By Yoni Appelbaum
On Friday, a large group of teens gathered for a pool party in the city of McKinney, Texas. Shortly thereafter, someone called the police. And by Sunday night, as footage of the police response spread across the internet, the McKinney Police Department announced it was placing Eric Casebolt, the patrol supervisor shown in the video, on administrative leave.
It is the latest in a string of incidents of police using apparently excessive force against African Americans that has captured public attention. And it took place at a communal pool—where, for more than a century, conflicts over race and class have often surfaced.
The video shows a foul-mouthed police corporal telling the young men he encounters to get down, and the young women to take off, although far more obscenely. When several seated young men appear to ask, politely, for permission to leave, he explodes at them: “Don’t make me fucking run around here with thirty pounds of goddamn gear in the sun because you want to screw around out here.” The corporal was white. The young people he detained were, almost without exception, black.
The video next shows him repeatedly cursing at a group of young women, telling them to move on. Then he wrestles one to the ground. As bystanders react in horror, and several rush toward the young woman as if to her assistance, he draws his sidearm. They flee. He returns to the teenager, wrestles her back down, forces her face into the ground, and places both knees on her back.
The McKinney police said, in a statement, that they were called to respond to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool for a report of “a disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave.” They added that additional calls reported fighting, and that when the crowd refused to comply with the first responding officers, nine additional units were deployed.
The mayor, Brian Loughmiller, described himself as “disturbed and concerned,” and the police chief vowed “a complete, and thorough, investigation.”
Like many flourishing American suburbs, McKinney has struggled with questions of equity and diversity. The city is among the fastest-growing in America, and its residents hail from a wide range of backgrounds. Formal, legal segregation is a thing of the past. Yet stark divides persist.