Officer recorded in Texas pool party incident resigns
McKINNEY, Texas (AP) — A white police officer in suburban Dallas has resigned after he was recorded on video pushing a black teenage girl to the ground outside a pool party and brandishing his gun at other teens.
Officer David Eric Casebolt's actions were "indefensible," though he was not pressured to quit, McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said at a press conference after the officer submitted his resignation.
A teenager at the party posted a video online showing Casebolt's interactions with the teens as officers responded last Friday to calls about the gathering at a community-owned swimming pool in McKinney. The 41-year-old former Texas state trooper and 10-year veteran of the McKinney force was put on administrative leave after the incident. His lawyer, Jane Bishkin of Dallas, confirmed Tuesday he had quit the force.
Conley said a review of the video showed that "our policies, our training and our practices do not support his actions."
Twelve officers responded to the report of fights and a disturbance at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in an affluent area of McKinney, which is north of Dallas. "Eleven of them performed according to their training," Conley said. Casebolt did not, he said.
"He came into the call out of control and the video showed he was out of control during the incident," Conley said.
Casebolt's actions are under investigation and no decision has been made whether charges will be filed against him, Conley said. Charges of interfering with an officer and evading arrest against the only man arrested during Friday's incident have been dropped, Conley said. Everyone else detained was released.
Bishkin declined to say where Casebolt is now and said the officer had received death threats. The attorney said she would release more information at a news conference Wednesday.
People who demonstrated this week at a McKinney school compared the city to Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, where use of force by police triggered widespread protests and violence.
The resignation is a step in the right direction, said Dominique Alexander, president of the Dallas area-Next Generation Action Network and organizer of the demonstrations.
"We still need a serious investigation into the charges that need to be brought against him in this matter," Alexander said, adding that Casebolt should be drug tested.
The NAACP is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to review the procedures of the McKinney police force, stopping short of asking for a formal investigation. A review of department policies is needed to ensure officers are responding appropriately to calls involving minorities, the local NAACP chapter said.
The scrutiny over the response to the pool party is a departure from the laudatory attention McKinney has received for its quality of life.
A Time Inc. publication last year ranked the city the best place to live in America, with a median family income in excess of $96,000 and job growth projected at 13 percent. Crime is comparatively low, and like other metropolitan suburbs in Texas, McKinney has seen unprecedented expansion. Its population in 2000 was about 54,300 and has grown over the course of 15 years to approximately 155,000. About 75 percent of residents are white while nearly 11 percent are black.
However, McKinney has faced lawsuits accusing it of racial segregation in public housing. One in 2008 accused the McKinney Housing Authority of restricting federally subsidized public housing for low-income families to older neighborhoods east of U.S. 75.
The lawsuit said that in the Dallas area, 85 percent of those receiving "Section 8" housing vouchers are African-Americans. The 2000 census found McKinney's east side was where 68 percent of the city's black population lived, while neighborhoods west of U.S. 75 were 86 percent white. The lawsuit was settled in 2012 with a consent decree, which is an agreement to take specific actions without admitting guilt.
Derrick Golden, a McKinney pastor, said during a rally Monday that the city has become yet another example of a racial divide in the U.S.
"Everybody's got a long way to go," Golden said, "and McKinney's not excluded."