A Texas police officer who pulled his gun on teenagers at a pool party and wrestled a bikini-clad girl to the ground was questioned by internal police investigators on Monday after he was put on paid leave.
A senior police official identified him to NBC News as Eric Casebolt, a veteran of about 10 years in the city of McKinney, a Dallas suburb.
Police Chief Greg Conley promised a full investigation, and the president of the NAACP, William Brooks, said he was troubled by “the excessive force on an unarmed 14-year-old girl clad only in a bikini by an officer wearing a uniform and a gun.”
Police were called to a disturbance on Friday night at a pool in McKinney. Police said several calls reported that teens were fighting, and Conley said officers encouraged a large crowd that refused to comply with police commands.
Twelve officers responded in all, the police chief said. Video of the encounter appears to show an officer wrestling the girl in the bikini to the ground and using his knees to pin her. The officer is also shown pointing his gun at the teens and cursing.
Brandon Brooks, who shot the video, told NBC News by email that the officer “was chasing after all those kids just putting every black person he saw on the ground.” The video did not capture the moments before the encounter.
Community members, religious leaders and activists voiced their concerns on Monday outside McKinney police headquarters.
Jahi Adisa Bakari, a father whose 13-year-old daughter was involved in the altercation, said he was “disappointed” with how McKinney police handled it.
“Send the proper people out there. I don’t like grown men touching my daughters,” he said. “This man was out of control.”
Many said they wanted the officer fired and charged. “We’re going to ask for justice to be done,” said Ron White, the executive director of a group called Justice Seekers Texas. “This simply could have been handled different.”
David Lee, an author who lives in McKinney, said the officer’s actions were “unlike anything I have ever seen demonstrated by anyone that occupies that level of authority.”
“This is appalling,” he added.
Casebolt, the officer, has five days to respond to the administrative action against him, and the police chief has three days after that to respond himself.
NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported that McKinney police were making plans for a community protest on Monday night. Protesters plan to gather at an elementary school and walk to the pool.
The mayor on Monday said city leaders “take this matter very seriously.”
McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller made the comments to about 40 people who gathered for a previously scheduled city council meeting.
Loughmiller said, “We really need to come together as a community.”