A Texas police officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation after video surfaced showing one cop pulling a gun on a crowd of teens at a pool party while others handcuffed teenage partygoers.
Police on Friday evening were called to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, roughly 40 miles north of Dallas. McKinney police said in a statement they were responding 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," and that some of them were fighting.
A roughly 7-minute clip of the incident was published on YouTube Saturday and shows officers running after teens, with one aggressively handcuffing a black male teen while pinning a black girl to the ground by her head as she cried for her mother.
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When several people run to the girl's aid, the officer is seen drawing his weapon.
"There was a fight, the cops showed up and started putting people on the ground for no reason," Brandon Brooks, who shot the YouTube video, told The Huffington Post in a message.
A group of teens were at the pool for an end-of-school party, Miles Jai Thomas, one of the teens who attended, told HuffPost. Then a security guard showed up and put out all the black teenagers, Thomas said.
“He started making up rules to keep us out," he said.
Before officers arrived on the scene, a white woman had started making racist comments, telling black partygoers to get used to the bars outside the pool because that’s all they were going to see. When one of the white teens at the party talked back to the adult, the woman began cursing and yelling at her as well, Thomas said.
Teens at the pool party told BuzzFeed News the police were called after a fight broke out. Some adults made racist comments and told the teens to return to “Section 8 [public] housing,” BuzzFeed reported.
“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,” Brooks said.
In the video, some partygoers are seen sitting in the grass and pleading "sir, we just came here for a birthday party, please." Another officer is heard thanking a group of teens for returning a flashlight the officer dropped.
On Sunday, the department issued a statement saying the video "raised concerns" and that an officer has been placed on leave:
The police department held a press conference Sunday afternoon to announce the investigation. Some residents attended the event to speak out against what they say is inequality in their town.
"Why the police who yelled at the kids to go home -- how did they know those kids didn’t live there?" asked Lashadion Anthony, a barber and real estate agent in McKinney who attended with his son, a toddler.
"We live here, we pay taxes, we’re law-abiding citizens. Why should we be treated differently than anyone else?" he said.
"They didn’t stop any of the people who aren’t of African-American descent,” Anthony added, saying that police "have to be able to handle people in a better manner than this."
"We’re just asking for justice," he said, noting that when his son is older, he should be able to visit public pools without fear of prejudice.
Neither the McKinney Police Department nor management at the Craig Ranch Community Association responded to requests for comment.
This post has been updated to reflect the police press conference and comments from McKinney residents and identify the suspended officer. Language has also been updated to refer more exactly to Cpl. Casebolt's current status with the police department.