DeSoto police release camera footage showing officers using force on family
- Written by Miles Moffeit Elvia Limón Miles Moffeit Elvia Limón
- Published: 02 October 2018 02 October 2018
DeSoto, TX - Video footage released by DeSoto police Monday shows a quiet street erupting into chaos as officers armed with Tasers shove and handcuff residents and repeatedly shock a young man already lying on the ground.
The dashboard video confirms some allegations made by the family of Sammie Anderson, the mother who called 911 when her two adult sons got into a heated argument at her home in the Dallas suburb.
It also depicts some of the turmoil the police chief described to The Dallas Morning News as officers dealt with reports of an altercation and the family objected to being forced to the ground and handcuffed.
The view from the camera is limited, and the footage does not include material from body cameras worn by the six officers who responded to the incident.
Warning: this video includes images of violence and strong language. It has been edited for length and clarity and to remove personal information such as birth dates
The police department released the 44-minute video after calls from civil rights activists concerned by Anderson’s report of brutality. DeSoto's city attorney, Joseph J. Gorfida Jr., told The News that the Monday story contained unspecified inaccuracies. He also said the story “tended to incite many people against the city."
Anderson filed a complaint with the police department after she was injured, two of her sons were arrested for interfering with the police, and one was taken into custody for domestic violence. On the video footage, officers can be heard threatening to arrest her for being "a pedestrian in the roadway,'' after she has complied with their orders to lie in the street.
The Rev. Peter Johnson, founder of the Institute for Non-Violence, said the video is a vivid case study of what police officers should never do: turn a calm situation into a melee where people get hurt.
"The right thing for the DeSoto police chief and those officers to do is to publicly apologize to this family and drop the charges against those boys,'' said Johnson, who is calling for an outside investigation of the DeSoto police department, and organizing demonstrations in coming weeks.
The officers repeatedly say their actions are a necessary response to fighting in the street — though there are no signs of a dispute or violence as the video begins, and a woman says, “No one is fighting” as she approaches the officers.
The woman, Jayla Armstead, arrives with Sam Bible, age 18, one of Anderson’s sons who was not involved in the argument. When the officers tell them to get down, his actions are partially outside the camera’s view. His mother tells him to lie down and rises up herself to tell the officer, “He’s not resisting.’’
As she approaches Bible, a white officer grabs her from behind and slams her to the street, a thud which can be heard in the video. An officer later says she laid hands on him, which is why she was tackled.
Sam and his mom jump up while two officers point their weapons at everyone at the scene. It’s not clear whether they are firearms or Tasers.
Two minutes after the police arrive, everyone is on the ground.
Anderson, who has epilepsy, implores her sons to keep quiet, and tells officers she might have a seizure.
The officers begin to handcuff everyone. Someone asks whether they are under arrest. The officers tell them, “We’re just detaining everybody.’’
An officer approaching Grant Bible, 21, who is on the ground face down, says, “You need to calm down or you’ll be tased.’’ Two other officers are standing over him as they handcuff him. Someone says, “Don’t touch me.’’
Over the next roughly 40 seconds, at least four officers surround Grant and hold him down as he screams. The footage doesn’t clearly show where officers were tasing him.
Officers take all three of Anderson’s sons to squad cars. Grant’s girlfriend, Victoria Floyd, who called 911 at Anderson’s urging, pleads with officers to talk with Grant.
She says the eldest brother, Matt Bateman, 23, had been angry earlier, arguing with his girlfriend. He also had hit his younger brother, Ty Anderson, who is 15.
“He came home just mad, going off on everybody.’’ At one point, she mentions he picked up a sledgehammer, but she later told The News that she wasn’t clear what kind of tool it was.
Floyd tells officers they tased “the wrong dude.’’
One officer responds, “He was not cooperating so he got tased like he should’ve. I don’t care what’s going on — when we get here we’re in control.’’
Source: Dallas Morning News