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Texas police officer who aggressively confronted teens on video steps down

Texas police officer at center of viral video who pointed his gun at black teenagers resigns

The Texas police officer who drew his gun on unarmed teenagers at a pool party and threw a 14-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground has resigned, officials said Tuesday.

Cpl. Eric Casebolt had been suspended Sunday after video emerged of him aggressively confronting black teenagers Friday evening in McKinney, a Dallas suburb.

City officials condemned his conduct as they announced the resignation.

“Our policy, our training, our practices do not support these actions,” McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said at a televised news conference. He called Casebolt’s actions “indefensible.”

“He came to the call out of control,” Conley said. “I had 12 officers on the scene, and 11 of them performed according to their training.”

Officials said residents had called the police to complain about an out-of-control party and fighting. Some teenagers said they had permission to be at the pool and said residents had harassed them.

A bystander’s video, which has garnered millions of views on YouTube, showed Casebolt shouting and cursing at teenagers who did not appear to be acting violently or aggressively. Casebolt, who is white, wrestled some black youths to the ground.

With the officer’s resignation, the internal investigation comes to an end, Conley said, and Casebolt will keep his pension and benefits. The chief added that a criminal investigation was ongoing and would take “a matter of time to work through.”

Mayor Brian Loughmiller told reporters that he was keeping close tabs on the situation and had met with community leaders to discuss their concerns.

“We all have to learn from what occurred,” Loughmiller said.

Jane Bishkin, a Dallas attorney who represents Casebolt and several police unions, told the Los Angeles Times in a text message that there would be a statement about Casebolt’s resignation on Wednesday.

The episode tapped into the national furor over how police treat black community members. This one was unusual in that no one involved appeared to have been seriously hurt.

Even so, the video drew public condemnation and demands from protesters that Casebolt be fired.

For some critics, the incident summoned memories of segregation, when African Americans were barred from swimming in pools with white Americans.

But the McKinney Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents Casebolt, said Monday that “this was not a racially motivated incident” and that McKinney police do not conduct “racially biased policing.”

In the video, officers can be seen sprinting through a subdivision near the pool as clusters of teens stand around and watch.

“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,” the user who uploaded the video to YouTube on Saturday wrote in a caption. “So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason.”

The user identified himself as Brandon Brooks.

On the video, one teen can be heard telling an officer, “Sir, we’re just here for a birthday party, please!”

Casebolt drew public scorn after the video showed him confronting black teens aggressively, forcing boys in the group on the ground and using profanities as he told the lingering youths, by turns, to either stay on the ground or to leave the area.

“Don’t make me ... run around here with 30 pounds of goddamn gear on in the sun because you want to screw around out here,” he told a couple of black teenagers he had ordered to sit on the ground.

At one point in the video, Casebolt walked up to a 14-year-old black girl in a bikini and wrestled her down to a sidewalk, forcing her head down with his hand. That upset others who were standing around peacefully.

When two unarmed teen boys rushed up, the officer pulled out his gun, and they ran away.

“Call my mama!” the girl in the bikini, who’d become emotional, called out while sitting up on the sidewalk.

Casebolt then picked her up from the sidewalk, threw her back down on the grass and then on her face, and put his knee on her back as a couple of white adults stood between him and the teens.

“He grabbed me, twisted my arm on my back and shoved me in the grass and started pulling the back of my braids,” the girl, Dajerria Becton, told Dallas-area KDFW-TV. She said she had been invited to the party and was not involved in any fighting. “I was telling him to get off me because my back was hurting bad.”

The girl and her family could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

matt.pearce@latimes.com

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

9:05 p.m.: The story was updated throughout with new details.

4:52 p.m.: The story was updated with background on the video.

4:09 p.m.: The post was updated with information from a news conference confirming the resignation and calling the officer's conduct indefensible.

3:32 p.m.: The story was updated with more details. 

3:02 p.m.: The story was updated with background on the events following the pool party.

The post was originally published at 2:48 p.m.

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