The teenager whose video of a McKinney, Texas police officer detaining and roughly handling Black youth at a pool party went viral last week is speaking out about the disturbing ordeal and the abuse he witnessed.
Brandon Brooks, the 15-year-old White teenager responsible for bringing the officers’ controversial tactics to light, told NewsFix that he noticed Cpl. Eric Casebolt targeted Black teenagers, forcing them to the ground. Casebolt, he said, seemed to skip right over him.
At one point, Casebolt grabbed a young African-American teenage girl, swinging her by the arms, pulling her braids, and pushing his knees into her back. When two other teens came to her aid, Casebolt immediately drew his firearm, confronting the boys before two officers flanked his side. It is unknown if those officers told Casebolt to stand down.
“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,” Brooks told NewsFix.
“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,” Brooks said of the girl in the video, now identified as Dajerria Becton.
Brooks, who said more cops were called to the scene although the initial altercation was “between a mom and a girl” and didn’t involve the students at the pool party, described the terrifying moment Casebolt pulled his gun on two unarmed teenagers:
“When he 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.”
The teenager, who also said Casebolt became more irrational and angry after tripping while running after a group of teenagers, backed up claims that the incident was racially-tinged — both on law enforcement and McKinney residents’ parts.
“I think it’s horrible,” Brooks said. “They’re going to discriminate against them just because they’re black? What if that was your kid getting slung to the ground? Would you still be talk about them in the way that you are if that was your kid,” he said of members of the community agreeing with Casebolt’s use of force against Black youth.
“The parents said that we were cursing at them and stuff, which that didn’t happen at all,” Brooks said. “They were giving us a hard time. I think personally it’s because there are bunch of African-Americans in the neighborhood — all who came to the pool on the same day. They probably thought they weren’t from there or something.”
Brooks, along with other teenagers at the party, weren’t the only ones who pointed to an element of racial bias. According to the Huffington Post, Lashauna Burks, an adult supervising the party, said that White adults yelled racial slurs and profanity at the teenagers before police arrived.
“This lady was saying racial slurs to some friends that came to the cookout. She was saying things such as, ‘You black f****r,’ and, ‘That’s why you live in Section 8 homes,’” Burke’s daughter, Tatiana Rhodes, told HuffPost.
Casebolt was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
For more on Casebolt’s 10-year past in law enforcement, read here.