Police near Dallas admitted Monday that they had no justification for arresting a black teenager walking home in the snow who had committed no crime.
Plano police were called on Feb. 16 to conduct a welfare check on a man walking in the freezing cold in a short-sleeved shirt at around 10:47 p.m. local time, the department said.
In body camera footage released by Plano Police, officers approached the person, later identified as high school student Rodney Reese, and asked if he needed a ride as the mercury swayed around 18 degrees.
Reese, 18, explained that he was coming home from his shift at Walmart and didn’t need any help.
“No, I’m fine,” you could hear him say in the pictures. “I do this every night. I’m straight.
Officers told him he was walking down the street and Reese apologized.
Still, officers told him to stop walking and answer other questions. The teenager did not commit.
“We are investigating,” a male officer heard in the video.
“I don’t care,” Reese replied. “I’m going home!”
“You are officially detained,” said this officer.
Moments later, Reese is arrested and handcuffed.
Police did not have enough evidence to take Reese into custody and keep him overnight on a pedestrian-on-the-road misdemeanor charge, Plano Police Chief Ed Drain said in a statement.
“Our agents were on a welfare call. The arrest was inconsistent with why the officers were there, to provide assistance, “Drain said.” Therefore, we have dropped the charges. “
At a press conference on Monday, Reese’s mother said her son works late, serving clients who needed supplies during last week’s winter storm.
“He probably called the grocery store for some of the wives or families of those officers that night,” said Rachel Brown. “He worked a late shift and was rewarded with a night in jail. For me, it eats away at me inside.
Reese said he had acted right that night. When asked why he hadn’t spent more time talking to the police, Reese replied, “I wanted to go home. That’s why.”
“Young black men like me are afraid of the police because they kill us and arrest us,” he continued. “That’s why I didn’t want to answer a question, I wanted to go home.”
The ministry said Chief Drain “has launched an administrative investigation to assess our policies and procedures.”
But the ministry’s statement did not make it clear whether the officers involved had been sanctioned or had been reassigned. A spokesperson for the department referred the questions to the Plano Police Association, but a union representative could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.
Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said he hopes “this incident highlights an opportunity for” the police and the black community “to move forward constructively” with “communication and dialogue.”