The infamous Mckinney pool party happened in a quiet bedroom community better known for it’s tidy awards list and golf course communities.
In fact, Money Magazine (a Time.com property) named the northern Dallas suburb 2014’s #1 Place to Live in America because as new residents noted “Around here, everyone says hello and stops to chat.”
A “stop & chat” incident gone wrong spiraled into what Twitter now infamously hashtags as the #TexasPoolParty.
Policeman Eric Casebolt – a 10 year veteran in the northern Dallas suburb – drew his firearm at a crowd of unarmed citizens in response to a 911 ‘disturbance’ call to a neighborhood pool party.
Now the Texas lawman is the newest face of “heroic” policing gone wrong.
It’s hard to imagine what, if any crime these teenagers committed by watching the lengthy viral video, other than outnumbering a clearly nervous police officer on a suburban street.
“Officers need reasonable suspicion or probable cause to detain or arrest an individual.” said Hunter Biederman, a criminal defense lawyer from neighboring Frisco, Texas, “While cannot see what happened before the recording, it is clear he tells at least one young girl to leave then changes his mind before ordering her back and physically assaulting her by slamming her to the ground.
“Everyone around is horrified by what they see this officer (Corporal by his sleeve stripes) do.”
When police wantonly violate the civil rights of citizens, it makes people rightfully question how any professional law enforcement department can allow this type of behavior – let alone from the Mckinney “Officer of the Year”.
After watching officer Casebolt trip over his own feet running to the scene, Biederman bemoaned the officer’s hasty escalation of the incident.
“It is obvious that the scene is made more hostile not by the citizens attending but the police officer himself who is finally restrained himself by two other officers.”
The concept of de-escalation in policing is nothing new.
Sadly, concepts like qualified immunity which invoke state protections for officers who don’t know that they’re breaking the law, likely discourage aggressive cops like Casebolt from studying professional standards too deeply.
The less you know as a cop, the easier it is to invoke qualified immunity for any incident, no matter how outrageous.
After open hostilities ceased, Mckinney PD cranked up the Police PR Spin Machine.
Chief Greg Conley inherited a Mckinney police department marked by rocky departures at the top recently. Now, less than 3 months into Conley’s tenure, he’s facing a worldwide media firestorm.
Clearly, Chief Conley noted “concerns” about the Casebolt’s rampage. Then he applied the ultimate punishment that police gone wild face: administrative leave.
Of course it’s a paid suspension, which many officers consider paid vacation.