RESIGNATION: Officer Eric Casebolt
THE POLICE officer who pulled his gun on defenceless teenagers at a pool party in America has blamed his actions on ‘emotional stress’.
Eric Casebolt, who has resigned following the incident in the wealthy Dallas suburb of McKinney, said he “never intended to mistreat anyone”.
Video footage, which showed officer Casebolt pinning a 14-year-old black girl to the ground and pointing his gun at other teenagers at a community pool in the upper-middle-class neighbourhood, caused worldwide outrage and sparked calls for him to be sacked.
A statement, released through his lawyer Jane Bishkin at a news conference yesterday (June 10), read: “He apologises to all who were offended.”
Bishkin insisted her client’s actions were not racially motivated and blamed his behaviour on “emotional stress”.
She said Casebolt, who was not present at the news conference, had been called to two suicide cases prior to arriving at the pool party.
“The nature of these two suicide calls took an emotional toll on Eric Casebolt,” Bishkin added.
The alleged suicide incident involved an African-American father who had shot and killed himself in the presence of family members.
Bishkin claims her client remained at the scene to console family members and his actions were a testament to her clients indiscriminate attitude.
In the second incident, she says the officer successfully helped talk a suicidal teenage girl down from her parents’ roof.
“Eric’s compassion during these two incidents are a testament to his character,” she added. “While police work is often dangerous, it is fraught with emotions and family tragedy.”
In the filmed incident, which showed Casebolt manhandling black teenagers, namely a bikini clad 14-year-old who he handcuffed and knelt on, she claims he was acting within the law.
She said: “He believed that those who fled were possible suspects. He was not targeting minorities. In fact, he also detained a white female.”
Casebolt resigned on Tuesday (June 9) and has expressed fears for his family after receiving numerous threats.
“He's worried for his family,” Bishkin said. “He's worried that he may be followed.”
The event has fed into the larger protests on police brutality against black lives across the country where more people have been killed by police officers in the last 24 days than in the UK in 24 years.