Three years ago, viral video footage of violent police arrests of unarmed Black people was on a steady rise. In 2015, one video in particular of a Black teen in McKinney, Texas, getting violently arrested at a pool party was national news for weeks. Now, that same teen settled a lawsuit against the officer and the city for nearly $150,000.
In the video, Eric Casebolt slammed then 15-year-old Dajerria Becton to the ground and put his knee in her back while another officer put handcuffs on her. Also during the arrest, Becton threatened several other Black teens with his gun.
The footage stunned Americans who saw nothing more than a group of teens enjoying a party only to be threatened with their lives by a power hungry cop.
After the arrest, Casebolt resigned and Becton's family sued the officer and the city in federal court. The Bectons sought $5 million in damages, alleging he used excessive force.
In May 2018, the family reached a settlement, which awarded Becton $148,850, just as she graduated high school. The money Becton received was the amount left from the actual $184,850 settlement after attorney fees.
Becton's attorney, Kim T. Cole, told Teen Vogue this week that she was planning another pool party for Becton to celebrate and raise money for scholarships for other teenagers at her high school.
"My goal is to redo this experience," Cole said. "Dajerria recently told me she hasn't been swimming since the incident."
Although Cole hopes Becton can find some relief, she knows how traumatizing the arrest was for her client.
"This girl will never be the same," Cole told Teen Vogue. "Anyone who has been a teenage black girl knows how hard it is, and to have this type of negative publicity, in your bikini, shown all over the world, it tore her up. We don't know who she would have been had this not happened."
And according to Cole, the town of McKinney hasn't worked to make any changes to prevent future incidents.
"Their position is: 'We did nothing wrong, and we don't have to change anything,'" Cole told Teen Vogue. "We can scream it from the rooftops, but the fact of the matter is that black lives don't matter; they don't have much value in this society."
(Photo: Manit Plangklang / EyeEm / Getty Images)