Former McKinney, Tex., police officer Eric Casebolt should have second thoughts about having had his attorney Jane Bishkin give his side of events. Her recitation of events was jarring in our split-screen news culture. The sympathy she urged for her client was impossible to muster as video of Casebolt wrestling a bikini-clad, 15-year-old African American girl to the ground last Friday played on a loop as Bishkin spoke.
Before Casebolt barrel rolled his way into the ongoing national conversation on race, he responded to two suicide calls. One was fatal. The other was not. Bishkin talked about the toll the stress of those calls took on her client. “With all that happened that day,” Bishkin said, “he allowed his emotions to get the better of him.” So much for training. So much for professionalism. His actions that day stand out even more because no one else has complained about the other cops on the scene. No one.
But what made my head explode was what Bishkin said next. “[Casebolt] never intended to mistreat anyone, but was only reacting to a situation and the challenges it presented,” she said. “He apologizes to all he offended.”
Let’s be clear. Casebolt offended the nation. Even his own police chief called his actions “indefensible.” And he didn’t just “mistreat anyone.” He mistreated Dajerria Becton, who was walking away when he seized her, tossed her around and pinned her to the ground with his knee in her back. That Casebolt could not bring himself to say her name, to publicly apologize to her and her family — by name — shows how useless an exercise Bishkin’s statement was.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj