|Former McKinney, Texas police officer Eric Casebolt throws then-15-year-old Dajerria Becton to the ground after a 2015 pool party.|
The black teen girl pinned to the ground by a McKinney, Texas cop at a 2015 pool party is suing the former officer, the police department, and the city for $5 million. Dajerria Becton, who was 15 at the time of the incident, and her legal guardian filed the complaint in federal court last month.
According to the suit, officer Eric Casebolt, who resigned four days after the incident after being put on administrative leave, violated Becton’s constitutional rights by using excessive force on her and holding her without probable cause that she had committed a crime. The suit also alleges that the McKinney Police Department and the city itself failed to properly train police officers, making them partly at fault for the mental and physical harm Becton suffered.
The June 2015 incident was caught on tape; the video, a disturbing example of police violence against unarmed black teenagers, quickly attracted attention in the news and on social media. It has been viewed more than 12.7 million times as of this writing.
On that day in early June, police were called to a McKinney community pool after white neighbors objected to the presence of black teens at a party there. In the video, Casebolt can be seen grabbing Becton by the arm and throwing her to the ground multiple times. (In one instance, Becton is sitting on the ground per Casebolt’s instructions when he lifts her up and slams her into the grass again.) Responding to no apparent physical threat, Casebolt pushes Becton’s head into the ground, pulls her by her hair, and kneels with one knee on her back and the other on her neck. She cries out for her mother. When two male bystanders approach, Casebolt points his gun at them to shoo them off. “Get out of here or you’re going to jail,” he says.
Becton was handcuffed on the ground for several minutes, despite the fact that, according to the suit, she was following Casebolt’s orders. “The entire time … she could do nothing by cry out in pain and repeatedly beg for her ‘Momma’ as she endured the pain inflicted upon her by Defendant Casebolt’s physical assault,” Becton’s complaint reads. She claims she was invited to the pool party by a neighborhood resident and began to leave the pool area when police officers came to break it up. (A black teen who lived very close to the public pool was, indeed, the one who threw the pool party.)
After the video of the incident was posted to YouTube, McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley called Casebolt’s actions “indefensible” and “out of control.” Becton’s suit alleges that Casebolt’s behavior was typical of the policies and trainings provided by the police department. “McKinney prides itself in cultivating the highest standards of training and professionalism for our officers, and it strongly believes that its standards and training will withstand legal challenge,” the police department said in a statement issued in response to the lawsuit.
Dallas News reports that Becton is seeking $5 million for “mental anguish” and “loss of quality of life,” plus legal fees, with interest. She is asking for punitive damages in addition to damages for the psychological and emotional disturbances she says she still suffers from Casebolt’s use of physical force.
Black Teenager Brutalized At Texas Pool Party Sues For $5 Million
Dajerria Becton, the black teenager slammed to the ground during a 2015 pool party in McKinney, Texas, has filed a federal lawsuit against the officer involved, the city and the McKinney Police Department for $5 million.
A cell phone video that went viral in June 2015 shows Eric Casebolt, the officer responding to disturbance calls at Craig Ranch North Community Pool, yanking 15-year-old Becton to the ground, putting his knee into her back and pulling his service weapon on two other teens.
Casebolt resigned following national backlash to the incident. On July 23, a grand jury failed to indict the former officer for his treatment of Becton.
In the lawsuit, filed on Dec. 19, Becton and her legal guardian allege that Casebolt’s forceful arrest and his decision to hold the teen without probable cause violated her constitutional rights. The plaintiffs also claim that inadequate police training and a policy that “encourages officers to use force first and ask questions later” are to blame for Becton’s injuries.
“The City of McKinney denies the claims alleged against it and the McKinney Police Department, and as such, will vigorously defend the recently filed lawsuit,” reads a statement from the city provided to The Dallas Morning News. “McKinney prides itself in cultivating the highest standards of training and professionalism for our officers, and it strongly believes that its standards and training will withstand legal challenge.”
Texas teen tackled by cop at pool party sues files $15 million police brutality suit
A Texas teenager is suing the police officer who slammed her to the ground during a disturbance call to a pool party in Craig Ranch, an upscale master-planned community in the city of McKinney.
Dajerria Becton, 15, is seeking $15 million in damages from that June 2015 altercation. Cell phone video footage of the altercation shows former Cpl. Eric Casebolt — upset that the scattering teens “keep running [their] mouth[s]” — wrestling Becton to the ground, pushing her face into the grass, and kneeling on her back while he handcuffs her. Becton, crying, says Casebolt “hit me in the face.” When others rush to her defense, Casebolt aims his stun gun at them.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Dajerria and her legal guardian, Shashona Becton, filed a complaint last month claiming Casebolt “violated the girl’s constitutional rights by using excessive force and holding her without probable cause. The family also claims that the city and the police department are to blame for her injuries for not training officers adequately.”
The city of McKinney issued the following statement in response to the incident:
The City of McKinney denies the claims alleged against it and the McKinney Police Department, and as such, will vigorously defend the recently filed lawsuit,” the statement reads. “McKinney prides itself in cultivating the highest standards of training and professionalism for our officers, and it strongly believes that its standards and training will withstand legal challenge.
Casebolt resigned from the McKinney Police Department in June 2015, four days after the incident.