Black teen files $5m lawsuit against white police officer who pinned her to ground at pool party

A grand jury decided not to indict the officer on criminal charges last year

Kimberley Richards
New York
Wednesday 04 January 2017 23:02
Eric Casebolt pins 15-year-old Dajerria Becton to the floor outside a pool party she had been attending with her friends
Eric Casebolt pins 15-year-old Dajerria Becton to the floor outside a pool party she had been attending with her friends

A black teenage girl is suing the white police officer who pinned her down during a Texas pool party in June 2015, after the incident was captured in a viral video.

Dajerria Becton, 16, filed the lawsuit through her legal guardian, Shashona Becton, in December. Ms Becton is suing the police officer involved, Cpl Eric Casebolt, individually and in his capacity as an officer, the McKinney Police Department, and the City of McKinney, the court documents read.

Mr Casebolt, who is white, can be seen slamming Ms Becton, a black bikini-clad teenage girl, to the ground in the seven-minute video posted to Youtube. The officer can then be seen pulling out his gun as two black teenage boys rushed to her side.

Ms Becton seeks $5m in damages, according to a local NBC affiliate.

The high-profile incident sparked a nationwide debate on the officer’s response, and helped fuel ongoing distrust between police officers and the black community as it concerns racial disparities in police brutality and excessive police force.

The lawsuit states Ms Becton is suing for “Officer Eric Casebolt’s individual use of excessive force, assault, unlawful detention resulting in the injuries to minor child, D.B. under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution...”

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For their part, city officials pushed back against claims made in the lawsuit.

“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,” a representative for The City of McKinney told The Independent. “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.”

After the video depicting Mr Casebolt’s aggressive treatment of Ms Becton made its rounds, McKinney Chief Greg Conley responded to the video saying during a press conference that Mr Casebolt” “... came into the call out of control, and as the video shows, was out of control during the incident.” Mr Casebolt resigned from the department that month.

Mr Casebolt and other McKinney officers were responding to reports of a disturbance at the private pool party. Ms Becton claimed in her complaint that she had been invited to the pool party, Dallas News reported.

In June of last year, Grand Jury decided to not indict Mr Casebolt.