*With summer approaching, and many teens graduating from high school, its no surprise pool parties are on full blast. But some African American teens in Texas got their good time interrupted by police who apparently had nothing better to do but use their authority to bully them. And after all was said and done, a video surfaced that got one police officer suspended for pulling a gun on the crowd of teens; while other officers proceeded to handcuff others.
A call came into the police station on Friday, which brought them to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, a suburb roughly 40 miles north of Dallas. According to a statement by McKinney police, officers 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.” The statement also said that some of them were fighting.
But the very incriminating video reached YouTube on Saturday and showed officers running after party-goers, and one of them aggressively handcuffing a black male teen while pinning a black girl to the ground by her head as she cried for her mother.
But when people tried to help the girl, the officer is seen drawing his weapon.
The officer was identified as patrol supervisor Cpl. Eric Casebolt.
“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.
Prior to the arrival of police, a white woman had been making racist comments, telling black teens things like 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 suspended.
An investigation was announced at a press conference held on Sunday by the police department. It was attended by residents who wanted 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 realtor 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.