15-year-old was pleading for those nearby to call her mother. Casebolt then dropped his knees down and placed his full body weight on her back and forcibly held the 15-year-old down face first on the ground. She could be seen raising and lowering her outstretched legs in apparent agony from the weight of this adult-sized officer pressing her into the ground.
As a retired 20-year veteran sergeant of the Los Angeles Police Department; having spent all 20 years in patrol first as an officer and later as a supervisor, I have no words. As a parent, I am outraged. Officer Casebolt's actions were a clear abuse under the color of authority. Nowhere in the world do I believe police officers are trained to handle crowd control in this manner.
Officer Casebolt's tactics during that incident were deplorable, unsafe and unnecessary. And now Chief Conley wants the public to believe that somehow bikini-clad, barefoot teenage girls and young black males in swim trunks were to blame for the lack of impulse control displayed by Officer Casebolt and the other police officers who responded to that radio call.
The Black community as more often than not been shown and told that our lives don't matter; That if we run -- we will be shot by the police; if we don't do as ordered by police -- we will be shot by the police -- and now, if we dare attend a pool party in a white community -- we will be hunted down like animals, our young men will be forced to endure the indignity of sitting curbside, laying in the dirt, and our daughters will be manhandled and tossed about.
Do not expect this police chief or any other to admit that their police officers violated policy and/or law. Rather, expect that police department leaders will continue to minimize and mitigate bad behavior on the part of their officers. Expect that police chiefs and commissioners will continue to blame us as if our mere existence warrants assault, abuse and in some cases death.
After all of that chasing, handcuffing and throwing teenagers to the ground, only one arrest was made; and I am not even sure of that charge. So there was no trespassing; Casebolt had no authority to force the teens to leave the area and absolutely no cause for the excessive force used. Another case of "Contempt of Cop."
So to Craig Ranch teenagers attempting to attend a pool party upon invitation and their parents; I say don't get mad -- get paid!