Teen speaks out after recording viral pool party video

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MCKINNEY, Texas -- The 15-year-old Texas teenager who shot the McKinney pool party video that went viral and has resulted in a Texas officer being placed on leave is now speaking out. Brandon Brooks told KDAF the entire situation was, "uncalled for."

Brooks said he heard about the pool party on Twitter. He and some friends showed up and tried to get into the party, but security guards told them to leave.

“I was one of the only white people in the area when that was happening," Brooks told KDAF. "You can see in part of the video where he tells us to sit down, and he kinda like skips over me and tells all my African-American friends to go sit down.”

The fight started while Brooks was in the bathroom. He says that when he walked outside, the fight was over and everyone was running away.

“The cops showed up and the parents immediately started yelling, ‘you need more cops, there’s too many of them.’ And most of the kids weren’t even involved. It was a fight between a mom and girl, which had nothing to do with all the other kids that she apparently needed more cops for,” Brooks explained.

Police told teens to sit down for questioning. When the teens stood up, Brooks started recording. He says one officer "went crazy" after tripping and dropping his flashlight. When he got up, he started tackling people and placing teenagers in handcuffs.

"My heart dropped as soon as he pulled his gun," Brooks said. "They were just a bunch of kids having fun on their last day of school."

The 7-minute video was posted to YouTube on Saturday. It shows officers running after teens, with one officer aggressively handcuffing a teen while pinning a  girl to the ground by her head as she cried for her mother.

'This was not a racially motivated event -- at all'

Benet Embry just wanted a respite from the heat when he went to his neighborhood pool Friday. Talking to CNN Monday about the national story that rolled out of that simple, mundane summer activity still has him pretty well dismayed.

The 43-year-old African-American has lived in Craig Ranch, a planned community, for eight years. It's a nice place. Racially diverse. People get along there.

Thinking back on the pool party, he might have known it would be crowded. The invite to the party had earlier caught fire on Twitter and social media. Craig Ranch's strict homeowners' association rules prohibit bringing more than two guests to the pool.

So when crowds of teenagers showed up, huddling by the gate and shouting to let them in, things got out of hand. Some kids jumped over the fence, Embry said. A security guard tried to get them to leave but was outnumbered, so the guard called police.

Police would arrive, and one officer seen on a video later posted to YouTube, would be placed on administrative leave. The officer cursed at several black teenagers, yanked a 14-year-old girl wearing only a bikini to the ground and knelt on her back. He also unholstered his firearm and chased teenage boys as they approached him while he was trying to control the girl.

Shortly after the approximately seven minute video hit YouTube, many on social media alleged that the white officer was racist. The Texas NAACP called meetings because members suspected as much, its president, Gary Bledsoe, said on CNN Monday.

Embry disagrees.

"Let me reiterate, the neighbors or the neighborhood did not call the police because this was an African-American party or whatever the situation is," he said. "This was not a racially motivated event -- at all. This whole thing is being blown completely out of proportion."

McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley told reporters Sunday that several callers described fighting at the pool. At least 12 officers responded. Someone shot a YouTube video of what happened after they arrived, including the officer who has been placed on administrative leave, running after teenagers and conducting himself in a way that Conley said "raised concerns."

"I may or may not agree with everything that the police officer did, but I do believe he was trying to establish order. I am thankful to God that nobody got hurt," Embry said, adding that it made him feel uncomfortable to see an officer kneel on a teenager in a bikini and wave his gun at other teens.

A mother who was at the party gave a similar account. She spoke with her back to CNN's camera and didn't want to be identified.

"Nobody said anything about race," she said. "It was not a problem."

'Clearly not armed'

CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes criticized the officer's treatment of the girl.

The officer appeared to be "running around escalating" a situation that should have quickly calmed, he said. There was "no justification" he could discern from the video for the way she was treated.

Georgia criminal defense attorney and former police officer Phil Holloway said on CNN Monday that he felt the officer was escalating the situation.

"In addition to being unprofessional, I cannot conceive of why he would pull his weapon out under those circumstances," Holloway said.

Harry Houck, a retired New York Police detective, agreed with Holloway. "That officer was totally out of control."

Two McKinney police officers are investigating the police interaction with the teenagers.

The department had not identified the officer.

Teens 'not compliant whatsoever'

CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander cautioned that one video doesn't tell an entire story. He said officers were likely dealing with a lot of teenagers running around and not obeying basic orders to disperse.

"I thought the kids were not compliant whatsoever," said Alexander, who is the public safety director of DeKalb County, Georgia.

"That in itself is a problem. Those kids attempted to overtalk the police."

Alexander said he would not "demonize" or second-guess the McKinney officers based on the video.

However, he said, the officer who wrestled the girl to the ground could have controlled his temper.

"They are teenagers and we are the professionals," he said. "You can't allow emotions to get in the way."

Expert: Taking out gun justified

CNN legal analyst and attorney Paul Callan said more must be learned about exactly what police were told in calls.

"The nature of the police response should be proportionate and appropriate to the perceived threat," he said.

But the officer taking out his gun might be justified, Callan said, because he could have reasonably assumed the young men who approached him to be a real threat.

But when the teenagers scattered and ran, the police went to an "inappropriate Texas roundup of all fleeing juveniles," Callan said.

He said the teens' panic appears to be a result of overreaction because of the officer's aggressive demeanor.

And the girl's treatment, he said, appears to be punishment for her attitude rather than any particular crime.

10 comments

  • justin

    I don’t believe that pulling his gun is justified. Just made thing worse not to mention his colleagues ran up to him and grab him then he holstered his weapon, even his colleagues found him in the wrong from the looks of the video To run and grab him when he pulled it. The law enforcement really needs to learn how to handle there cool and extinguish the situation like they r train to not make matters worse.

    • ignitionnight (@ignitionnight)

      I can’t decide honestly. I lean towards saying it wasn’t justified, but when you look at the video two bigger males (teenagers or not) approached him in a very aggressive stance looking like they were willing to fight him. What should he have done otherwise, run away? I know I’m not cut out to be a cop, those types of situations are incredibly stressful and I don’t think any of us who haven’t been police officers would know how we’d act.

    • Ron

      Actually I see in the video that his colleagues ran up to assist him, after seeing the 2 males running up to him as he had his back turned towards them. The larger male in the brwon shorts even took a fighting stance and knuckled up on him while th eoffice was trying to subdue the girl. Justified? i think so….what else do you want him to do when facing 2 males willing to fight and he is still tied up with an individual who had failed to obey his commands to leave?

      also, for more info check out this link:

      https://www.facebook.com/MCQuattrin/posts/10153334459553361

      its to one of the owners that witness the whole thing.

      There are some cases when Law Enforcement needs to deescalate things rather than flame the fire but not in this case.

  • bob

    “Heard about it, and tried to get in.”
    A flash mob. 200 UNINVITED teens, many of them drinking and smoking pot, tried to crash a pool party for 7 year olds…..on private property. Then started throwing things at cars when they were turned away. Many of them swarmed over the fences to get in anyway.

    Zero sympathy.

  • Ron

    I like how the two “experts” in the report give their advice on a 7 minute video. clearly they are feeding into the whole craze. Im sure none of them have been in a situation like that. The teens i saw on the video being “rounded” up were the ones that were failing to leave or being combative.

  • Sheila Denali

    A lot of the residence of this community are speaking out about “the mob” of children taking over their community pool.
    If I lived in that community, I would be upset as well. Throwing that “party” was very disrespectful of their neighbors.
    That being said, I feel that the mother of the teenage girl who tweeted this party should have been charged with disturbing the peace, the two women who assaulted that same teenage girl should have been at the very least questioned and charged with assault, and the police should have sent all of the kids home in an orderly, and peaceful manor.
    The officer in this case was WRONG. The police CLEARLY handled the situation poorly.
    There WAS racial profiling, abuse of power, and over all panic from the officer who not only harassed innocent teenagers, but assaulted one.
    He was clearly the aggressor. What kid wouldn’t run from that? Did you see the video?
    He should be charged with assault on a minor, disorderly conduct, and loose his job.
    A respectful police officer would have seen ALL of those kids for what they were. Children. Children invited to a party that was given permission by an adult.
    To that officer, I say shame on you. Nice job showing the world what racism in America really looks like. You idiot! You knew that you were being filmed! I guess since you allowed the Caucasian boy film you, you didn’t think that you’d get this much backlash. Well guess what? Those boys that you were cursing at were his friends. And now you have the country in an uproar. Smh..

    • Dj

      There was no racial profiling and the situation was handled appropriately. Give it a rest. Innocent teenagers don’t trespass on private property, climb over fences, refuse to leave when told to do so.

  • Yeah

    This kid obviously is looking for more friends. And also he is not a sir he is a child. He has no perception of real life just what the media shows him. This “reporter” is just throwing kindling on this kids fire.

  • Dj

    Yup, black teenagers never carry weapons. What was the officer thinking. They wouldn’t follow directions, were climbing over fences, wouldn’t leave when told. Once again this pervasive mentality within the black community that they are exempt from the rules and any attemp to his then accountable cannot possibly be anything bout racist. Its getting tired. And old.

  • Christian

    I think the real lesson here is for parents to raise their kids with a little bit more common sense. What do you think will happen if you put a free party on twitter,facebook or any other type of social media site. All sorts of people that you do not know will start showing up at the party. What happens to parties when too many people show up, it gets out of hand.
    Learn from this young people and parents. If you want to keep a party private, do not put it on social media, send private invitations.

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