A police officer has been fiercely criticised in Texas for his handling of a call out to a pool party, although it is has now been stated that his arguably poor handling of the incident was down to stress.
The police officer in question, Eric Casebolt, was caught on video pinning a 14 year old black teenage girl to the floor with his knees when he was called out to a disturbance at a pool party. The video sparked outrage in a long line of complaints of police brutality in the United States.
Casebolt has since resigned from his job, and he and his family are staying out of reach of people due to allegedly receiving death threats for his handling of the situation.
However, his lawyer, Jane Bishkin, has released a statement explaining that his over-aggressiveness, as displayed in the video footage, taken by a bystander, was not the result of racial aggression, but of an emotionally ravaging shift.
Stressed police services across the western world have been suffering from increases in pressure and workloads, as well as under-staffing. This case could be an example of what happens when officers are pushed too far, yet still demanded to carry out their jobs with a level head.
Apparently Mr Casebolt had been called out during the day of the incident to deal with the aftermath of a suicide in which a man had shot himself in front of his wife and children, and, having dealt with the body, evidence, and the grieving family, he was then called out to another suicide case.
“The nature of these two suicide calls took an emotional toll on Eric Casebolt,” said Ms Bishkin.
Arguing against accusations of racism, Ms Bishkin points out that Casebolt also detained a white teenage female, which was not caught on camera.
If mental stress is the cause behind the actions caught on camera, it yet again highlights the fact that the mental health of the emergency services is not looked after adequately and that this can lead to bad decisions and incidents like this one in Texas.
After being called out to emotionally intensive cases, such as suicides, and especially multiple times in one shift, the wellbeing of the officer should be called into question. If stress is truly the cause of Casebolt’s bad judgement, then whatever stress management techniques the force has in place (if any) would seem to not be effective enough.