The host of a Texas pool party that led to the suspension of a police officer says things took a turn for the violent when a neighbor began hurling racial slurs and insults at party-goers.
A woman identified as Tatiana Rhodes, 19, said that she and some friends had organized the party and were enjoying themselves at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool on June 5 when the conflict with a white neighbor broke out.
“This lady was saying racial slurs to some friends that came to the cookout. She was saying such things as ‘black effer’ and ‘that’s why you live in Section 8 homes,'” Rhodes told E. Johnson IV, a photographer who recorded the conversation and uploaded it online.
More insults were traded. One neighbor said “go back to your Section 8 home,” Rhodes said, referring to a form of federal housing assistance for low-income people.
Then, according to Rhodes, who is black, a white neighbor “came up to me and smacked me in my face.”
“That’s when both of the women attacked me,” the teen said.
Another video posted online by someone who appears to have attended the party shows two women locked in a physical altercation before police arrived.
— Miles(K-Bandz) (@k1dmars) June 6, 2015
The McKinney Police Department said in a statement that officers were called to the neighborhood, responding to reports of a “disturbance” involving multiple juveniles who “do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave.”
One of the officers, later identified as Cpl. Eric Casebolt, was recorded pinning a teen girl to the ground and handcuffing her. At one point, Casebolt, who is white, could be seen pulling the girl’s hair and pushing her face toward the ground.
The officer also appeared to draw his gun and point it toward several teens in the area. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
“The McKinney Police Department is committed to treating all persons fairly under the law,” McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said at a news conference Sunday. “As the chief of police, I am committed to a complete and thorough investigation into this incident. We will be forthcoming in this process.”
“However, I ask that all persons be patient and respect the investigative process,” he added.
McKinney is a suburban community about 40 miles north of Dallas.
According to Rhodes, most of the kids who attended the party live in the neighborhood. LaShana Burks, Tatiana’s mother, added that the teens were classmates.
“I’m just upset that we couldn’t have a peaceful event,” Burks said. “And if there was [sic] any issues that they had they could have come to me as an adult. … Then let me handle it and not go to that extreme.”
In a Facebook post, Michael Quattrin, who lives in the Craig Ranch community, disputed that race played a factor in what happened.
According to Quattrin, a DJ had set up shop near the pool and had been playing music loudly for hours. He claimed that teens began “fighting with each other and pushing their way into our private pool.”
“Some were jumping our fence. The security guard was accosted when he tried to stop the beginnings of this mob scene. Some residents who live around the park/pool area tried to come out and settle things down,” he added. “This was a very dangerous situation for the officers AND the teens/residents not involved.”
Brandon Brooks, the 15-year-old who recorded the original YouTube video, noted that there had been a fight between a girl and another woman — a parent — he believes. But he said that the party was otherwise an end-of-the-year gathering between school children in the neighborhood and their classmates.
According to Brooks, by the time the officers showed up, the fight had already dispersed.
“I think that there were a bunch of kids having fun on the last day of school,” Brooks told CW33. “The parents said that we were like cursing at them and stuff, which, that never happened at all. They kept on giving us a hard time, I think it’s personally because there was a bunch of African Americans in that neighborhood who all came to the pool on the same day.”
“They probably thought they weren’t from there or something,” added Brooks.
[This post has been updated.]