DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – An attorney, representing the former McKinney police officer at the center of what some are calling a racially charged incident at a pool party, said her client has been forced to leave his North Texas home and has and is still receiving death threats.
Jane Bushkin is the Fraternal Order of Police lawyer representing former Corporal Eric Casebolt. Saying that her client couldn’t be there, she began reading a statement.
“Eric Caseblolt tendered his resignation as a police with the City of McKinney effective yesterday. He did so with a heavy heart, knowing that his resignation was not only in his best interest, but also that of his fellow police officers and the City of McKinney, Texas,” she said. “It is his hope that his resignation will facilitate the cooperative relationship between the citizens and the police officers of the City of McKinney.”
Bushkin said Casebolt would like to address the media a some point in the near future, but did not elaborate on when or where that would happen.
The lawyer stressed that sometimes it isn’t always about what you see. “I’m here today as his legal representative to give you Eric Casebolt’s perspective. The video that everyone has seen only depicts a small part of Eric’s actions that day, at the Craig Ranch neighborhood in McKinney, Texas.”
Bushkin went on to detail how Casebolt had spent the beginning of his shift on two, separate, suicide calls. The first, she said, involved, “….an African American male had shot himself in the head at a poolside. The male had done so in the presence of his family, his children, other parents and children.”
The lawyer said Casebolt not only worked the scene in an official capacity, but also spent “a considerable amount of time” consoling the widow. From there, Bushkin said Casebolt went to second suicide call, involving a teenager threatening to jump off her parent’s roof. Bushkin said, “Eric assisted by calming the girl enough so that she could be transported safely to the hospital.”
Bushkin went on to detail how it was emotional stress and frustration, not racism, that led to her client’s actions. She said, “When the Craig Ranch neighborhood incident came over the radio Eric Casebolt was reluctant to respond to a simple trespassing call, given what he had just been through. He was content to let thither officers handle this call. However, once the call was escalated and responded to possible violent assault, he felt and believed it was his duty to respond.”
It was then Bushkin expressed how sorry former Corporal Casebolt was. “With all that had happened that day he allowed his emotions to get the better of him. Eric regrets that his conduct portrayed him and his department in a negative light. He never intended to mistreat anyone, but was only reacting to a situation and the challenges that it presented. He apologizes to all who were offended.”
Casebolt, a 10-year McKinney PD veteran, resigned Tuesday after being placed on paid administrative leave Sunday. Bushkin said it is her understanding that he will keep his police pension and benefits.
Daniel Malenfant, the president of the McKinney Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 107, said it was difficult for Casebolt to make the decision to resign. But he said, “Eric made this choice with the hopes of unburdening the McKinney Police Department and the entire community of McKinney from any further negative publicity.”
Malenfant said the incident has placed pressure on the police department and city administrators and understanding those facts Eric, “… hopes that his resignation will restore the peace in McKinney that was disturbed by this incident.”
Malenfant also detailed the potentially dangerous situation facing Casebolt and his family. He said, “The McKinney FOP and Eric are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support that he has received from the McKinney community, as well as from citizens from across the country. Unfortunately, this positive show of support has and will always be overshadowed by hatred and those set on creating racial tensions in America. This includes the countless death threat calls and emails being received that are not being conveyed to the public.”
Malenfant said the death threats are being received, at the police department, on a daily basis. When asked why her client wasn’t at the press conference Bushkin said, “Honestly, the death threats. He’s worried for his family. He’s worried he may be followed. And until that threat subsides he’s gonna be in an undisclosed location.”
Casebolt’s future is certainly in question. While his resignation means there will be no “marks” on his Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) file, there are other ways he could lose his commission and not be allowed to work as a police officer again.
Bushkin said, “He’s sad that it’s his lifelong dream to be a police officer, and that’s pretty much cut off to him now. So, he really doesn’t have any plans for the future, specifically yet. He’s still waiting for the process, for the investigations to be done. As Chief Conley said, he’s facing possible criminal charges, so he has to prepare for that.”
Casebolt’s actions are under investigation and no decision has been made whether charges will be filed against him. But when announcing Casebolt’s resignation on Tuesday, Chief Greg Conley said the officer’s actions were “indefensible.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the seven-minute cell phone video of the incident, posted on YouTube, had been viewed nearly 11,000,000 times. Click here to view the video.
WARNING: The video contains graphic footage and explicit language that may be disturbing to some viewers.
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