Verrrry unusual that the local chief would be so quick to turn on one of his own guys, but then it’s also unusual that the officer, Eric Casebolt, resigned so quickly. The pool party happened Friday; the video went viral over the weekend; by Tuesday night, he was gone. He had plenty of defenders, including prominent voices in conservative media. Plus, whatever you think of the excessive-force claims, the fact remains that no one was killed or even injured. By the standards of flashpoints between white cops and black citizens over the past year — Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray — this was small potatoes. And yet Casebolt lasted less than a week.
Evidence that police forces have become more sensitive to excessive force, at least when it’s captured on video viewed by 10 million people? Or is something else at work? Hmmm:
Saying he feared for his safety, Corporal Eric Casebolt gave a statement to investigators and left town after being placed on administrative leave, when cell phone video of him violently restraining a 14-year-old girl, and drawing his weapon on unarmed teens at a pool party went viral.
Casebolt reportedly submitted his resignation through his attorney. As for the internal investigation it has been closed since he is no longer an employee
Since Casebolt is stepping down it will be difficult for the City of McKinney to discipline him. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) will only enter “marks” in Casebolt’s file if he is disciplined or fired from a department, meaning he can still work as a commissioned police officer.
Between the risk of vigilantism and the fact that the PD didn’t feel inclined to defend him, maybe he figured that resignation was a fait accompli eventually. In which case, why not do it now and avoid any sanctions? The quicker the city’s PR headache goes away, the less inclined they may be to risk a recurrence by charging him with a crime for what happened at the pool. Remember, this is a city selling itself as, quite literally, the best place in America to live. A racially inflammatory confrontation between cops and locals is the last thing they want to be in the headlines for.
Meanwhile, from the city’s perspective, the longer Casebolt lingers, the greater the chance that they’ll get the Ferguson/Baltimore treatment from the DOJ:
“We still need a serious investigation into the charges that need to be brought against him in this matter,” [activist Dominique] Alexander said, adding that Casebolt should be drug tested.
The NAACP is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to review the procedures of the McKinney police force, stopping short of asking for a formal investigation. A review of department policies is needed to ensure officers are responding appropriately to calls involving minorities, the local NAACP chapter said.
Casebolt had been accused of excessive force in a 2007 arrest as part of a federal lawsuit that named him along with other officers.
Publicly criticizing Casebolt and pushing him out is probably McKinney PD’s way of trying to mollify the Justice Department before a formal investigation begins and produces a consent decree, keeping local cops under the DOJ’s thumb for the foreseeable future.
So Casebolt is out, McKinney gets back to normalcy, and activists … do what, exactly? Is this enough to satisfy them or is it prosecution or bust after Marilyn Mosby’s example in Baltmore? While you mull that, here’s the chief of police followed, via the Right Scoop, by Mark Levin laying into him. Exit question: When will Casebolt do his first interview? And with whom?