Protest over Texas pool party policing


Hundreds marched through the Dallas-area city of McKinney on Monday calling for the firing of police officer Eric Casebolt, seen in a video throwing a bikini-clad teenage girl to the ground and pointing his pistol at other youths at a pool party disturbance. (REUTERS/Mike Stone)

HUNDREDS of people have marched through a city near Dallas, Texas, after a video showed a police officer pointing his gun at teenagers.

The video, filmed on Friday, shows an officer in McKinney pinning a black 15-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground with his knees. According to BBC’S report, the protesters are demanding that the police officer, which is white, should be dismissed.

The officer, Corporal David Eric Casebolt, has been placed on leave. In a statement posted on Facebook, McKinney police said they were called because a number of uninvited people refused to leave the swimming pool.

A fight then broke out, and more calls were made to police. In a video that is more than seven minutes long, Mr Casebolt is shown swearing at a number of black youths, pointing his gun at others, and pulling the girl by her arm, before pinning her to the ground with his knees.

The girl, Dajerria Becton, told the Texan broadcaster KDFW: “Him getting fired isn’t enough.” On Monday night, close to 800 people marched through McKinney, a city of almost 150,000 people.

They walked from a school to the swimming pool, carrying placards with slogans including “My skin colour is not a crime” and “Don’t tread on our kids”.

Civil rights leaders in McKinney said they wanted an investigation by the U.S. justice department, and to see Mr Casebolt dismissed. The incident comes at a time of heightened scrutiny about how U.S. 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, Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio.

Benet Embry, a radio host who witnessed the incident, defended the police, saying: “That’s what they are supposed to do – protect us, he told BBC. “I don’t know any other way he could have taken her down or established order.”

A number of comments on the police department’s Facebook page have defended the officer’s actions. Police said the video “raised concerns that are being investigated”. Mr Casebolt has not commented on the investigation.

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