The lawyer of resigned McKinney Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt said the former Dallas-area police officer had been emotionally strung from two cases that he had responded to earlier in the day he was caught on video aggressively handling teenagers at a pool party. The cases involved suicide. Casebolt had actually didn’t want to respond to the pool party incident. But he eventually went when he heard a violent assault had occurred.
Lawyer Jane Bishkin told a news conference Casebolt had no intention of mistreating anyone. But the police officer did acknowledge that his emotions got into the better of him and clouded his judgement and decisions on how to handle the pool party incident.
Earlier in the day, the Texas police officer had answered back-to-back suicide calls. The first call involved a man who shot himself dead in front of his wife and children. He consoled the wife as police secured the body. The second was to a home of a teenager threatening to jump from the roof of her parents’ home. He worked his way to calm the teen, averting the suicide.
Both incidents apparently took an “emotional toll” on Casebolt. “Eric’s compassion during these two incidents are a testament to his character,” Bishkin said. “The nature of these two suicide calls took an emotional toll on Eric Casebolt.”
Seemingly remorseful of his actions, Casebolt resigned on Tuesday and offered his apologies to all he has offended on Friday at a community pool in the Dallas suburb of McKinney.
The family of Dajerria Becton, the 15-year-old girl whom Casebolt subdued, appreciated his apology. But they didn’t say they will no longer press charges. Their lawyer, Hannah Stroud, also thinks stress is not an adequate defense on how he handled the teen.
“There are appropriate ways to handle stress, and Officer Casebolt’s actions were in no way appropriate,” Stroud said. She added the very aggressive behavior had impacted her client, who now has a hard time sleeping and eating.
Casebolt had been alleged to be primarily attacking minorities in the video that’s been seen over 11 million times. Bishkin denied it. “He was not targeting minorities.” Case in point was the white girl Casebolt also detained. She wasn’t seen on the seven-minute video of the encounter.
What probably triggered off Casebolt was when the teens at the police didn’t comply with police orders. “He believes those who fled were possible suspects,” Bishkin said.
Heath Harris, a former Dallas County prosecutor, told AP Casebolt could be accused of a misdemeanor count of official oppression. This is equivalent to mistreatment or unlawful detention of people by a public servant.