2015 Texas pool party incident
|Date||June 5, 2015|
|Location||McKinney, Texas, United States|
|Cause||A McKinney police officer was video-recorded restraining an unarmed black fifteen-year-old girl on the ground|
|Outcome||Grand jury declined to indict officer involved in incident|
The 2015 Texas pool party incident, also known as the "McKinney pool party", was an American civil disturbance that occurred on June 5, 2015, at a pool party in a gated McKinney, Texas, community. A McKinney police officer, corporal Eric Casebolt, was video-recorded restraining Dajerria Becton, a fifteen year old black girl wearing a swimsuit, on the ground. He later drew his handgun during the same incident. The incident was caught on video and was posted on YouTube by another teenage partygoer. Within hours, millions of people had seen the video. The officer shown in the video was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation and later resigned. The incident sparked protests in McKinney involving hundreds of people. but a grand jury declined to indict the officer involved.
Twelve police officers responded to an incident involving a pool party at Craig Ranch, an upper middle class neighborhood in McKinney. The incident was described by police as a disturbance involving around 100 teens, mostly black, at a private pool party where various teens jumped the fence after a local radio station promoted the party at this private pool over social media. Later, in the street, Casebolt pushed a teenager dressed in a bikini to the ground after the girl was asked to leave multiple times. When two black teenage bystanders attempted to interfere, the officer drew his handgun and held it in a "low ready" position as the teens retreated. Casebolt was also heard cursing. The entire event was captured on a cell phone camera by a teenager who lives in the neighborhood.
An 18-year-old partygoer who was arrested at the incident was booked into Collin County Jail on charges of misdemeanor, evading arrest and interfering with police. The charges against him were later dropped. According to a police report, he ran from police for two to three minutes before he was caught. The girl who was restrained by Casebolt on video was not charged.
Casebolt, a McKinney Police Department officer who served in the department for ten years and received the McKinney Patrolman of the Year award for 2008,, was placed on administrative leave after the video went viral; he subsequently resigned.
According to his lawyer, earlier in the day and prior to being dispatched to the pool incident, the officer had dealt with one uncompleted suicide attempt and another unusually disturbing completed suicide. His lawyer noted that the officer was apologetic for his actions but denied that his actions were motivated by race. The lawyer noted that a white woman was also detained during the incident.
The organizer of the pool party has faced difficulty finding venues after the June 5 incident. The venue that was to be the site of the next party in the series received a number of threatening and harassing phone calls.
Collin County prosecutors ordered the Texas Rangers to conduct an independent investigation in the incident. On January 11, 2016, the Texas Rangers concluded their investigation and returned it to the Collin County District Attorney’s Office for further handling. On June 23, 2016, a grand jury declined to indict the officer involved, closing the legal case on the situation.
On January 4, 2017, it was reported that Dajerria Becton and her legal guardian, Shashona Becton, filed a civil suit against the police corporal Eric Casebolt, the McKinney Police Department and the city of McKinney, seeking damages of five million dollars for using excessive force and holding her without probable cause thus violating her constitutional rights. The case was settled for $184,850 in 2018.
On June 8, about 800 protesters marched through McKinney, demanding the officer involved to be fired. They walked from a school to the swimming pool where the incident unfolded. Many of the protesters accused the officers involved of being racially biased. Some demonstrators held signs reading "My skin color is not a crime" and "Don't tread on our kids."
McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said that the officer's actions were "indefensible" and did not reflect on the department's high standard of action. Conley stated that the officer was "out of control" during the incident. The police department also said they had started an investigation.
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