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No Charges for Ex-Cop Who Threw Teen to Ground

Then-officer Eric Casebolt was seen on cellphone video slamming a girl to the ground while responding to reports that teens were acting unruly

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    A Collin County grand jury Thursday decided not to indict Eric Casebolt, a former McKinney police officer seen in video pushing a bikini-clad 15-year-old girl to the ground last year. (Published Thursday, June 23, 2016)

    A former McKinney police officer who resigned after video showed him forcing a bikini-clad 15-year-old girl to the ground in the North Texas city last year will not be charged in the matter.

    A Collin County grand jury Thursday decided not to indict Eric Casebolt, who pushed the girl to the ground following a party last June at a community pool that drew a crowd of teenagers.

    Officers had responded to the Craig Ranch Pool after neighbors complained about the gathering.

    Some teens and parents had criticized Casebolt for an overzealous and aggressive response

    Cellphone videos taken by people at the pool showed Casebolt, who is white, running after black teens and ordering them to the ground, then forcing the teen girl, Dajerria Becton, onto her stomach and placing his knees on her back. At one point, he drew his firearm after two young black men charged forward in apparent protest of the girl's treatment but holstered the weapon when two other officers intervened.

    Police said officers were responding to reports that teens unauthorized to use the pool were jumping a fence to gain entry. Residents of the middle-class neighborhood had said teens attending an end-of-school party at the pool and adjacent park were acting unruly.

    Local and national civil rights groups days later held a protest in front of the McKinney Police Department, asking that prosecutors charge the former police corporal for his actions. Police Chief Greg Conley had called his actions "indefensible," and Casebolt subsequently resigned.

    It was not clear just what charge against Casebolt the jury was considering. He was never arrested or charged.

    McKinney police released a statement announcing the grand jury's decision, saying the department's mission is to make the city a safe place for everyone. The police department plans to host a community forum on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Settler's Recreation Center to discuss strengthening police and community relationships.

    Officials said in the statement that the investigation into the police response was turned over to the Texas Rangers, who then forwarded their report to the Collin County district attorney's office for review by the jury.

    Casebolt's attorney, Tom Mills, told NBC 5's news partners at The Dallas Morning News on Thursday, "We're glad that the system worked in his favor in this case."

    Another lawyer for Casebolt, Jane Bishkin, said in the days after the pool party that Casebolt was not targeting minorities when he wrestled Becton to the ground. She said Casebolt at the time was fraught with emotion after responding earlier to two suicide calls.

    Becton's attorney Kim Cole said in a press conference Thursday she intends to file a civil and personal injury lawsuit against Casebolt and the City of McKinney. She said the decision left her "internally outraged."

    "I think that more should have been done. I don’t think he should just walk away without anything being done," said Dajerria Becton, who is now 16 years old.

    Heath Harris, an attorney for Adrian Martin, an 18-year-old who was arrested during the incident but later had his charges dropped, said the grand jury decision left him "shocked."