Tensions in McKinney Texas Heighten

MckInney Texas Incident
Police Officer Eric Casebolt attempted to arrest a teenage girl who attended a pool party at the Craig North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas, June 5, 2015. Police dropped charges against Adrian Martin, the only person arrested in the incident. Martin says he will not sue, but will teach youth how to respond in encounters with law enforcement.

On Monday night, close to 800 people marched through McKinney, Texas, a city of almost 150,000 people. They walked from a school to the swimming pool, carrying placards with slogans including “My skin color is not a crime” and “Don’t tread on our kids.”  Civil rights leaders in McKinney said they want an investigation by the US justice department, and to see Mr Casebolt dismissed. The protesters are demanding that the police officer Corporal David Eric Casebolt, be dismissed. The officer has been placed on leave.

This incident comes at a time of heightened scrutiny about how US police forces respond to minorities. Protests have followed the deaths of several African Americans in police incidents since July 2014 – Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York, Michael Scott in South Carolina, Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio.

The NAACP released the following statement on the McKinney Police Department’s excessive use of force against teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16, including a 14-year-old girl clad in a bikini, while attending a pool party in McKinney, Texas. Tomorrow, Dallas/Fort Worth, state and national NAACP leadership will meet with McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley to demand a thorough investigation led by an independent police agency.

Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO:
“I am deeply disturbed by the McKinney Police Department’s treatment of these African American teenagers.  The excessive force on an unarmed 14-year-old girl clad only in a bikini by an officer wearing a uniform and a gun, was particularly troubling. The NAACP has reached out to the families of these young people and will be advocating on their behalf at our meeting with McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley tomorrow. These teens appeared to be simply attending a pool party and deserved respectful treatment under the law.  We are calling for a full investigation of the McKinney Police Department officers and that they be held accountable to the full extent of the law.  We also join the community in wrapping our arms around these young people as they heal from the physical and mental scars this incident may have caused.”

Gary Bledsoe, Texas State Conference President:
“The over-the-top response of the McKinney Police Department has led to very serious concerns about the department’s ability to fairly provide police protection in our neighborhoods and to children of color.”

Ricky McNeal, President Garland Texas Branch:
“The NAACP has serious concerns about the overbearing response, specifically the officer’s unreasonable brandishing and the aiming of his firearm at 13, 14 and 15-year-old teens who had broken no laws. We are concerned because the level of force applied did not match the alleged resistance exhibited by the teens. Tomorrow NAACP leaders, including myself, National Board Member Bob Lydia and NAACP Arlington Branch President Alisa Simmons, will meet with MPD Chief Greg Conley.”

Alisa Simmons, President Arlington Texas Branch:
“The fundamental problem is the expectation that many officers have when they look at young African Americans.  They expect them to be more violent, more dangerous than any other race and they expect them to engage in criminal behavior.”