Hundreds gathered on Monday evening outside a McKinney, Texas, elementary school to protest the treatment of black teenagers by one of the city’s police officers.
The officer, David Eric Casebolt, has been suspended pending an investigation by the McKinney Police Department. Many of the protesters, all of whom have likely seen Casebolt on video drawing his gun on children at a pool party, say he needs to lose his job.
“There’s no way, if you send him to any type of counseling or anything else—still within himself, that part of him is still there. Basically, he needs to find another job,” said Maurice Gray, a resident of the Craig Ranch subdivision where the incident occurred.
Gray characterized Casebolt as a “bad apple off the bunch,” and said the majority of McKinney’s residents coexist peacefully with the police. “McKinney is a quiet neighborhood. I’ve never had any problems with any police officers.”
The demonstrators stood at the front entrance of Comstock Elementary School for nearly an hour while dozens of speakers addressed the crowd with a bullhorn. John Fullinwider, cofounder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, was one them.
“The officer was out of control,” he later told the Daily Dot. “I think that he demonstrated that he just doesn’t have the temperament.”
“I taught school for years. You don’t just run screaming at kids, knocking them down,” Fullinwider said. “That particular scene is really not brain science. Where’s the crime? What was the little girl doing?”
Brock Jackson, who lives across from the elementary school, told the Daily Dot that Casebolt went too far when he drew his gun. “Was he ever in harms way?” Jackson asked. “Based on what I saw, no not really.”
Jackson, like many others at the protest, pointed to the fact that the other officers in the video appear to tell Casebolt to put his gun away.
“This incident happened out here, and it’s been a huge eye-opener,” added Jackson. “Everything else that’s happened across the country has been inner-city. Here we are in the suburbs, in supposedly the greatest city right now, fastest growing, and we have the same issues.”
Several hundred demonstrators gathered before the crowed marched about a mile away to the nearby Craig Ranch North Community Pool, where Friday’s incident occurred. The demonstrators chanted, “Let’s go to the pool” and “Keep your hands off our babies,” as they passed police officers who had set up barricades to stop cars from nearing the protest.
Standing outside the pool, Keisha Sanders, a 5-year resident of McKinney, said that children in her community don’t grow up in an atmosphere of discrimination. “All the kids mingle together with one another,” she said.
“There’s no cliques, no segregation here. You see them shopping together, eating together, playing ball together at the park, just socializing with one another. You don’t see anybody separated off into different nationalities.”
What bothered Sanders most was the way Casebolt handled the 14-year-old girl. “She should have been a little more respected. They should have offered her back her towel, or something to cover up and not just leave her out there,” she said. Sanders also thought Casebolt needs to lose his job. “It was totally uncalled for and inappropriate.”
Sander’s concern was echoed by Jahi Bakari, the father of a 13-year-old girl involved in the altercation. “Send the proper people out there. I don’t like grown men touching my daughters,” he told NBC News on Monday. “This man was out of control.”
A McKinney police officer estimated that the crowded had swelled to approximately 600 demonstrators by the end of the march.
Police officers said that McKinney PD’s internal affairs unit questioned Casebolt on Monday. He has five days to respond to the administrative action against him.
Brandon Brooks, the 15-year-old who captured the video that led to Monday’s protest, told reporters that he felt like the police had skipped over him because he is white and instead targeted the black teens.
“I was one of the only white people in the area when that was happening. 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,” Brooks said, adding: “What if that was your kid getting slung to the ground? Would you still be talking about them in the way that you are?”
Photo by Dell Cameron