DALLAS — A former McKinney police officer’s legal woes continue, two years after he made national headlines for pinning a 15-year-old black girl to the ground while breaking up a chaotic pool party.
Six other black teens filed two federal lawsuits against the city of McKinney and Eric Casebolt on the second anniversary of the pool party last month. The teens say Casebolt, who is white, used excessive force “particularly against black people” and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
One of the suits also has entangled Kenneth “Skip” Davis, president of the Craig Ranch homeowners association at the time of the party on June 5, 2015.
Casebolt’s attorney did not respond to an email seeking comment. Davis couldn’t be reached for an interview.
The lawsuits echo a complaint filed last December by Dajerria Becton, the girl Casebolt slammed to the ground in a viral video. She also alleges that Casebolt used excessive force and that he held her without probable cause. That case is making its way through court.
All of the teens are represented by attorney Kim T. Cole.
One of the new suits involves two sisters, named J.K.B. and D.A.B. in the complaint, and a third girl, L.M.M. Attorneys and relatives identified the girls as Jahda Bakari, Dajah Bakari and Ladariene McKever at a 2015 news conference.
Video taken at the party shows that after Casebolt threw Dajerria to the ground, two girls rushed to her. Their attorney said Casebolt hit Jahda in the face “in his rage.”
Davis, the HOA president, pushed Jahda and Ladariene and held Dajerria between his legs, according to the suit. The girls have accused him of assault and battery.
Jahda’s sister, Dajah, could do nothing but “watch in horror,” the lawsuit states.
“Defendant Casebolt’s conduct was extreme and outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, as to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society,” Cole wrote in the suit on behalf of the girls.
Casebolt resigned from the McKinney Police Department a few days after the party as Chief Greg Conley called his actions “indefensible.” A Collin County grand jury last year declined to pursue criminal charges against him.
The second new lawsuit involves three male teens who were also at the pool party: Zach Twa, Andrew Kimani and a minor identified as T.S.T.
The teens are getting legal assistance from Florida civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. He represented the family of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old who was shot to death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman five years ago.
Twa was peacefully speaking to a police officer when Casebolt showed up, grabbed him by the head and forced him to the ground, according to the suit.
The moment is captured early in the video that also shows the encounter with Dajerria.
“Get your (expletive) down on the ground,” Casebolt says after pulling down a black teenage boy by the arm.
T.S.T. sat on the ground, in fear of being physically assaulted by Casebolt, and was prevented from leaving the scene, according to the suit.
Kimani is one of two black teens who rushed to Dajerria during the confrontation with Casebolt. The officer is seen on video drawing his gun on the teens.
“In fear of imminently being shot, both kids took off running,” the suit says.
Casebolt said in a court document filed in response to Dajerria’s suit that he was responding to several calls about a disturbance and fighting at the private pool in the Craig Ranch neighborhood. He said that he saw nearly 100 young people at the pool or the surrounding park and that some teens or young adults disobeyed his instructions to leave and flipped him off.
In an attempt to find out what had happened, Casebolt said, he ordered some of the people who had been running or moving back toward the entrance of the pool to get on the ground. He told a court that he learned from dispatchers that a young black female wearing an orange bikini top was involved in fighting or instigating a disturbance, and he thought Dajerria’s bikini top was consistent with the description.
Another black teen and the host of the party, Tatyana Rhodes, had been involved in a fight with an older black woman.
Casebolt described a confusing scene in which he was trying to deal with two males he had handcuffed while a group of girls spoke to him. He said in the court document that he repeatedly ordered the girls, including Dajerria, to leave while he tried to focus on the handcuffed teens, but Dajerria reappeared and seemed to be walking back instead of leaving, according to the former officer’s account.
“At that time, I thought she had interfered with performance of my duties as a public servant,” he said.
Casebolt told a court that he pushed Dajerria to the ground as she resisted his attempt to grab her by the arm and walk her back to a sidewalk. He said he drew his gun on a male who had approached him because he thought the male was going to attack him.
In the video, Dajerria is seen crying and calling for her mother.
Later, she was handcuffed by another officer, taken to a stone wall and allowed to sit in a “more comfortable position,” Casebolt said. The girl was eventually released to a relative.
No charges were filed against her.
Both girls and boys accuse the city of McKinney of failing to provide proper police training and of retaining Casebolt despite his disciplinary record before the party.
McKinney officials declined to comment, noting that the city had not been served with the new lawsuits. The city is defending itself against Dajerria’s claims in court.
The new suits don’t specify what amount the teens are seeking in damages.