On Saturday, a disturbing video of 41-year-old police officer Eric Casebolt aggressively handling a group of teens near a pool party in McKinney, Texas surfaced on YouTube. The officer was captured forcing a 15-year-old girl in her bathing suit to the ground and drawing his weapon on the teens nearby. In the video's description section, the uploader and shooter of the footage, 15-year-old Brandon Brooks, included a bit of what it was like to be at the scene.
"A situation between a mom and a girl broke out and when the cops showed up everyone ran, including the people who didn't do anything [wrong]," he wrote of the incident, which unfolded on Friday, June 5. "So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason. This kind of force is uncalled for especially on children and innocent bystanders."
In an interview with a local affiliate, Brandon elaborated on what happened.
"The cops showed up and the parents immediately started yelling, 'You need more cops, there’s too many of them.' And most of the kids weren’t even involved," Brandon said. "It was a fight between a mom and girl, which had nothing to do with all the other kids that she apparently needed more cops for."
Brandon said he was one of the only white people at the scene and that the police officer acted like he was invisible. He used this opportunity to take the video, which, at press time, has been viewed over 9 million times. "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," he said.
When Brandon saw his friend, 15-year-old Dajerria Becton, forced to the ground, he was terrified. He described watching Casebolt draw his weapon on the teens around her.
"I think she was, quote unquote, running her mouth, and she has freedom of speech and that was very uncalled for him to throw her to the ground," Brandon said, "When [Casebolt] pulled his gun my heart dropped. As soon as he pulled out his gun, I thought he was going to shoot that kid. That was very scary."
According to KDAF, Brandon said he hopes "the situation could be a learning tool for everyone, especially the people leaving horrible comments on [his] YouTube video." He believes race played a large part in the incident. "The [YouTube commenters are] just going to discriminate against them because [people in the video are] black," Brooks said. "What if that was your kid getting slung to the ground? Would you still be talking about them in the way that you are?"
On Monday, Brian Loughmiller, the mayor of McKinney, said that "after reviewing the video of the incident, Chief Conley has placed the officer on administrative leave, as is required while a complete investigation is conducted." The same day, protests in the Dallas suburb drew hundreds of supporters who came to show their outrage and demand answers. Meanwhile, many of those following the incident on social media have been calling for the officer to be fired and expressed frustration with ongoing incidents of police brutality.