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Texas officer went overboard

Scuffle with teens should not have happened

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

McKinney, Texas, police were in a no-win situation Friday before they ever arrived at a private pool party that became a very public matter.

Called over a scuffle at a homeowners association’s private pool, police were expected to accomplish a miracle after association managers failed.

For starters, police were asked to restore peace between resident adults and teens over one resident teen’s commercially promoted party, even though it had been advertised for days and managers had ample opportunity to act sooner.

Then, police were expected to do this three hours into the party, with emotions already high and more teens showing up, and the pool’s private security feeling overwhelmed.

On top of all that, there is the matter of one McKinney police corporal who unholstered his service weapon during the ensuing melee, and who is seen in a guest’s video strong-arming and pinning down a 15-year-old girl in a bikini.

Most McKinney officers showed thoughtful restraint in trying to settle the crowd and sort out the scene, and McKinney residents should be proud of these officers’ measured response.

But in a situation that called for maturity and calm, Cpl. Eric Casebolt showed anything but.

With the party drawing a substantial crowd of African-American teenagers, a white officer drawing his gun evoked images and fears that do not fit with teenagers or private pool parties.

If racist or elitist comments by adults provoked the first scuffle or disturbance, as some witnesses have described, that only further shows how the conflict would have been better resolved by the Craig Ranch Community Association before the event, not with an expensive and risky use of city police power and resources.

McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller has said that he expects police and all city employees to “act professionally and with appropriate restraint.”

Most city officers did. Casebolt has resigned. There’s hope for resolution as McKinney goes forward.

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