At least 800 protesters took to the streets of McKinney, Texas, to express outrage over a police bust of a pool party that many saw as overly aggressive.
One police officer was placed on suspension, and protesters were demanding he be fired, NPR reported.
Some protesters carried signs that read, “Stop Police Brutality,” and “Those Kids Were My Kids,” along with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.
The incident, as previously reported by WND, began at a community pool when a group of teens showed up for a birthday and graduation” party. Area residents complained the music was too loud and the teens were getting out of control, and police were called to intervene.
One of the officers, Cpl. Eric Casebolt, was captured on video throwing a 15-year-old black teen girl to the ground and pressing down on her body to subdue her. He reached for his sidearm at one point, while another officer actually pulled his gun on another teen.
“He was just aggressive for no reason at all,” said one of the pool-party organizers, Tatyana Rhodes, to USA Today. “It was horrible.”
Some claimed the incident was fueled by racism, but at least one witness told Fox News some of the teens who were apprehended by police were white.
Another witness, Benet Embrey, told KETK the incident was definitely not related to racism.
He said, MyEastTex.com reported: “First off, I have lived in [this] community for eight years … and what I witnessed was a teenage party get way out of control. That’s what this whole situation is about. … There were over 100 kids at the pool. Security began telling people they couldn’t come in and that they had to leave. That’s when people started jumping over fences to get into the pool area. In the process of them doing this, words were exchanged and a fight broke out.”
He went on, to the radio station: “People are saying neighbors called police because there were too many black kids in the neighborhood. That’s not the case at all. Police rolled up to the scene and that’s when kids, who knew they weren’t supposed to be there, began running. Police then told them to sit down until things got straightened out.”
Embrey also said he witnessed the particular incident on the video that sparked some of the most ardent protests – that of the 15-year-old black girl being slammed to the ground by police. And, he said, the video doesn’t tell the whole story.
“The officer told her to leave and go home five or six times, but she kept running her mouth,” he said. “I hate that it came down to what police had to do, but it did. When [the officer] grabs her, she jerks away. To me and to police, I believe that means resisting. If I did that, or anyone else did that, they’d get taken down, too.”
He insisted the police response to the pool party was not rooted in racism.
“Now, my Facebook’s being blown up and I’m being called an ‘Uncle Tom’ and a ‘House [racial epithet], but that’s okay, that’s fine,” Embrey said, MyEastTex.com reported. “I keep my fist in the air constantly, but every incident is not a cause to march, especially since this has nothing to do with race.”
Regardless, the YouTube video of the scene has since gone viral, and police are investigating.
“Having seen the YouTube video I am disturbed and concerned by the incident and actions depicted in the video,” said Mayor Brian Loughmiller, in a written statement. “Our expectation as a City Council is that our police department and other departments will act professionally and with appropriate restraint relative to the situation they are faced with.”