Since it was uploaded Saturday, the video has been played nearly 5 million times. The video shows a black teenage girl begging for her mother as a white police officers swings her around violently by the arm and then buries her face into the dirt. Surrounded by kids in bathing suits, he’s heard cursing loudly in the video, and at one point the officer draws his gun.
In a written statement, McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said he was “disturbed and concerned” by the video. The officer, identified as Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into his behavior.
The teenagers had gathered in the Craig Ranch neighborhood to swim in the community pool for a birthday party. Reports say a woman approached a group of black kids and told them to go back to their “Section 8 housing,” code for federally subsidized low-income projects. Several people at the scene complained that a fight had broken out.
A 19-year-old named Tatiana Rose, who says she planned the pool party and was “smacked” by the woman, corroborated these details in a video posted on YouTube.
Officials say three police responded to reports of “multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave.” Due to the size of the crowd, nine additionals officers were dispatched. Eyewitnesses say the white officers almost exclusively targeted the black teenagers.
Anonymous accounts on Twitter responded by spreading video and news articles related to the Craig Ranch incident under the hashtag #OpMcKinney. A newly created account, which claimed to know the location of Casebolt’s house, offered a $200 “bounty” for information related to another man who was photographed at the scene.
Users are being asked to contact the McKinney officials—various email addresses and phone numbers are being circulated online—and demand that Casebolt be fired.
It’s unclear what precautions, if any, officials are taking with regards to the Anonymous. The group has infiltrated the computer systems of law enforcement in the past and released personal information, including home addresses and Social Security numbers, of police officers. The McKinney Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
During the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, last year, an Anonymous account incorrectly identified a police officer who it claimed killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The man, who was not a member of the Ferguson police force, received a number of death threats before deleting his social media accounts.
Photo by Pierre (Rennes)/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)