Did Race Play a Role in Actions of Out of Control Officer?

On June 5, 2015 McKinney Police were called to reports of a disturbance at a gated Texas community known as Craig Ranch.  Several media outlets have reported that the calls to police came from residents over concerns of a large group of teens seen jumping the fence to the community and refusing to leave.  It was also reported that these teens were invited to a birthday party being held at the community pool by a resident.

According to a post by the McKinney Police Department on their Facebook Page:

Pool Party Incident:

On June 5, 2015 at approximately 7:15 p.m., officers from the McKinney Police Department responded to a disturbance at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool. The initial call came in as a disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave. McKinney Police received several additional calls related to this incident advising that juveniles were now actively fighting.

First responding officers encountered a large crowd that refused to comply with police commands. Nine additional units responded to the scene. Officers were eventually able to gain control of the situation.

McKinney Police later learned of a video that was taken at the scene by an unknown party. This video has raised concerns that are being investigated by the McKinney Police Department. At this time, one of the responding officers has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

A 2010 U.S. Census Report for McKinney, TX shows that the population is: 74.8% white, 10.4% black, .7% Native American, 4.1% Asian, .1% Pacific Islander,  and 3.1% reporting two or more races.  18.6% of residents were Hispanic or Latino of any race.  In the video below, you will see that a majority of those present during the police interaction are black.  My estimates would be 90%.  With a 9:1 ratio of blacks to whites in the video it only makes logical sense that you are going to see more of one race vs the other being detained by the police.  It’s simple mathematics and we can not just assume it’s a racial issue.  I could not find a specific racial breakdown of the Craig Ranch neighborhood.

Some residents of the community felt there was an issue when teens that do not live there were jumping the fence to gain entry.  There are unconfirmed reports that some fights had broken out prior to the arrival of the police as well.  There is nothing to show what did or did not happen prior to the police being called at this time and it would be unjust to have a knee jerk reaction and to call the incident racist.  No 911 calls have been released to determine if the calls to the police were racist in nature either.  Also, at no time is the officer heard to use any racial slurs during his profanity laced tirade.

It must be pointed out that the party was advertised on social media via twitter, which can be seen here:  Twitter Invite.  What is not known is whether the residents of the community were made aware of the invite being on social media and just who was actually invited.  This is one factor that easily may have contributed to the police being called.

Brandon Brooks, who posted the video to YouTube, said in the video’s description, “A fight between a mom and a girl broke out and when the cops showed up everyone ran, including the people who didn’t do anything. So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason. This kind of force is uncalled for especially on children and innocent bystanders.”

Brooks, who is white, also 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.”  His not being told to get down by police is pretty evident in the video.  I still believe the ratio of races present has more to do with who was made to get on the ground rather than certain people of color being singled out, but Brooks’ observations must also be taken into account since he was actually present.

The question here is not the police presence due to the calls that were received, but rather the actions of one officer in particular; recently identified as Officer Eric Casebolt, that can be seen in the video shouting obscenities at these teenagers and appearing to be overly aggressive in the handling of several that he had detained.  The video begins with Casebolt taking chase of some teens and doing a pretty impressive somersault straight out of a Hollywood movie.  The officer loses a flashlight during his flashy move and two teens pick it up and approach an officer that is clearly engaged with several black teens and behaving in a calm and professional manner.

At one point in the video, the aggressive officer grabs a black female teen and throws her to the ground and then kneeling on her back.  Several bystanders rush the officer in what appears to be them coming to the aid of the girl who they felt was being assaulted.  The officer immediately draws his service weapon on the approaching teens.  Several officers then come into frame and take chase on the teens that had initially tried to aid the female on the ground.

Officer Casebolt can be heard cursing at the teens over and over again.  His actions show that he obviously became way too emotionally involved and lost control of his temper.  It becomes more evident how out of control his actions were as you watch throughout the video and see other officers standing with groups of teens and talking in a calm manner to get answers.  This officer escalated the situation to the point of violence to gain control of a situation that none of the other officer felt the need to resort to.

There is no question from the video that the officer handled this situation in an unprofessional manner.  The video is being shared all over social media at this time and many are jumping to the conclusion that this is all about race because only blacks teens are being detained.  I mentioned earlier in the story the estimated black to white ratio at the scene as being 9:1.  As you can see, the focal point of the video is on one small area of the neighborhood and we don’t really know who all was being detained and questioned.

It is important that we all focus on the issue of the officer’s blatant loss of self-control and not jump to conclusions about this being a racial issue.  By jumping to those conclusions without supporting evidence we are only promoting an already growing divide of races in this country.  In saying that, I am not denying that racism is alive and well in this country.  We just need to take a step back and actually look at all facts before doing something as harmful and reckless as jumping to conclusions blindly.  If more facts are made known down the road that race played a factor in what took place, only then can that issue be addressed.

It has been reported that only one arrest took place during the incident.  The unidentified person arrested was a white adult male.  The 14  year old girl seen being thrown to the ground was released to her mother.

The McKinney Police Chief held a press conference on June 7, 2015.  The press conference only highlighted what took place according to police accounts.

Contact information for the McKinney Police Department:  2200 Taylor-Burk Dr., McKinney, TX 75071.  Non-emergency #-972-547-2700.

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