The McKinney, Texas Pool Party

The debate over police brutality has been constantly making headlines with a new incident over the past months. Without context, stories are easily manipulated or twisted to favor the speaker's opinion (but what goes without bias?). In the most recent episode, the McKinney, Texas pool party, on June 16, 2015, Brandon Brooks, a 15-year-old teenager, posted a seven-minute video showing a police officer using force on a teenage girl to establish order and control when a pool party got out of hand.

Being aware of context when absorbing information from the news is imperative to understanding. That being said, here is a list of facts concerning this particular incident: 
  •  According to a 2015 estimate, the population of McKinney, Texas is at 155,142 people. It was number one on TIME Money's list, Best Places to Live in 2014. According to 2010 census data, 75 percent of the town residents are white and 10 percent are black. 
  • The pool party was hosted by Tatyana Rhodes at Craig Ranch North Community Pool. According to the McKinney police department, they were answering residents' concerns about "multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave." The Homeowner's Association rules prohibit more than two guests at the pool. Officers arrived at 7:15 p.m. local time on Friday.
  • According to Rhodes, a racially-charged fight started after two white women told a group of African-American teenagers they should "leave and go back to their Section 8 homes." Brooks said he was one of the "only white people in the area when it was happening." He explained that the fight was between a mom and a girl, and that Becton was "running her mouth," but freedom of speech did not warrant Casebolt's actions. 
  • Cpl. Eric Casebolt, the officer who is seen briefly pulling a gun and putting his knees on the back of Dajerria Becton, 15, (in addition to shouting profanities) was put on leave and later resigned after meeting with the department's internal affairs uint to review possible charges. He was a 10-year veteran of the McKinney police department. His lawyer, Jane Bishkin, explained he was under the stress of the day and "allowed his emotions to get the better of him." 
    • "I'm happy that he's resigning," Rhodes said. "I feel that everyone in McKinney will feel better that he's resigning... it's the first step.
  • According to Michael Quattrin, a community resident whose Facebook post has been shared more than 100,000 shares, explained the situation: 
    • "The teenagers (both black and white) were being brought into our neighborhood by the carload because the DJ was tweeting out invites to a “pool party” for $15 (obviously unauthorized by our neighborhood). The teens began fighting with each other and pushing their way into our private pool. Some were jumping our fence. The security guard was accosted when he tried to stop the beginnings of this mob scene."
  • "The actions of Eric Casebolt are indefensible." Greg Conley, police chief, said. "I had 12 officers on the scene, and 11 of them performed according to their training."
Headlines demanding racial equality are frequent, but Benet Embry, a 43-year-old African American and eight-year resident of McKinney, said,

"Let me reiterate, the neighbors or the neighborhood did not call the police because this was an African-American party or whatever the situation is," he said. "This was not a racially motivated event -- at all. This whole thing is being blown completely out of proportion." I may or may not agree with everything that the police officer did, but I do believe he was trying to establish order."


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