The McKinney, Texas, police officer who is seen aggressively shoving and pinning down a teenage girl at a pool-party disturbance caught on video was named in a 2008 lawsuit by a black motorist who accused him of racial profiling, excessive force and falsifying information, federal court records show.

David Eric Casebolt, a veteran with the McKinney Police Department, was among at least three officers involved in a traffic incident in April 2007 that allegedly escalated to a “visual body cavity search.” The confrontation culminated in the arrest and drug conviction of a motorist named Albert Earl Brown Jr., who claimed in court papers that he was set up.

According to Brown’s lawsuit, Casebolt allegedly approached his parked vehicle, made comments about his clothes and the white female passengers he was with, and pulled down Brown’s pants to conduct a forcible search while another officer, Lee Keith, grabbed his head and slammed his face into the hood of the car with “intent to cause bodily harm.”

Initial press reports about the pool-party video identified Casebolt as “Eric,” but documents show Eric is his middle name.

While incarcerated in the Collin County Detention Facility, Brown filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Casebolt and the other officers, accusing them of charging him with a “fake charge” in an effort to cover up their behavior.   

The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed after Brown conceded that his incarceration made it impossible to obtain the evidence he would need to defend himself. He also claimed to lack an understanding of the court process.

The lawsuit was filed the same year Casebolt received a “Patrolman of the Year” award.

A spokesman for the McKinney Police Department declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation into Casebolt’s behavior at the pool party.

Casebolt was placed on administrative leave after video surfaced Sunday of the chaotic disturbance at the Craig Ranch community pool involving a group of teenagers and about a dozen officers. Press reports first identified the 41-year-old Casebolt as the white officer seen shoving a bikini-clad black teenager and pulling out his gun. The incident has sparked fierce outrage from community leaders and civil rights groups who say it underscores the brutish and sometimes deadly treatment of black citizens by mostly white police departments.

The seven-minute clip, which has been viewed more than 5 million times on YouTube, is the latest in a string of viral videos involving apparently excessive or deadly police action. Civil rights activists say the videos are capturing behavior that has gone on for decades but is often not reported or covered up by insular departments. The prior traffic incident involving Officer Casebolt took place before the widespread availability of camera-enabled smartphones.

According to court papers, the traffic incident began after Casebolt and other officers approached Brown’s vehicle, which was allegedly parked on the wrong side of the road. According to Brown’s handwritten account of the incident, Casebolt asked to search the vehicle after claiming to have seen marijuana seeds in the vehicle. Brown asserted that Casebolt did not find anything after conducting a search.

Brown claimed the entire incident was caught on video and wrote that he did not trust his court-appointed attorney to ensure the video would be seen by a judge.

In response to the complaint, Casebolt and the other officers denied any wrongdoing. Casebolt asserted that marijuana seeds and an open container of beer were found inside Brown’s car, and that Officer Lee attempted to restrain Brown after Brown reached for Casebolt’s gun. Court documents show Brown was arrested for possession of “several large rocks of crack cocaine.”

Read the original legal complaint below.

   Casebolt Lawsuit


Christopher Zara is a senior writer who covers media and culture. News tips? Email me here. Follow me on Twitter @christopherzara.