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