Several hundred protestors took to the streets of McKinney, Texas on Monday night to condemn local police for using force against teenagers at a pool party on Friday. The officers shoved one girl to the ground and drew firearms on others. Protestors alleged the officers used force against the teens because they were African-American.
Approximately 800 protestors met at 6:30pm at Comstock Elementary School in McKinney, and marched to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool where Police confronted a group of teenagers on Friday.
Video circulated widely online of the Friday incident, which showed police confronting local teens. A police officer identified as David Eric Casebolt is shown forcefully restraining a 15-year-old girl, Dajerria Becton.
Casebolt, who also drew his weapon on other teenagers who were nearby as he handled Becton, was placed on leave on Sunday.
"Our initial reaction was to place the officer on administrative leave until we can conduct a complete and thorough investigation of the incident," said McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley, who confirmed an investigation was underway into the incident.
In a statement, McKinney police said that officers had arrived on the scene after calls alleging young people "who do not live in the area" were refusing to leave the community poll and did not have permission to be there. They subsequently were contacted with reports that teenagers were fighting.
The 15-year-old boy who shot the video of the police restraining Becton and the officer drawing his gun said the reports of a fight were inaccurate.
"The cops showed up and the parents immediately started yelling, 'you need more cops, there's too many of them.' And most of the kids weren't even involved. It was a fight between a mom and girl, which had nothing to do with all the other kids that she apparently needed more cops for," he told a local television news affiliate.
He said he believed the police response was racially motivated.
"I was one of the only white people in the area when that was happening. You can see in part of the video where he tells us to sit down, and he kinda like skips over me and tells all my African-American friends to go sit down."
A Reverend, Ronald Wright of Justice Seekers Texas, was one of many community leaders who said he thought race was a factor in the case.
""The officer never asked any questions. He jumped out of the car and immediately started running to the black kids. And we, to this day, would like to know why," he said on Monday.
Meanwhile, several local residents have defended the police, insisting there was a disturbance at the pool. Benet Embry, a local radio host who is himself black posted a message on facebook that has widely shared and has done several media interviews defending police.
His initial post read: "Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok! MediaTakeout.com posts a story showing only 7 minutes of a 30 minute ordeal, makes it racial and all the activist come a running. Look, I LIVE in this community and this ENTIRE incident is NOT racial at all. A few THUGS spoiled a COMMUNITY event by fighting."
The mayor of McKinney, Brian Loughmiller, has expressed concern with the video, however.
"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," he said in a statement.
Follow Scott Mitchell on Twitter: @s_mitchell
Watch VICE News' coverage of the Ferguson protests:
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