The actions of police officer Corporal Eric Casebolt at a pool party in McKinney, Texas have been dissected by over 5 million people, prompting an investigation by the McKinney Police Department.
Casebolt was placed on administrative leave after he was seen throwing and placing his knee into the back of an unarmed 14-year-old girl. Since the video went viral, the teen, Dajerria Becton, and Tatyana Rhodes, the 19-year-old who threw the party, have spoken out about the incident and Casebolt’s aggressive behavior.
As an investigation continues into what happened between residents of a neighborhood in McKinney, here are some things you should know about the officer in question.
He served in the Navy for ten years before his career as a police officer.
Before working for the McKinney Police Department, Casebolt, 40, served in the U.S. Navy from 1993 to 2003. From 2003 to 2005, he worked for the Texas Department of Public Safety as a state trooper. In August of that same year, he began working for McKinney police. Before moving to Texas, he was also employed in Oklahoma as a city police officer.
He was named “Officer of the Year” by the McKinney Police Department in 2008.
Many residents in the McKinney neighborhood believe Casebolt’s behavior was warranted. While many officers are seen in bystander Brandon Brooks’ viral video, Casebolt is the sole officer acting in an overzealous manner. Residents believe the partygoers started the encounter, while many teens claim White residents screamed for them to return to their “Section 8” housing. The woman who threw the party was African-American and a resident of Craig Ranch.
The “Section 8” comment has relevance in McKinney.
The history of the alleged comment made by the White residents in McKinney dates back to 2008. Inclusive Communities Project, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families, sued the city of McKinney in a discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed the city and the Housing Authority of the City of McKinney halted the development of public housing (primarily for Blacks and Latinos) on the city’s west side. The group claimed the city tried to promote segregation by changing the plans to build the area on the east side. The suit was eventually settled after the MHA agreed to service loans for up to 400 Low Income Housing Tax Credit units.
Casebolt is the vice president of the local police union.
Brandon Brooks, the teen who recorded the incident, told BuzzFeed Sunday Casebolt didn’t talk or demonstrate hostile behavior to the White teens who also attended the party and were standing around with the Black teens.
“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,” he said. “Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic. [The cop] didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.”
Casebolt also ordered 14-year-old Grace Stone to be handcuffed after she tried to explain to police how the pool party came about. Brooks and Stone are both White.