No Charges for the Texas Pool-Party Cop

The white officer was captured on video last summer throwing a black teenage girl to the ground while breaking up a pool party.

LM Otero / AP

A Texas grand jury declined Thursday to indict a former police officer who was captured on video last summer throwing a teenage girl to the ground while he attempted to break up a pool party.

The footage showed Eric Casebolt, a white police officer, pinning a black teenager to the grass at the party in McKinney, Texas, on June 5, 2015. He also drew his gun on two young people who approached him. Casebolt received criticism for his treatment of the girl. From the Dallas Morning News:

Casebolt resigned four days after the incident on June 5, 2015, in the upscale Craig Ranch neighborhood in west McKinney. But by that point, the incident at the pool party had already become fodder for a national debate about police relations with minorities.

My colleague Yoni Appelbaum noted at the time that McKinney, which Money magazine had named the Best Place to Live in America, has, like other growing American suburbs, “struggled with questions of equity and diversity.” Here’s more:

In 2009, McKinney was forced to settle a lawsuit alleging that it was blocking the development of affordable housing suitable for tenants with Section 8 vouchers in the more affluent western portion of the city. East of Highway 75, according to the lawsuit, McKinney is 49 percent white; to its west, McKinney is 86 percent white. The plaintiffs alleged that the city and its housing authority were “willing to negotiate for and provide low-income housing units in east McKinney, but not west McKinney, which amounts to illegal racial steering.”

All three of the city’s public pools lie to the east of Highway 75. Craig Ranch, where the pool party took place, lies well to its west. BuzzFeed reports that the fight broke out when an adult woman told the teens to go back to “Section 8 housing.” …

Whatever took place in McKinney on Friday, it occurred against [the] … backdrop of the privatization of once-public facilities, giving residents the expectation of control over who sunbathes or doggie-paddles alongside them. Even if some of the teens were residents, and others possessed valid guest passes, as some insisted they did, the presence of “multiple juveniles…who do not live in the area” clearly triggered alarm. Several adults at the pool reportedly placed calls to the police. And none of the adult residents shown in the video appeared to manifest concern that the police response had gone too far, nor that its violence was disproportionate to the alleged offense.

Tom Mills, an attorney for Casebolt, told the Dallas Morning News Thursdaywe’re glad that the system worked in his favor in this case.”

Casebolt’s attorneys had said the officer arrived at the pool party after responding to two stressful scenes, according to the Morning News. In one, Casebolt comforted a woman whose husband had shot himself in front of the family, and in another, the officer helped persuade a girl not to jump from the roof of her parents’ house.