The Texas police officer filmed wrestling a teenage girl to the ground at a pool party -- stoking racial tensions in a Dallas suburb -- responded to two suicide calls earlier in his shift that took an emotional toll on him, his lawyer said.
Officer David Eric Casebolt, 41, who is white, was seen in the video pushing a bikini-clad black, teenage girl to the ground on June 5 and brandishing his gun at other black teens after he and other officers responded to complaints about the pool party at a community-owned McKinney swimming pool.
Casebolt, who served as an officer for 10 years, was swiftly criticized. The community has called for charges and Casebolt resigned.
The McKinney police chief told reporters that his actions “are indefensible.”
Jane Bishkin, his attorney, however, broke the police officer's silence. She told reporters that he was scheduled to work the evening shift last Friday. Prior to the pool incident, he responded to two suicide calls, including one where a man shot himself in the head in front of his family.
She said he hesitated to respond to the minor trespassing report at the pool and leave it for other officers, but responded when there were reports of a violent assault. He arrived at a chaotic scene, but said he was not targeting minorities and pointed out that he even detained a white woman.
"He allowed his emotions to get the best of him," Bishkin said. She reiterated that he apologized and served honorably in the community for years, even receiving numerous awards for his service.
The incident has prompted criticism of the affluent suburb of McKinney north of Dallas, which is among the nation's fastest growing cities and has highly regarded public schools and was ranked by one publication as America's best place to live.
"The actions of any one individual do not define our community as a whole," Mayor Brian Loughmiller said at the briefing.
People who demonstrated this week at a McKinney school against the police response often used the city's name in the same sentence as Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. — cities where use of force by police triggered widespread protests and violence.
The NAACP is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to review the procedures of the McKinney police force, stopping short of asking for a formal investigation. A review of department policies is needed to ensure officers are responding appropriately to calls involving minorities, the local NAACP chapter said.
Casebolt had been accused of excessive force in a 2007 arrest as part of a federal lawsuit that named him and other officers. The officers arrested Albert Brown Jr., who authorities say was found with crack cocaine during a traffic stop. Brown, who is black, accused the officers of forcibly searching him after pulling down his pants and slamming his head against a car hood. A defense attorney denied Brown's accusations. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2009.
McKinney also has been the target of lawsuits accusing it of racial segregation in public housing.
Fox News' Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report