Since video of the infamous pool party went viral last weekend, Mckinney Police Chief Greg Conley has publicly condemned the actions of Corporal Eric Casebolt, calling them “indefensible.”
Then, a few days later, Casebolt, through his attorney, owned up to his behavior and apologized to “all he offended” before resigning.
But that didn’t stop one group of flag-waving, sign-holding Texans from staging a ‘Backing the Blue’ rally on Saturday to support the disgraced officer as seen in the video below.
Living less than a mile from where Casebolt barrel rolled into the national spotlight, I was able to crash the police apologist protest and ask some tough questions to those in attendance. I arrived to a scene of about 100 local Texans standing outside the Police Department waving their American flags and carrying their ‘Backing the Blue’ signs while soliciting honks from drivers.
I was curious as to why these people would disagree with both the chief and the barrel-rolling officer, choosing to celebrate his behavior rather than condemn it.
What I found was a group of individuals so unwilling to confront the idea that police misuse and abuse their authority, that they would blindly make excuses for “indefensible” behavior by their beloved men in blue – even if one admitted he didn’t even watch the video that so far has been viewed millions of times throughout the world.
The first group of attendees I encountered felt so strongly about their position that they declined to comment when asked if they thought Casebolt was out of line. One of the men sported an American flag derby and a shirt which read, “FUCK OFF.”
Another man on a motorcycle said he was attending the event to back the blue and support the Mckinney officers. When asked point blank if he is supporting the actions of Casebolt in the video, he said:
“I am, I am, because all they got was that cell phone camera.”
“But wasn’t that enough,” I asked?
“No, that wasn’t enough.”
The man made no apologies. He saw nothing wrong with forcefully detaining a 14-year old girl and pulling a gun on a couple other teens who were not suspected of committing a crime. Another attendee who carried a sign reading, “Real Citizens Support Their Police,” said he didn’t watch the video, but sympathized with the embattled department.
“These guys are on the front lines day in and day out.”
I was tempted to interject and drop the line about policeman falling outside the top 10 deadliest jobs, but I withheld. Nonetheless, the man seemed to be supporting a very controversial cause for which he was not all that familiar with. He believed we should hold police accountable, but did not think we should harshly criticize police because their feelings might be hurt.
I thanked the man for having the fortitude to answer my questions while wearing a Police the Police t-shirt pointing a camera at his face. I walked away feeling a bit disturbed that an incident so out-of-line could be justified in the minds of these people.
Making my way over to the main protest, I found an array of signage that all signaled to me a bad case of Stockholm syndrome. Don’t these people see the daily police abuse videos or did they not pay attention to the 1100 individuals killed by police in 2014?
One woman’s sign read, ‘Respect those who Protect,’ a clear indication that this woman has not been victimized by the system nor cared enough to learn about others who have fallen prey to the police state. Another man compared the civil rights groups, who marched on the police station to demand justice, to a terrorist organization.
It’s just like we don’t negotiate with terrorists. Well that’s exactly what we’re doing here when we sit there and tell them, O.K., you can come in here and tell us to fire somebody, and we will.
Everyone I spoke with agreed that police accountability is necessary, but they didn’t seem too interested in actually carrying out their duty based on their very presence at the event.
I did speak to one police supporter advocating for Casebolt’s reinstatement about my free market solution to end centralized police services in favor of a private market consumer driven private security companies, but my message went largely on deaf ears.
As if police brutality is not a big enough problem, we now have a growing demographic of individuals who spring into action to defend their local boys in blue should they find themselves in the cross hairs of justice.