The McKinney, Texas, officer captured on video tackling a 15-year-old bikini-clad girl and drawing his gun on teenagers regrets his actions and apologizes to "all who were offended," his lawyer said Wednesday.
The officer, Eric Casebolt, resigned Tuesday evening and may face possible criminal charges. The video, which quickly went viral, showed Casebolt responding to a 911 call about a disturbance at a pool party attended primarily by African-American teens. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
“He regrets that his actions depict him and his department in a negative light. He apologizes to all who were offended,” Jane Biskin, Casebolt’s attorney, provided through the McKinney Fraternal Order of Police, told reporters at a news conference. “That day was not representative of his 10 years of service to McKinney and its police officers.”
Biskin said Casebolt would likely address the matter in person at some point but remains in seclusion for now as the investigation of the incident continues.
Casebolt was under emotional stress before he arrived on the scene, Bishkin said.
Earlier in the day, he had responded to two suicide calls, and, in the first incident, an African-American male had shot himself in front of his family, the attorney said. She said Casebolt had photographed the scene and “spent a considerable amount of time consoling the grieving widow.”
Casebolt later responded to another suicide attempt in which a teenage girl was threatening to jump from a roof, Bishkin said. He reportedly helped calm the girl and got her help.
“Eric’s compassion during these two incidents is a testament to his character and the character of all the officers of the McKinney police department,” Bishkin said.
When the call came into the department about the the alleged disturbance at the pool party, Casebolt was initially reluctant to respond and only did so after the call escalated, his attorney said.
“With all that happened that day, he allowed his emotions to get the better of him,” Bishkin added.
On Wednesday afternoon, Hannah Stroud, the attorney representing the teenage girl who Casebolt forcefully pushed to the ground, responded to the officer's apology and the description of his mindset. "Each of us operate under stress, and obviously officer Casebolt was operating under stress that day, but … [his] actions were in no way appropriate," she said.
Since the incident, Casebolt and the McKinney police department have been receiving death threats via phone and email, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge President Daniel Malenfant told reporters.
"Now is not the time for aggression or anger," Stroud said Wednesday. "Neither I nor my client nor any reasonable person would want to condone anger or aggression toward any particular group." She continued, "In the same way we wouldn’t condone assault against a 15-year-old, neither would we condone assault against a police officer." Stroud added that she and her client have not ruled out possible future legal actions.
“Eric made his choice with the hopes of unburdening the police department and the people of McKinney,” Malenfant explained. “He hopes that his resignation will restore the peace in McKinney that was disturbed by this incident.”