The Warrior v. the Guardian

Some interesting insight on the McKinney pool party confrontation:  A Former Cop On What Went Wrong In McKinney

The two officers in this brief video represent two different policing styles, two different mindsets that officers use as they interact with civilians: the Guardian and the Warrior. As a former police officer and current policing scholar, I know that an officer’s mindset has tremendous impact on police/civilian encounters…suffice to say that the right mindset can de-escalate tense situations, induce compliance, and increase community trust over the long-term.


The wrong mindset, on the other hand, can exacerbate a tense encounter, produce resistance, and lead to entirely avoidable violence. It can, and has, caused longterm damage to police/community relations.

Indeed, one can link the wrong mindset in question to a number of recent problematic police-civilian encounters across the nation in recent times.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. ernieyeball says:

    When I first came to Sleepytown U in 1968, some of us white kids got together with some black students and we had Zebra Parties. (Zebras have black and white stripes…Zebra parties…Get it?).
    Now and then one of the black city cops would show up off duty and party with us.
    I think he did more for police-community relations than anything City Hall ever came up with.
    Might as well have been 100 years ago.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Cops are taught above all to ‘control.’ They are taught to dominate. They take this very often to mean that in practical, street-level policing they must dominate and control minorities, witness the fact that the white cameraman walks around unchallenged, and the large white man you see in the video wanders around unmolested, and the white crowd across the street is never told that they must get down on the ground.

    This cop saw his duty as exerting control and dominance over a group of black kids. White cop desperately attempting to exert control over black kids, including that very dangerous 90 pound teenager in a bikini.

    What this cop lacked was authority. And he lacked authority because this police department, like many departments, has lost touch, has lost trust, and has allowed itself to be turned into the enforcement arm of white privilege.

  3. Patrick Watson says:

    I keep trying to understand the alleged crime that gave cause to detain the teens. People say trespassing, but many of them lived in the community. Cpl. Casebolt had no way to know who belonged there and who didn’t. His assumption seemed to be “black teen = criminal trespasser” and “all white folks innocent.”

    If that’s all he had, it is going to be VERY problematic for both the officer and his department – millions of dollars problematic, by the time they get through the lawsuits and civil rights investigations. And for no reason, as the expert at Steven’s link explains well.

  4. @Patrick Watson: Indeed. Not only that, his behavior only made the situation worse. For the most part people were just standing around talking and/or doing nothing (including some of the other officers). Meanwhile Casebolt is running around, yelling, cursing, pulling people to the ground, etc.

  5. Scott says:

    I live in Texas, in a homeowner’s community with a pool. I’ve been on the HOA Board and deeply involved with pool issues. What should have happened and apparently didn’t was when a call was made to the police (and I don’t understand that happened since apparently there was a security guard there), all the officer had to do was show up, assess the situation, look for an adult, and discuss the issues, whether it be noise, music, rambunctiousness, etc. Treat it as a potential safety issue rather than criminal. I’ve never seen teenagers not respond to calm discussions (there may be some grumbling and smart mouth but that should be ignored).

    Also, there has to be some consequences to the people who call in these calls when they turn out to be exaggerated.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    I remember a third hand anecdote I read many years ago. I think it was LA, a guy went through the police academy, graduated, and was assigned to a precinct in a wealthy area. Really pissed him off. He didn’t want to go where people would tell him what to do, he wanted to go to a slum area where he could tell people what to do.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: Keeping the lower class in line has always been a police responsibility. I’m not sure that as a society we’ve ever really told them to stop. Maybe we’re beginning to now that ubiquitous cameras are making it visible.

  8. Kari Q says:

    To me, the most striking feature of the video was the dramatic difference in the way the officers responded to the situation. The one who was calmly talking to the teens had his job made almost impossible by the officer who resorted to physical force.

  9. Patrick Watson says:

    @Scott: Yes, I really want to hear the 911 call(s). They should have been recorded. Did Casebolt hear something before he arrived on scene that might have prompted his odd behavior?

    I can’t imagine what it would be, just trying to give benefit of the doubt.

  10. KM says:

    @Kari Q:

    To me, the most striking feature of the video was the dramatic difference in the way the officers responded to the situation.

    Not to mention how deeply it hurts the usual defense of such behavior: the ubiquitous “being afraid” due to “threatening gestures or actions”. Already his defenders are claiming he was being “jumped” or “closed in on” in a threatening manner that provoked him. The video shows he was primed to go and just how markedly different his approach was from the start. He’s running around like a loon while they’re calm. He’s freaking out and doing ninja rolls (tripped my ass) while his coworkers are standing in place and directing the crowd. They are blatantly not frightened or intimidated at all. In fact, when he does pull his gun, two of them immediately come over to calm his ass down before going back to what they were doing.

    This video clearly shows how subjective and unreliable the “afraid” BS really is. Every time it gets trotted out, we see it for what it is: petty little men playing Rambo and are in way over their heads. I have no doubts officers (or people in general) truly fear for the lives sometimes and that it drives their actions in those cases; it’s just we’ve never seen a case where that’s a legitimate fear and not somebody trying to pull a fast one after acting like a badass wannabe.

  11. Matt says:

    @Patrick Watson: Well considering the black teens were either residents or had guest passes trespassing is certainly not likely. Granted some did jump the gate after the pool stopped allowing black people in.

    In a video from earlier you can see one of the older white women in a fight with one of the black teens with them locked on each others hair. One of the other older white women looked at first like she was trying to separate them then she started punching the black teen in the back of the head. Despite video evidence of a grown woman attacking a teen girl no charges have been filed.

    Considering that the Sean Toon fellow is a convicted felon and friends with the white women who were causing the trouble I cannot accept his side of the story.