Thursday, June 11, 2015

#McKinney Texas Pool Party Turns Racist

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The town of McKinney, Texas, became the new "face of racism" this week after a pool party was broken up by a rogue cop. Officer Eric Casebolt was filmed rolling on the ground as if in a video game as he entered an area where young teens were having a pool party; he then proceeded to curse at and man-handle a 14-year-old girl before sitting on her, and at one point waved his weapon directly at several boys who sought to help the girl on the ground. At that point at least two officers stepped in to make him put down his gun because he was clearly out of control.

Words can't do this situation justice, so we're lucky to have video thanks to another child who filmed the whole thing.

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Just the language coming from Casebolt was bad enough, but the way these kids were treated was completely shocking and uncalled-for, not to mention blatantly racist.

Eric Casebolt has now resigned from the McKinney police force:

From ABC News
Cpl. Eric Casebolt's resignation comes a day after hundreds of protesters marched near the pool in McKinney where the incident took place last weekend.

McKinney Chief of Police Greg Conley said this evening that Casebolt's actions on the cell phone recording of the incident were "indefensible."
"Our policies, our training, our practice do not support his actions," he added.

Conley described Casebolt as being "out of control," while praising the actions of the 11 other officers on the scene.
"I had 12 officers on the scene and 11 of them... did an incredible job," Conley said.

But Casebolt's lawyer says he is "suffering" from this ordeal and other recent events, such as suicide calls he witnessed the same day as the pool party:

From Wall Street Journal
The officer, Eric Casebolt, was under emotional duress when he responded Friday evening to reports of a disturbance at a community pool in McKinney, Texas, said his attorney, Jane Bishkin. Earlier that day, the officer had handled two suicide calls, including one in which a man shot himself in the head in the presence of his children.

“The nature of these two suicide calls took an emotional toll,” she said at a news conference. “He allowed his emotions to get the better of him.”

It should be noted, however, that Casebolt has been brought up on charges of racial profiling in the past:

From The Root
In court documents, Albert Earl Brown Jr. described how, in April 2007, he was sitting in a car with white female passengers, when Casebolt approached the vehicle and made comments about Brown’s clothes and the white women Brown was with.

In court documents, Brown said that Casebolt asked to search the car after allegedly seeing marijuana seeds, yet Brown maintained that Casebolt didn’t find any drugs after the car search. Brown alleged that Casebolt pulled down Brown’s pants to conduct a body search while another officer slammed Brown’s face into the hood of the car. In response to the complaint, Casebolt said that he did, in fact, find marijuana seeds inside Brown’s car.

Brown was convicted of a drug charge stemming from that arrest, but he still filed a civil rights lawsuit against Casebolt and the other police officers present during the arrest. Brown argued that Casebolt conjured up a “fake charge” in order to cover up how badly and inappropriately Casebolt and the officers had treated Brown during the stop and arrest.

The lawsuit was dismissed because Brown said he was incarcerated and unable to collect all of the evidence he needed to prove his case. Brown also said he didn’t understand the legal process enough to follow through with the suit, the International Business Times reports. Later that year, Casebolt won the Patrolman of the Year award, according to the International Business Times.

There is a major concensus among those attending the party, white and black, that race was a motivating factor in the 911 calls and the reaction of Officer Casebolt.

From CNN News
Brandon Brooks, the 15-year-old white teen who shot the video, said there's no doubt race was a factor in how police responded. He said the officer was targeting black teens at the scene.
"I was one of the only white people in the area when that was happening," he told CNN affiliate KDAF. "You can see in part of the video where he tells us to sit down, and he kinda like skips over me and tells all my African-American friends to go sit down."
Brandon said the argument that drew police to the pool party didn't even involve most of the teens Casebolt was going after.
"It was a fight between a mom and girl, which had nothing to do with all the other kids," he told KDAF.
Brandon said he was unnerved to see his friend tackled and pressed to the ground.
"I think she was 'running her mouth,' and she has freedom of speech, and that was very uncalled for him to throw her to the ground," he said.

Talking head Megyn Kelly of Fox News took flack for saying on air that the 14-year-old girl who was wrestled to the ground by Casebolt was "No Saint," echoing a similar controversial headline by the New York Times after the shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, another racially motivated attack by police. People on social media were quick to note the difference in Kelly's tone from the softball interview just last week with the Duggar clan, whose eldest son is facing a scandal over molesting several of his sisters as well as a babysitter. Kelly was also quick to interview 911 caller Sean Toon as an eyewitness without any apparent background check (scroll down to see more about that below).

From Raw Story
Fox News host Megyn Kelly said on Monday that, while she was not defending McKinney, Texas police officer Eric Casebolt’s actions last week, the 15-year-old girl he attacked was not without blame.
“The girl was no saint, either,” Kelly said of Dajerria Becton. “He had told her to leave, and she continued to linger. When a cop tells you to leave, get out.”

Conservative radio host Michael Berry said the McKinney kids were "acting like jungle animals," and thus the actions of Casebolt were justified.

“You’ve got a ready-made crowd of people who don’t have day jobs that are ready to storm the streets and threaten the cops,” Berry said on his eponymous show on Houston’s KTRH, which is an iHeartRadio network station. “Let me suggest that for the people who end up getting in fights with the cops: Shut your mouth!” NBC News cannot be certain the audio was not edited.
“Let me ask you, how many among you would put on a badge and a police uniform today?” he added. “How many of you would put on a badge, police uniform and be the first to respond — by yourself — to a crowd of teenagers, amped up — watch ‘em! Man, they’re screaming! ‘Get outta here! Who are you?! You don’t know what you! You go! You get! Who are you?! You can’t do that! No man, we gon’ get you! You bet!’ I mean you’re talking about, like, jungle animals. I mean this is wild, crazy, out of control.”
On his Monday broadcast, Berry also defended the “probably white” people who called police to the scene at the pool party, saying they were “scared to death” because “there’s a bunch of black people and they’re out on the streets and they’re fightin’ and carryin’ on and they’re playing that music from Jay-Z.”

Yeah, but not racist, right?

Several white adults are believed to have called the police when they thought the black teens were getting rowdy or believed the children of color "didn't belong there" due to, you know, their race. But that wasn't true - most of the kids were from that development, known as Craig Ranch, if police had bothered to listen to them.

According to the children on the scene and the video evidence, a white woman thought to be Tracey Carver-Albritton made racial slurs telling some of the black children to "go back to Section 8 Housing," then got into an altercation with a black girl which involved hair-pulling and slapping. Carver-Albritton ironically works in the bank lending industry dealing in real estate, while McKinney Texas has a history of denying Section 8 housing in certain white sections of town. While Carver-Albritton left the scene and eluded police, Twitter put pressure on her employer and she has been suspended from her job at CoreLogic, a vendor of Bank of America. Twitter also retaliated with the hashtag #RacistTracey.

A local white man named Sean Toon admitted to calling 911 and the next day posted a "thank you" sign at the pool for the police. Twitter's revenge was the hashtag #SeanToon911. Some digging from people on Twitter uncovered a felonious history for Mr. Toon, who was once charged for brutally killing farm animals as a teen, and later served jail time for "assault with a deadly weapon" on a human being.

From The Guardian
In November 1999, aged 18, Toon and three high school friends were arrested and expelled from school after vandalising the agricultural centre of a rival high school district and attacking animals housed there, many of which were owned and cared for by school children.
“Cows and pigs were cut and bruised, apparently beaten with wooden boards. And baby turkeys were slain, their limbs torn apart,” the Dallas Morning News reported at the time. Dale Gardner, a teacher in the school district’s agriscience and technology program, told the newspaper: “It was brutal. There’s no way to describe it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
About a dozen prize turkeys, which were reportedly being bred by a student aiming to win money for his scholarship fund, were feared killed.

Animals and buildings were covered in green and gold paint, according to reports. These were the colours of Toon’s high school, Newman Smith, whose football team rivalled that of RL Turner High, whose students used the agricultural centre.
. . . Toon pleaded guilty to felony criminal mischief and was sentenced in August 2000 to 285 days in jail and fined $300. His three friends were also punished for the incident.
A Dallas County court clerk confirmed details of the case on Wednesday but was unable to confirm how long Toon served in jail.

In September 2000, Toon was charged in nearby Denton County with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to court records. After pleading guilty to an unspecified lesser charge, Toon was sentenced to 75 days in jail.

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