Updated as of 3:00 p.m. EDT: An attorney for Cpl. Eric Casebolt said Wednesday that the former McKinney police officer had responded to two suicide calls, including one at a pool, prior to the pool party incident that was caught on video, according to WPTZ in Texas. Casebolt, who resigned Tuesday from the McKinney Police Department, has left his home due to fears of death threats, his lawyer said. "The video that everyone has seen only depicts a small part of Eric's actions that day," attorney Jane Bishkin said, adding that the calls had taken "an emotional toll" on the officer.
Original story: A group of activists and civic leaders on Wednesday demanded an independent investigation and an overhaul of police training and rules after last Friday's incident at a pool party in McKinney, Texas, where most of those in attendance were African-American teenagers. The episode of alleged police brutality was captured on video and has since gone viral and spurred national outrage about the police's conduct.
Pamela J. Meanes, president of the National Bar Association, an organization of black attorneys and judges, called for a national felony police law that would hold officers to a higher standard for watching and letting other officers violate police guidelines. She joined representatives from the Next Generation Action Network, the Nation of Islam, the Dallas Criminal Bar Association and Dallas Criminal Defense Attorneys Association outside the McKinney Police Department to list a set of demands for local government and law enforcement in order to improve the policing of minority communities.
Means calls on McKinney city council to pass new requirements for de-escalation of force training pic.twitter.com/YuYLA5wVgf
— Gabriel Roxas (@cbs11gabriel) June 10, 2015
Stressing that her message was not anti-police, Meanes thanked those officers who have spoken out against police brutality before she called for stricter mental health testing of officers and mandatory “training dealing with race relations and tolerance.” But she also indicated that she thought race played a prominent role and questioned why in instances of violence that involve non-blacks -- such as James Holmes' deadly shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater -- police simply arrest suspects, compared to resorting to physical force with black suspects.
"I want those officers to police my community," she said, not those like Cpl. Eric Casebolt, the main police officer shown in the McKinney video.
Meanes also suggested that without the video of the pool party incident, the outcome might have been different, noting that Casebolt's gut reaction was to resort to his firearm instead of more suitable tactics for a group of swimwear-clad teens. "Shouldn’t the training address some of that?” Means asked as voices of approval could be heard off the camera. “I have four affiliate bar associations in Texas; they are willing to come here and do all they can to assist.”
The press conference came one day after Casebolt resigned from the McKinney Police Department amid calls for him to be fired and charged with assault for his actions, which include slamming a teenage girl to the ground outside of the Craig Ranch North Community Pool, allegedly grabbing her by her braids and drawing his gun.
Dominique Alexander, president of the Next Generation Action Network, told a local NBC News affiliate that he met with McKinney Police Chief Gary Conley Monday and demanded that Casebolt be fired instead of allowing him to resign, which lets Casebolt keep his benefits.