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McKinney Press Conference: the Good, Bad, and Ugly

McKinney Press Conference: the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Press conference humanizes Casebolt, preserves pension, concedes no criminal conduct

Earlier today Jane Bishkin, the attorney for Eric Casebolt, gave a brief news conference to provide context around the former police officer’s decision to resign yesterday. Here’s the video in its entirety.

In the process, Bishkin very cleverly won for Casebolt everything that could be salvaged, sacrificed nothing that had not already been lost, and cut off the oxygen from a potential Ferguson-style race riot in the otherwise quiet and racially integrated Texas community of McKinney.

The Good

In terms of winning all that was salvageable, Casebolt reportedly walks away with both his pension and benefits, a  huge win. He’s naturally saddened at having to give up his chosen career, but plenty of people move from one career to another, especially police officers.

Given Casebolt’s long distinguished career at the McKinney Police Department it seems likely he’ll achieve a similarly high level of success in his future pursuits. To provide a perhaps useful comparable, Ted Kennedy spent decades as the Lion of the US Senate after actually drowning a girl in his car and trying to evade responsibility for the killing afterwards. Surely Casebolt is in a shallower hole than was Ted.

Of course, that’s assuming the many death threats being leveled against Casebolt don’t come to fruition. As we know from the case of George Zimmerman, even being acquitted of all criminal wrongdoing at trial doesn’t mean some loon isn’t going to try to shoot you through the head because attention.

Indeed, those very death threats define the second of Casebolt’s big wins.

It was revealed during the press conference that the death threats targeting Casebolt have not been limited to him. His fellow officers are also receiving threats of death.

Casebolt had spent the last 15 years working with his former fellow officers on the McKinney police department. The bond commonly formed among such a peer group is perhaps second only to that formed in military combat. They rely on each other, trust each other, on a daily basis, on matters that truly involve life and death, both of the public and themselves.

Now those fellow officers are being targeted for exactly the same kinds of death threats currently being directed at Casebolt.

And we know that such threats are not idle, not in today’s political environment of skyrocketing racial hatred. We need only recall the names of fallen heroes Wenjian Liu, Rafael Ramos, Brian Moore, and far too many others casually executed by the hateful.

By Casebolt removing himself from the McKinney police department he has all but eliminated that ongoing threat of death to his former fellow officers. I imagine all of their families are grateful for that.

Casebolt also apologized to anyone who might have been offended by his conduct, which the mob clearly takes as a tremendous concession of fault.

Note, however, that Casebolt apologized without ever conceding even a sliver of criminal misconduct.

He was excessively emotional, Casebolt admits, especially given the prior suicide calls (one horrifically fatal) to which he had responded earlier that day. He should have been more even-tempered. His failure to keep his cool was a discredit to himself, and to the McKinney police department. It was wrong.

None of that is a crime.

No one yet has been able to show me so much as an instant of the now infamous video of Casebolt trying to disperse the non-compliant mob that even vaguely resembles a crime, much less provides a credible case for a prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Absent the emergence of new damning evidence, the prospects of criminal liability for Casebolt seem non-existent.

The Bad

A big part of making a deal into a a win is to limit how much you have to lose in the process.

Certainly, Casebolt lost his job (technically, he gave it up). It seems clear, however, that the job was lost regardless, and because of multiple factors.

First, neither his Chief nor his Chief’s boss, the Mayor, was prepared to defend their officer, among the most distinguished on the department. If your bosses are going to throw you under the bus, the job is lost no matter what the merits of the case.

Second, it is plain that Casebolt and his superiors were dealing not with the ordered due process of law but with an angry and violent mob.

I don’t mean the mob that  invaded the quiet community of McKinney (though that mob was angry and violent, or there would have been no need for 12 officers to respond to the scene), but the mob that formed in the aftermath.

It’s the same now-so-familiar mob that forms for fun, for outrage, and even for professional advancement and personal profit.  For many of its members, the term “professional itinerant mob” is more than appropriate as they travel from town to town, from TV camera to TV camera.

When an angry mob is rushing at you on the street, it makes little difference if you have a theoretical right to stand on that street.

One man cannot resist the force of a mob of thousands of raging people unfettered by, and uncaring of, facts or law or due process. A  mob that we already know from past experience with Los Angeles, Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere is utterly unsatisfied with due process of law, but instead prefers to riot, burn, and loot.

Under those circumstances, no single police officer, however distinguished his career, is going to find keeping his job a tenable option. It was, for all practical purposes, a job already lost.

So, Casebolt resigned from a job that effectively no longer existed, rather than pursue the legal options available to him to fight to keep it.

This can only be seen as a savvy move, especially considering all the upside that followed and all the downside avoided.

The Ugly

Although Casebolt may have taken the heat off his former fellow officers at the McKinney Police Department, he himself remains a target of the mob.  As does his family.

A mob that had already expressed its desire to hang him from a tree, KKK style:

McKinney should be lynched

A mob that had already advocated a vengeful beating of Casebolt’s small children:

Find Casebolt's daugthers

There are too many countless other examples of threatened violence against Casebolt and his family (surely they are without fault in this matter, no?) to include in a mere blog post.

As we’ve learned from George Zimmerman’s experience with Matthew Apperson, there are members of the mob who are not fully attached to reality and who will happily spend the rest of their lives looking for an opportunity to shoot Eric Casebolt through the head. And, based on their already communicated threats, do the same to his wife and children.

There’s not much Casebolt can do about that except stay vigilant, and hope his family can survive the murderous mob’s apparently unceasing wrath.

Not much of a way to live.

To that extent, at least, I suppose the mob has scored a “win,” in the terrible, lawless way they define a “win.”

It’s not hard to predict, however, that it’s a “win” that is certainly a “loss” for society in general.

Any society needs men and women who can serve as distinguished law enforcement officers, as Casebolt did for 15 years. Absent such people, each of us is only further at the mercy of the criminal predators who already murder, maim, and rape hundreds of thousands of American citizens every year. That’s right: hundreds of thousands.

Yet if a distinguished law enforcement career of 15 years can be instantly extinguished by 13 minutes of video that shows not a glimpse of conduct even approaching the criminal, why would any capable person commit to that profession?

Why not sell cars? Teach? Heck, even become a lawyer?

Why not just leave to others the desperate 911 calls pleading for the dozen police officers who responded to the violence and the mob of trespassers invading the quiet McKinney community?

Or even just leave it to no one?

How many years away are we from a time when a call to 911 gets a recorded message that “all our staff are currently busy serving other customers, but your call is important to us, and we’ll get to you as soon as possible”?

Not as many as we’d like, I expect.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

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Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.


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DINORightMarie | June 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

Is it just me, or is the video imbed squished…..?

It’s about 2″ wide on my Mac screen (about 1/2 size of normal imbed). I reloaded, twice. No change.

I was particularly troubled by Officer Casebolt’s Chief, who was more than willing to toss him and his career aside, for the sole purpose of satiating the mob, describing the cop’s action as “indefensible.”

‘Indefensible’ my big old Southern ass. Hey Chief. Why not take a moment to explain why there is a greater good for a peaceful society in teaching its citizens to obey an order of a police officer in the middle of a riot? If that 15 year old had been my daughter, she would have gotten worse that she got from Casebolt when she got home.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Redneck Law. | June 10, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    And the libs would have called social services on you for not giving her flowers and telling her how special she is for her courageous act of defiance.

    Estragon in reply to Redneck Law. | June 11, 2015 at 12:00 am

    The real story here is the disgusting cowardice of the Chief and the Mayor, as well as the wanton lawlessness and lack of respect for others’ rights and property of the trespassing “youths.”

    LEEJAN in reply to Redneck Law. | June 11, 2015 at 8:07 am

    The police chief and the mayor will be delighted with Baltimore type policing from here on. Good luck with that.

A sad story in this video age. Violation of Department policy or even bad optics are enough to cost a police officer a career, even if no law was broken.

A few former police officers I spoke to yesterday and today were scratching their heads.

And while I’m at it, the Chief lauded the other eleven officers for “keeping their heads.” I don’t know about that. They looked like they could care less if the whole lot of teenagers burned down the clubhouse.

Is this what we want from the cops? Eleven of them milling about, or one trying to get an unruly mob of teenagers to sit down and shut up.

    It’s comments like this that help clarify for me that this isn’t about being pro-cop. It’s about being pro-*abusive* cop.

    11 cops were managing the situation without resort to violence and aggression. 1 cop, now admittedly in a poor state of mind, decides violence and aggression are required, and your reaction is to say that the 11 were wrong?

      Miller in reply to JWB. | June 11, 2015 at 10:02 am

      Give up trying to understand it, JWB. Just forget it. It’s Chinatown… err… LI.

      They’ve never seen a Boot of Authoritah they don’t want to lick, and to force everyone else to lick as well.

Conservative0317 | June 10, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Are the police or the FBI pursuing criminal charges against the tweeters for inciting violence? Perhaps if we charged a few of those people for the obvious criminal offense they have committed, it might temper the obscene reaction by some of these people.

    Yes, let’s shoot people for exercising their first amendment rights as well.

    Roll on, the Police State!

      I’m really curious — is your gross misrepresentation of what he actually said based on a complete inability to exercise fourth-grade reading comprehension, or on a total disregard for any kind of honesty when you’re itching to launch a baseless but vicious personal attack?

      I’d’ also like to know whether you were actually under the impression that anyone wouldn’t easily spot what you were doing.

      Milhouse in reply to Miller. | June 15, 2015 at 2:25 am

      Incitement is not protected by the first amendment. (Advocacy of crime is; the difference is one of tone and context, so one must be careful in deciding which tweets deserve prosecution, but those that are incitement must be prosecuted like any other violent crime.)

Juba Doobai! | June 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm

There is a distressing trend (sigh, another one?) in the black community: large number of people behave like Muslims—angry, unreasoning, violent, racist, unheeding, fascistic.

When people behave like that, dialogue is impossible. There is no point in talking to them. The disease, brought into existence in the 60’s perhaps, has been carefully tended by bigots like Jackson and Sharpton. The Obama presidency nourished the sickness that flowered, along with its vile expectations of revenge on whites because it is our time,

The best that can be done is to pray for the people in my community. Pray that they may get pastors who are men of God rather than community activists, pastors who are willing to condemn sin in the flesh and not blame racism for everything, this sickness is black America’s, and it must be eradicated by black Americans for this country to have a modicum of peace. Without it, we will have a fifth column that will destroy us all for revenge.

DINORightMarie | June 10, 2015 at 7:31 pm

Another downside to his resigning is that this will now be the expectation for any police officer – white, black, male, female – who responds to a mob scene or crime scene: resign.

Drawing a weapon will be called a crime, because the mob says so.

Frightening times, indeed.

13-406. Justification; defense of a third person
A person is justified in threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force against another to protect a third person if, under the circumstances as a reasonable person would believe them to be, such person would be justified under section 13-404 or 13-405 in threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force to protect himself against the unlawful physical force or deadly physical force a reasonable person would believe is threatening the third person he seeks to protect.

13-404. Justification; self-defense
A. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, a person is justified in threatening or using physical force against another when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force.
B. The threat or use of physical force against another is not justified:
1. In response to verbal provocation alone; or
2. To resist an arrest that the person knows or should know is being made by a peace officer or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, whether the arrest is lawful or unlawful, unless the physical force used by the peace officer exceeds that allowed by law; or
3. If the person provoked the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force, unless:
(a) The person withdraws from the encounter or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely withdraw from the encounter; and
(b) The other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful physical force against the person.

13-405. Justification; use of deadly physical force
A. A person is justified in threatening or using deadly physical force against another:
1. If such person would be justified in threatening or using physical force against the other under section 13-404, and
2. When and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force.
B. A person has no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force pursuant to this section if the person is in a place where the person may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act.

Mr. Branca, I own a copy of your book and I’ve read it cover to cover several times. Even though I understand the liabilities and the risks involved, I would accept them. If I ever see an officer under attack, my first thoughts will be of Liu, Ramos, Moore, Wilson, Casebolt, and many other officers like them. So I will most assuredly act within the law and aid that officer using any means available to me.

Not all sheepdogs wear a badge and uniform.

In the meantime, aren’t these threats against the law? Even though the media they are being made through is supposedly a legal grey area, can’t something still be done about this?

    Miller in reply to TB. | June 11, 2015 at 10:05 am

    So you wouldn’t just have pulled the half-naked 15-year-old girls hair and pushed her face into the dirt and knelt on her back, you would have shot her as well?

      Miller in reply to Miller. | June 11, 2015 at 10:07 am

      P.S. with the prevalence of puppycides and most police gleefully shooting every dog they see, I wouldn’t call myself a “sheep DOG” if I wanted to curry their favor…. yanno. Theyll like to shoot you as quick as they would a darkie with a burnt out taillight….

      Milhouse in reply to Miller. | June 15, 2015 at 2:35 am

      Who said anything about shooting anyone? You made that up yourself. In any case, the girl’s not the one making the threats, so what’s she got to do with it? She was treated exactly as a resisting suspect is supposed to be, and no more.

“I don’t mean the mob on invading the quiet community of Ferguson”
Didn’t you mean to say McKinney? I presume you were referring to the pool party mob.

I hope he and his family get to spend an idyllic summer out in the boonies incognito and safe and he will find a job in the private sector.

theduchessofkitty | June 10, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Yep. Rule of the mob, by the mob and for the mob. “Fundamentally transformed,” indeed.

The State of TX better respond forcefully, or this cancer will spread.

Whatever else is true here, Cpl. Casebolt has been well advised by a good lawyer.

THAT is no small blessing.

I wish he had not apologized and focused more on the fact that after two suicide calls he had to respond to a mob of unruly, unsupervised, self-entitled teenagers who believed they had a right to go where they wanted and do whatever they wanted with no questions asked.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Sanddog. | June 10, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    I side with you in my heart…my head says that won’t get anyone anywhere in this world gone mad.

    Besides, I would expect his “apology” was a condition of the deal he took to resign.

    Miller in reply to Sanddog. | June 11, 2015 at 10:11 am

    “teenagers who believed they had a right to go where they wanted and do whatever they wanted with no questions asked.”

    I know right??!! It’s almost like they think they live in free America or something, and that they as blacks have the same rights as whites, which is crazy, right??!!

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Miller. | June 11, 2015 at 10:24 am

      What are you, like 12 years old?

      Sanddog in reply to Miller. | June 11, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Are you really this stupid or are you just playing the moron for the audience?

      Those teenagers believe their wants supersede any rule or law. If they are old enough to be out without direct adult supervision, they’re old enough to obey the rules of the neighborhood and the laws of the state of Texas.

      Milhouse in reply to Miller. | June 15, 2015 at 2:40 am

      Where in America do people—black, white, or brindled—have the right to go wherever they want, and do whatever they want, with no questions asked? Where do you imagine people get such a right? In the real world nobody has the right to invade other people’s property.

Didn’t somebody in the supervisory role notice that he had tended to two suicides, and maybe, just maybe, he needed to sit at at desk for a little while?

The 11 who wondered around, what were they thinking? And what must the residents about the future when a mob is out of control? So do people need to pack heat to go to the pool, and when the first clown jumps the fence, share with them just how threatening their behavior is, and what a response might look like?

    healthguyfsu in reply to Milwaukee. | June 10, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    He chose to take the call…that part is on him. The call went out on the radio and he was first to the scene.

    It sucks because it sounds like he was very dedicated to his job, and ultimately, having to be on the front lines of fending off a bunch of low life riff raff may have caused the bad optics that cost him his job.

      amwick in reply to healthguyfsu. | June 11, 2015 at 8:47 am

      At 3:07 in the video his lawyer said he took a pass on the first call for this incident, and only went out when the second call came in describing something more violent and dangerous. She more or less said that he felt an obligation toward the other LEO to go. And.. as we all know, no good deed goes unpunished.

While there are some arguing Casebolt ought to be brought up on charges, I reject the idea that legal vs illegal is or should be the bar, here. (Though it is good that his lawyer offered nothing that would further any possible charge.)

I took the lawyer’s statement as an admission that former officer Casebolt let emotion get the better of him and that he acted inappropriately. (Not illegally, but not according to his training and department procedure.) While his apology was that weasel-worded “to anyone that was offended,” I think it was sincere, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he offers another, perhaps better one, when he speaks publicly in his own voice.

To the extent that My impressions are correct, I take him at his word. I think he’s a good officer who had a bad day and let it affect his behavior toward the people on scene. (That doesn’t absolve him of his responsibility for his actions (any more than your having a bad day at work and letting that affect your driving style on the way home would absolve you of the speeding ticket you get), but it shouldn’t ruin his life, either.

Great analysis Andrew, as always; thank you for providing this.

Why are we even fighting ISIS, we are becoming them.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Shane. | June 11, 2015 at 12:01 am

    ISIS? Hardly. We have become gutless, cowardly sheeple. I see some of them are even here at LI.

      I was sickened by the number of purported conservatives and libertarians who condemned the officer the minute the first video clip hit the internet, with no interest in the facts or what happened before those five seconds. Even now, there are too many spineless weasels spouting pablum to appease parasites and ruffians. God help us.

nordic_prince | June 11, 2015 at 12:29 am

Obama, Jackson, Sharpton, and all the race hustlers are nursing a viper in their bosom. It would be such sweet poetic justice if that viper were to turn on them.

No one was injured. No one was killed. The mob was restrained, the conflict was quelled, a successful action. People may take note to respect other people’s property and rights in the future. Maybe.

That said, nice work, Bishkin. You represented your client’s interests well.

2015 and fifty years and a whole generation later: lawless politically motivated “thugs” are promoted to positions of DA, Mayor and the DOJ.

…and they marched away from Selma to Zion…to steal guns.

stevewhitemd | June 11, 2015 at 8:52 am

To the extent that 11 officers were apparently not intervening to deal with the mob, the mayor and police chief have a problem. They have 11 officers who didn’t get engaged. In the long term that’s not good, especially since all the police officers of McKinney now have an object lesson of what could happen to them if they do get engaged and do one little thing wrong. You can’t throw an officer under the bus and not expect the other officers to notice.

I’m relieved to see Officer Casebolt walks away as Andrew as pointed out and pray for his family’s safety. I don’t think he was blameless but he clearly didn’t do anything illegal. Like others who have commented, there was a failure of supervision: the officer have not been put on this call given what he’d been through earlier that day.

But there’s a larger failure of supervision: you have 12 officers at the scene with an ugly mob that refuses to behave and go away. Where was the police chief? McKinney isn’t that big a town. Did the chief have something better to do? Why wasn’t he at the scene? The chief strikes me as a REMF.

Finally: anybody going to deal with the people who set up the whole “party” in the first place? From the news accounts I’ve read it was an older child of a resident who sent all the social invites, etc. All that seems to have gone into the rabbit hole.

    Miller in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 11, 2015 at 10:15 am

    What about the fat white ladies who started the fights? Where are they?

      Ragspierre in reply to Miller. | June 11, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Bouncing around in your crap-packed fevered brain.

      With “impunity”. Ya moron.

      stevewhitemd in reply to Miller. | June 11, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Did you actually read what I wrote? It looks to me as if you’re just trolling LI.

      MarlaHughes in reply to Miller. | June 11, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      You might reference the video Keef_cakes gave (purple shirt, big boobs) in which that one of her #dimepieces, the blonde 14 year old, told her that some white woman had made a racial slur to the partiers. So, KC went looking for the woman and/or blondie pointed her out to KC. Then KC said she “kicked that @ss”. After that Tweet she protected her Twitter account but it was too late. Plus her friends reTweeted her, leaving records all over Twitter to be used for the defamation law suits.

      Milhouse in reply to Miller. | June 15, 2015 at 2:46 am

      What the *&&* are you talking about? No white ladies, fat or thin, started the fight. It was started by black thugs invading theh pool area where they had no right to be.

Do lawyers always chew gum when they appear in front of the press? That was not impressive.

I continue to be saddened by the lack of respect for law-enforcement officers, who are normally on a scene because someone who needed help called them to the scene.

Is the new normal going to be: set a baited trap for LOEs and see how many you can get arrested or fired?

Scary times we live in.

Empress Trudy | June 11, 2015 at 9:47 am

And then of course the community that the pool is in will institute a few dozen regs, hire a security guard, limit access, put up bigger fences, and generally make the residents feel like they’re living in an armed camp. While the ‘urban’ element from outside will be even more excluded.

Good work.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Empress Trudy. | June 11, 2015 at 11:23 am

    They already had security guards, limited access, and fences, just like a million other like neighborhoods across the country. Why do you suppose these are necessary? Two words: liability and trespassers.

Henry Hawkins | June 11, 2015 at 10:32 am

If police can’t or won’t control civil disorder due to PC fears, the people themselves (ourselves) will ultimately handle it – and I’m 100% certain those engaging in civil disorder will quickly come to prefer police methods after all.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 11, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Too many of us have no sense of history…or human nature.

    Vigilantes initially were people acting totally in the right. They were regular people who were faced with lawlessness, and they had ever right to deal with it effectively.

    They earned the bad name they are still stigmatized by through excesses of their own, but not for their initial “taking the law into their own hands”, because those hands are where law resides.

    gmac124 in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 11, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I think a couple dozen ranchers with hot shots could have more effectively handled the mob. 😉

Henry Hawkins | June 11, 2015 at 12:57 pm

I live on a river. I have a dock. Hardly a month goes by, for over twenty years now, where I don’t have to go down and run trespassers off my dock. Sometimes it’s innocent – a couple teens sunning themselves who had no idea what ‘trespassing’ means. Another time it was two twenty-something punks who challenged me and got run off the end of the dock into the river at gunpoint and all their fishing tackle kicked into the drink. Another time it was a construction crew after work off a job a half mile away. While no one was home, they drove their work truck thru my back yard and parked at the foot of my dock and went fishing. They appeared to consider taking me down when I confronted them, but ultimately left without violence. Another time, a four wheeler rider got his machine stuck in the mud at the river’s edge on my property and was pulling planks off my dock to use for wheel traction. Most times it’s a begrudging, ‘ok, pops’ and off they go, sulking and acting like victims.

Without exception, every trespasser acted like he/they were the victim and I was being unreasonable. I’ve never once had anyone come to the house and ask to use my dock. Not once.

It makes me want to follow them home, go uninvited into their refrigerators, make myself a sandwich, sit on their couch, and get angry when they demand that I leave.

    stevewhitemd in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 11, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    You need to post the classic sign for this situation:

    “Trespassers will be shot.
    Survivors will be shot again.”

      Henry Hawkins in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 12, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Missed you at the Steve White For President committee meeting last night. We figured the ONE guy likely to show up…..

blacksburger | June 11, 2015 at 6:19 pm

As I understand it, the pool was private property owned by a group of neighborhood people. The pool was so small that each member family was allowed to have only two people there at a time.
A group of outsiders came and demanded admission; when it was denied some of them started climbing the fence around the pool. They refused to leave the area when the police told them to. As I said before, they were trespassing on private property.