An African-American teenage girl who was slammed to the ground by a white McKinney, Texas police officer during a pool party in 2015 has filed a federal lawsuit against the former officer, the city and the police department. The young woman is seeking $5 million in damages for mental anguish, loss of quality of life and attorney’s fees, plus interest.
According to the Dallas News, in a complaint filed last month, Dajerria Becton and her legal guardian, Shashona Becton, allege that former Cpl. Eric Casebolt violated the girl’s constitutional rights by using excessive force and holding her without probable cause. They are also suing the city and the police department for not training their officers properly.
In a recent statement, the city pushed back against Becton’s allegations.
“The City of McKinney denies the claims alleged against it and the McKinney Police Department, and as such, will vigorously defend the recently filed lawsuit,” the statement reads.
“McKinney prides itself in cultivating the highest standards of training and professionalism for our officers, and it strongly believes that its standards and training will withstand legal challenge.”
As Hello Beautiful previously reported, Casebolt was placed on administrative leave and resigned after a disturbing video surfaced that showed him grabbing the Black teenager’s braids and pinning her to the ground while she lay in only a bathing suit. Teenagers and a handful of adults who were at the pool during the time of the incident say Casebolt targeted Black youth, skipping over the White teenagers who attended the pool party. It was also reported that police were called to the party Friday after adults complained that Black teenagers who didn’t live in the neighborhood were visiting the pool.
“The entire time D.B. she could do nothing [but] cry out in pain and repeatedly beg for her ‘Momma’ as she endured the pain inflicted upon her by Defendant Casebolt’s physical assault,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit also states that the teen suffered physical injuries and psychological distress as a result from the assault.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Kim T. Cole, Becton’s attorney, said the entire incident has changed the way her client views law enforcement.
“We raise our children to think that good will always prevail and that people are good and if you’re ever in trouble, call the police, they will help you,” Cole said. “And in this instance, she received a very rude awakening.”
She added: “There’s absolutely no amount on the planet that will adequately compensate her for the effect that this has had on her. It has completely changed her demeanor; it has changed her personality. It’s horrific.”