Texas officer suspended after aggressively confronting teens at pool party

Responding to reports of fighting, officer is placed on leave after drawing his gun on unarmed black teens

A white Dallas-area police officer has been suspended after a video surfaced over the weekend showing him drawing his gun on unarmed black teenagers outside a swimming pool and wrestling a 14-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground.

McKinney, Texas, police officials said officers arrived Friday evening at the private Craig Ranch North Community Pool after reports of fighting and residents complaining that a group of teenagers didn't have permission to be at the pool.

Officials said three officers initially responded to the call and that 12 officers had arrived by the time the incident was over.

In a video taken by a bystander, which has garnered more than 4 million views as of Monday, 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!"

One officer in particular has drawn public scorn after the video showed him confronting black teens aggressively, forcing young men in the group on the ground and using profanities as he told the lingering teens, 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," the officer told a couple of black teenagers he had ordered to sit on the ground.

At one point, the officer walks up to a 14-year-old girl in a bikini, who is black, and wrestles her down to a sidewalk, forcing her head down with his hand, which upset other teens 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, now emotional, calls out while sitting up on the sidewalk.

The officer then picks her up from the sidewalk, throws her back down on the grass and then on her face, and puts his knee on her back as a couple of white adults stand between the officer and the teens still standing nearby.

"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 KDFW-TV. She said she had been an invited guest and was not involved in any fighting. "I was telling him to get off me because my back was hurting bad."

In a Sunday news conference, McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said that after the video surfaced, the officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a full internal investigation.

"As the chief of police, I am committed to a complete and thorough investigation into this incident," Conley told reporters. "I ask that all persons be patient and respect the investigative process."

Conley declined to say whether he thought the officer's actions were inappropriate or broke any rules.

"Any time you confront a large group of people, it's a very dynamic situation, tensions can rise very quickly," Conley said.

After the video became national news Sunday, KDFW-TV reported that local residents had apparently placed a sign at the pool that said, "Thank you McKinney PD for keeping us safe."

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


11:49 a.m.: This story was updated with additional details about the incident outside the pool in McKinney, Texas.

This story was originally published at 6:43 a.m.