A police officer who was forced to resign after apprehending teenage party crashers in McKinney, Texas, has spoken out from hiding, saying “I am a victim.”
Eric Casebolt, 41, is living in an undisclosed location, and being protected by off-duty police officers, who also watch over his home and family, The Daily Mail reported Friday.
“I am a victim of all that has been going on right now. I’m just sorry that I have contributed to it,” Casebolt told a friend, who relayed the message to The Daily Mail. “On another time, nobody could have accused me of being racist.”
“Things got the better of me and that’s all,” he acknowledged, adding “I am very concerned that folks stop judging me in that way.”
An 11 year veteran police officer, Casebolt has a wife and teenage son, who are “scared” for their safety, reports The Daily Mail, but overwhelmed by support they have received.
“He is extremely grateful for the support that has started to come his way in the last 48 hours, and is overwhelmed that people are prepared to help him financially,” an unidentified source told The Daily Mail.
“His fellow police officers are restricted on what they can say publicly, but they are supporting and protecting him privately. He has had many offers of help from them,” the source said. “Some have told him it could so easily have been them in this position while trying only to do their job and serve their community.”
Before arriving at the Craig Ranch subdivision community pool where he manhandled a teenage girl, Casebolt’s calls in the previous hour included a man who committed suicide by shooting himself in front of his partner and baby son, and an attempted suicide in which Casebolt assisted other officers.
A 16-year-old witness who saw Casebolt at the first suicide call told The Daily Mail “I think he was very good here, but he seemed to have lost it at the other pool.”
The Daily Mail reported that online activism and manipulation over the incident has caused Google search results for “McKinney police” to return an image featuring a uniformed officer side by side with a hooded member of the Klu Klux Klan.
Preparing for possible criminal charges as well as a civil lawsuit from the bikini-clad teenage girl he subdued, Casebolt has hired well-regarded criminal defense lawyer Tom Mills.
The McKinney Police Department is expected to complete an internal affairs investigation and reports on Monday, The Daily Mail reports.
Social media reaction has been strong on both sides of the divisive issues of police brutality and race-baiting. Some Twitter users do not agree that Casebolt is a victim.
EXCLUSIVE: Cop who body-slammed bikini girl speaks from hiding place, says HE’S the victim http://t.co/fL5fvcOd9I
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) June 12, 2015
@DailyMail he didn’t look like a victim to me
— Lyndsey Shaw (@ls_lyndsey) June 12, 2015
Other Tweets reveal broad support for the former officer.
— Hygiea (@TwoEyesOneView) June 12, 2015
.@BlissTabitha Cop did his job well&did the job of parents for that wannabe criminal daughter of theirs that they didn’t teach respect to
— Larry Pfeifer (@eastonelliott22) June 13, 2015
@BlissTabitha It’s all to easy for people to play “arm chair cop” after the fact.
— Jeff (@12voltman60) June 13, 2015
Going viral! Every American should hear THIS black mom’s take on McKinney
Guy sets up Go Fund Me account to keep Al Sharpton out of McKinney
Black McKinney resident pays for defending cops: Kids were ‘thugs . . . Not EVERYTHING is about RACE’
Megyn Kelly: Teenage McKinney girl in pool party cop video ‘was no saint, either’