A cop in Arlington, Texas, allegedly promised an African-American woman he would drop charges against her two teenage sons if she would hand over the video she recorded of one of the boys’ violent arrest.
Next Generation Action Network, an anti-police violence organization, shared the video and reported the incident occurred on July 3. The organization called for the officer to be disciplined.
Latasha Nelson, the woman whose children, aged 14 and 16, were arrested, said a police officer stopped her son, Trayvon, on his way home. The cop was investigating a vehicle theft when he detained the 14-year-old, claiming he matched the description given by two witnesses. According to Nelson, the officer was calm at first, but the situation escalated when she arrived.
The officer reportedly started searching Trayvon’s backpack, found a Bible and asked the boy if he read it. When the teenager replied in the affirmative, the cop "smirked and threw the Bible to the ground," Nelson said.
It is not yet clear what happened after that, but Nelson only began recording the video after the officer dragged her son to the patrol car. When she asked the cop what her son was accused of and where he was being taken, he refused to reply, saying she was being “uncooperative.”
“I’m not uncooperative,” Nelson said. “All I just said to you is, ‘He is a good kid.’ And you said that he’s not going to cooperate. You’re going to ask him if he’s going to cooperate and if he’s a tough guy? He’s 14 years old.”
The officer said he was looking for a reason to release the boy but the woman’s questions were making it hard for him to find one.
“You’re not finding it because you want somebody not to cooperate,” the distraught mother said. “What do y’all got to do? Do y’all just constantly have to kill our kids for y’all to just sit here and think that their life is valuable?”
When the woman kept insisting her son was a minor and she had a right to know where the officer was taking him, the cop took out his radio and reported he was dealing with a mother who was interfering with an investigation.
At one point, something happens off camera, which prompted the officer to grab Nelson’s 16-year-old son, Broderick, who was standing behind her. The cop grabbed his head and pushed him face first hard into the ground. Then he pulled up his arms and handcuffed him.
“You just slapped him in his face,” the mother said. “He's 16 years old. You didn't have to slap him in his face.”
It was at that point the officer realized he was being recorded. The video ends there but according to Nelson, the cop later said he would drop charges against her sons if she surrendered her video.
When she refused, her two sons were arrested without any evidence.
After the cop left, a terrified Nelson, fearing for her sons’ safety, called 911 and discovered where her sons were being held. The process took about an hour, according to Nelson.
“I am a black woman in America and I love my kids,” Nelson said. “Do you know how hard it is to have four sons and know what can happen to them out in the world? It didn’t have to escalate. I just needed to know where he was going ... If you don’t have the heart to know the fear that I went through knowing they were going to take my sons somewhere ... that’s scary.”
Broderick was charged with interfering with an investigation but Nelson and attorney Kim Cole stated the boy did not touch the officer. The video also proves that.
Trayvon and Broderick were both released eight hours later.
Arlington police now plan to interview the family and the involved officers, stating they wanted to keep “transparency with our community by doing a complete and thorough review.”
“As with any allegation of misconduct we take this seriously,” the department said in a statement. “This is a formal investigation and will require time to complete and we ask that our investigators are given the opportunity to review all of the evidence.”
As for the officer who arrested the brothers, he will remain on duty.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters