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Teen in viral 'pool party takedown' video sues police department

Among the more memorable videos documenting police misconduct over the past two years was the June 2015 cellphone video of a pool party in McKinney, Texas, an affluent Dallas suburb. It’s hard to forget the part where a police officer, fresh on the scene, performs a dramatic somersault-like maneuver in apparent imitation of his big screen heroes.

After the maneuver, he springs back into the fray, ultimately wrestling an unarmed, 15-year-old African-American girl to the ground. When other teens protest, he pulls a gun and scares them off. According to her lawsuit, the officer then assaulted the teen, grabbing her and dragging her to the ground before slamming her face, twice, into a concrete sidewalk.

He pulled her hair and thrust her to the ground again, shoving a knee into her back and then onto her neck, crushing her to the ground with his entire body weight. When she cried in pain and begged for her mother, the officer repeatedly ground her face into the grass.

Further information indicates McKinney officers need better use-of-force training

More information has become available since the video was released. According to the Courthouse News Service, the McKinney PD allegedly received a “disturbance” complaint about the party, which was taking place at a privately owned swimming pool. The complaint said the party had gotten out of hand, with uninvited guests arriving and fights breaking out.

The teen girl was not a party crasher but was invited to the party, which was hosted by a resident of the community where the pool was located.

Fully 12 officers responded to that “disturbance” call. Disturbance calls generally don’t require violent intervention, but several officers are seen exploding immediately into action as they arrive on the scene.

The police don’t appear to have probable cause, or even a reasonable suspicion, that criminal activity was taking place. As far as we can tell, they simply leapt from their cars and busted up the party with no provocation.

According to the lawsuit, “MPD officers are trained by individuals with little or no experience working in the field,” and that the MPD has a record of failing to train officers adequately on the appropriate use of force, especially on juveniles.

That officer has since resigned from the McKinney Police Department and apologized, but he, the McKinney PD and the City of McKinney still need to answer for them.

After all, shortly after the events McKinney’s police chief described them as “indefensible.” Nevertheless, the city plans to defend them. “Vigorously.”

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