Monday, June 8, 2015
McKINNEY, Texas (AP)—A suburban Dallas police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a video was posted online showing him pushing a 14-year-old girl in a swimsuit to the ground and pointing his gun at other teens.
McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said at a news conference Sunday that the incident began when officers responded Friday night to a report of a disturbance involving a group of black youths at a neighborhood pool party.
The police department said the youths don't live in the area and did not have permission to be at the pool.
When officers arrived, residents and private security pointed out the juveniles who were "creating the disturbance, fighting and refusing to leave," Conley said.
As officers dispersed the crowd, the 14-year-old girl was "temporarily detained" by an officer, said Conley, who did not describe what led to her detainment.
The video shows the apparently white officer pulling the bikini-clad black girl to the ground then seemingly using his knees to pin her to the ground. He can also be seen pointing his gun at other teens and cursing.
Conley did not identify the police officer or the girl seen in the video, or comment on the officer's race or that of the young people involved. McKinney is an affluent, predominantly white neighborhood. Most of the kids seen in the video are black.
Incidents involving white law enforcement and black suspects have raised concerns across the U.S., in particular since last August when a white police officer fatally shot a black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Mo., fueling sometimes violent protests and a nationwide "Black Lives Matter" movement.
Some witnesses told The Dallas Morning News that the police targeted black kids at the pool party in McKinney, 35 miles northeast of Dallas.
"We're not here to cause a riot or be Baltimore all over again," McKinney resident La'Shadion Anthony said. "We're just here to be treated fairly and equally."
But Benét Embry, a local radio personality who is black, said the police officer's action was not about race.
"That's what they are supposed to do: Protect us," Embry said. "I don't know any other way he could have taken her down or established order."
The police statement said the video "has raised concerns that are being investigated" by the department. The officer is on leave pending the outcome, Conley said. Conley said he did not have information about how long the officer has been with the force.
One man was arrested for interference with the duties of a peace officer and evading arrest, Conley said. Everyone else was released.
McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said in a written statement that he was "disturbed and concerned by the incident and actions depicted in the video." He called for the city and police to quickly investigate.