McKinney officer who pulled his gun on unarmed black teens at pool party resigns — but is it enough?

Dylan Stableford

The white police officer who threw a black bikini-clad girl to the ground and pulled his gun on two others while responding to a disturbance at a pool party in McKinney, Texas — sparking outrage on social media and protests in the Dallas suburb — resigned on Tuesday. But some community members there say his resignation is not enough.

"We want this officer charged with assaulting a minor," Dominique Alexander, an activist who organized the protests, said at a press conference Wednesday. "We will not stop until he is charged."

The 41-year-old officer, Eric Casebolt, tendered his resignation three days after he was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into his actions, seen in a widely viewed YouTube video taken by one of the teens at the party.

"Our policies, our training, our practice, do not support his actions," McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said Tuesday evening. "He came into the call out of control, and the video showed he was out of control."

Casebolt, a 10-year veteran of the department, was one of 12 officers who responded to Friday's disturbance call at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool, a private pool in an affluent part of the city.

"Eleven of them performed according to their training," Conley said. "They did an excellent job."

But Casebolt's aggression was "indefensible," the chief said.

Adrian Martin, one of the teens whom Casebolt pulled his gun on, was arrested on charges of interfering with the duties of a police officer and evading arrest. Those charges have been dismissed, police said.

It's unclear whether Casebolt will face charges in the wake of the pool party melee. The department's investigation into the incident is ongoing, Conley said.

"A resignation is not good enough," said Baquee Sabur, an army veteran and founder of the Fort Worth-based nonprofit Huma-Faith. "There has to be more than that."

Cory Session, public policy director for the Innocence Project of Texas, told KDFW-TV that he's glad Casebolt "retired" but dismayed that he could join another police department.

"Unfortunately, some officers like this, as young as he is, will get rehired," Session said.

Tatyana Rhodes, the teen who organized the party, said she's relieved that Casebolt is off the force.

"I'm happy that he's resigning," Rhodes said on CNN. "I feel that everyone in McKinney will feel better that he's resigning."

She added: "It's the first step."

Others feel that Casebolt should apologize.

“He should apologize to the girl he manhandled,” Ladariene McKever, one of the teens at the party, told the Dallas Morning News. “He should apologize to my friend he pushed in the face. He should apologize to the boys he handcuffed for no reason. We didn’t do anything wrong.”

"These children had rights to be on this property," Alexander said. "These children were victimized."

Jahi Bakari, a mother of another teen, said she's "more concerned with the atmosphere of racism that permeated after the incident and with the ensuing support the officer will be sure to get for losing his job."

Caseye Thompson, a McKinney resident who lives in Craig Ranch, took to Facebook to express her support for Casebolt.

"Not for one minute do I think he used excessive force, nor was there police brutality," Thompson wrote in a lengthy post that has been shared more than 30,000 times. "He did what he had to do in the moment to re-establish order & create a safe environment for everyone."

Thompson blamed the media for "fanning the flames of racism."

"Yes, #BlackLivesMatter but so do everyone else's including the police officers on scene," she wrote. "Being black (or any other color for that matter) does not entitle you to automatic exemption from obeying the law [and] following a police officer's commands."

"These are kids that have no respect for authority," Ben Ferguson, a conservative Dallas radio host, told Fox 4. "It has nothing to do with race. A lot of this could have been avoided if you actually had kids that would've listened to authority, not broken into a pool, not trespassed and had respect for adults. We have a total lack of respect for adults in the community nowadays."

The American Civil Liberties Union's Texas chapter, which had called for Casebolt's firing, said the McKinney case is another opportunity to have a national conversation about community policing.

"The fact that the offending officer has resigned from the McKinney police department does not settle the issue," the ACLU said in a blog post. "The continued insistence that police abuse is the result of 'bad apple' officers’ misbehavior actually creates an obstacle to comprehensive reform. We already have the knowledge, the tools, and the road map to bring community policing to every city in the nation. Now all we need is the will."