Update: June 9, 2015, 6 PM: The McKinney Police Department announced late Tuesday that officer Eric Casebolt, who joined the department in 2005, has resigened from his position.
Church leaders in McKinney, Texas, called for prayer in the community on Monday during a meeting with Mayor Brian Loughmiller and Police Chief Greg Conley in the wake of racial unrest stemming from a recent incident involving a local police officer who wrestled a teenage girl to the ground at a graduation pool party.
Nearly 100 pastors met with Loughmiller and Conley for a prayer rally at OneCommunity Church to discuss restoring peace in the community following a clash between a police officer and teenagers after they were called to aid parents and two security guards at the party where some teens were allegedly jumping over security gates at the admission-restricted neighborhood pool on Friday.
Former "officer of the year" Eric Casebolt, who's a 10-year veteran police officer in McKinney, was suspended with pay after a video showing him taking down 15-year-old Dajerria Becton went viral. On Monday, hundreds of activists marched the streets in the city demanding justice in the form of Casebolt's firing.
"Mayor Loughmiller and Chief Conley have pledged to an open and fair investigation to be carried out with all due speed, and to take effective action based on the outcome," McKinney pastors wrote in a statement shared with The Christian Post on Tuesday. "We pray for McKinney to be a city that rises above prejudice and anger, to stretch out our hands across racial lines and embrace each other. We call the people of our churches to love their neighbors, especially those who are different from you in color, ethnicity or economy."
Several police officers were dispatched to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool (a private pool reserved for Craig Ranch homewoners) on Friday evening after a neighbor called claiming that a group of teenagers were not permitted to be there and refused to leave.
The Dallas Morning News reported on Monday that "Craig Ranch resident Bryan Gestner posted on Facebook: 'This was a Twitter party that turned into a mob event. Jumping pool fence. Assaulting 2 security guards, attacking a mother with three little girls. The video doesn't show everything.' He said that the kids were drinking and 'smoking weed' and would not listen to the adults around the pool."
Video footage shows a bikini-clad Becton being yanked facedown to the ground by Casebolt who can be seen kneeling on her back while cursing and pointed his gun at teens in a multiracial crowd.
"As spiritual leaders of our city, we are united in our stand against hatred, violence and racism. We call the leaders of our city, and the people of our community, to justice, peace and love," the statement continued.
While some members of the community have commended Casebolt's handling of the situation, civil rights activists are demanding that he be terminated.
"We are demanding that the officer be fired and be charged with assaulting the youth," said minister Dominique Alexander, the president of the Next Generation Action Network, which helped organize Monday's justice rally.
Becton, who was seen crying out for her mother in the video as Casebolt manhandled her, said Casebolt's termination is not enough.
"He grabbed me, twisted my arm on my back and shoved me in the grass and started pulling the back of my braids. I was telling him to get off me because my back was hurting bad," she told Fox 4 News. "Him getting fired is not enough."
Some witnesses say that an alleged argument between neighbors and pool guests triggered the violent clash with police. Neighborhood resident Tatiana, who was the party host, said that she invited a racially diverse crowd to attend and that they all had pool passes.
Brandon Brooks, a white teen who shot the video which has been viewed nearly 10 million times on Youtube, claims Casebolt selected his targets based on their race and that he only stopped minorities.
"Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic. [The cop] didn't even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible," he told BuzzFeed.
One neighbor, Benet Embry, said this is not true.
"A few THUGS spoiled a COMMUNITY event by fighting, jumping over fences into a PRIVATE pool, harassing and damaging property. Not EVERYTHING is about RACE. WE have other issues that NEED our attention other flights of made up make believe causes," Embry wrote on Facebook.
Casebolt was reportedly questioned by authorities yesterday although he has not yet spoken publicly about the matter.
A police investigation into the incident is ongoing.