Houston, TX — As our regular readers know, police officers acting inappropriately is more common than most of the public believes. From crashing cruisers into schools while snorting xanax to pulling people over to ask them on a date, cops have made some incredibly poor decisions. One of these poor decisions was captured on video recently and shows a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff’s department encouraging an elderly man to slap him.
According to police, they were responding to a disturbance outside an IHOP on Sept. 30, 2018 when one of the deputies became engaged with an innocent 61-year-old man unrelated to the call. While they were talking, the deputy randomly challenged the man to “slap the s**t of me.”
“Get it off your chest. Slap the s**t out of me and get it off your chest,” the deputy is heard saying. “I’m giving you permission to slap the s**t out of me and get it off your chest and see what happens.”
The man obliges the deputy’s request and lightly slaps him on the face. However, without permission from the 61-year-old, the deputy then wallops the elderly man who was half his size sending him falling to the ground.
“Get up. That was stupid,” the deputy says. “That was f**king stupid.”
If it was so stupid, then why did the deputy ask him to do it multiple times?
Despite giving the man permission to slap him, the deputy—likely feeling the sting in his pride—then arrested the man. The deputy and his fellow cronies took him to jail, charging him with interfering with duties of a public servant.
“Look at that size difference,” said Larry Karson, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Houston-Downtown and retired federal agent, according to ABC 13.
“He was looking to set him up so he can arrest him, and that’s what he did. And, all of that, if not illegal to be determined by the district attorney, is going to be in violation of departmental policy,” said Karson. “I’m sure there’s a back story but it still doesn’t justify the action. He’s supposed to be able to handle that.”
While giving the man permission to slap him was not against the law, slapping him back and then arresting him most certainly was. However, the deputy has been on active duty ever since and has faced no disciplinary action at all.
He slapped an innocent elderly man to the ground, kidnapped and falsely charged him, and he didn’t receive so much as a slap on his wrist or even a write up in his record.
Naturally, the police are giving the public the familiar canned response of “we have investigated ourselves” and is assuring them that they will take the appropriate action if necessary.
“A thorough investigation into this incident has been conducted by the Internal Affairs Bureau,” HCSO spokesman Jason Spencer said in an email. “The findings of that investigation have been forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review. Once the DA’s Office has determined whether criminal charges are warranted, the case will be presented to the sheriff’s administrative disciplinary committee to determine whether any policies were violated, and whether disciplinary action is appropriate.”
We won’t be holding our breath.
“The behavior is egregious and the idea of disciplinary action is to send a message, not only to that deputy but to all deputies in the department, that conduct that is inappropriate will not be allowed,” said Karson. We agree.
While a cop challenging an elderly man to a fight may sound crazy, TFTP has reported on several incidents in which this has happened before. In fact, one of these incidents took place just down the road from this department in San Antonio, TX.
SAPD officer Matthew Belver arrested Eloy Leal for allegedly interfering with the duties of a public servant — a charge often associated with officers not wanting to be questioned or filmed. Leal was handcuffed and placed in the back of the cruiser for just a few moments before Belver began antagonizing him.
The video begins as Belver challenges Leal to a fight. The officer says that he’ll remove Leal’s handcuffs so the pair can fight.
“As soon as they come off, I’m gonna beat your a**, that’s what I’m going to do. You ready?,” Belver is heard saying.
After he removes the handcuffs, Belver continues, “There you go, there you go, now you can get out. Let’s go, run, do something, do something.”
Leal, knowing full well that Belver will be immediately backed up by the other officers on the scene if he takes a swing and possibly killed, refuses to fight. Instead of engaging in violence with the deranged officer, Leal apologizes for any disrespect.
His unwillingness to fight lands Leal back in handcuffs and back in the squad car.
Citizens of Texas, beware, cops like to abuse their authority and challenge people to fights, knowing full well they are backed by their fellow cops and the ability to kill with impunity.