CHICAGO: Video on the Internet showing a Texas police officer pulling out his gun at a pool party of unarmed black teens raised fresh questions Monday about the use of force by police in the United States.
Officials in McKinney, Texas, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Dallas, said they have placed the officer in question on administrative leave after the incident late Friday, when police responded to complaints of rowdiness by teens at a community swimming pool.
“The initial call came in as a disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave,” McKinney police said in statement released Sunday, adding that there were also complaints of fighting among the teenagers.
Several police units responded and “officers were eventually able to gain control of the situation,” the police statement.
Video filmed by one of the teens, which was later posted on YouTube showed a white officer shouting obscenities at the youths as he orders them to lie on the ground.
In a chaotic scene in which youths can be seen running around the pool area to evade the police, one officer can be seen throwing a girl to the ground and pinning her down, then pulling out his gun as two black male teens approach, apparently to try to help her.
Authorities said they had launched a probe after becoming aware of the existence of the video, which has gone viral and been replayed repeatedly on US news broadcasts.
“This video has raised concerns that are being investigated by the McKinney Police Department,” the statement said.
“At this time, one of the responding officers has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.”
The past year has seen numerous cases that have raised concerns about excessive and sometimes lethal police force in black communities across the United States.