He El Paso, TX — Move over Andy Griffith, the age of the Judge Dread lawmen is upon us. An El Paso, Texas police officer was caught on camera pointing a loaded weapon at a group of children who appear to range in age from 7-12.
The viral video now circulating the internet quickly caught the attention of local media who reported on the story, yet with few details. Since law enforcement action involving children is protected under privacy laws to maintain the identity of the children as confidential, the identity of the children will likely never be known. As a result, it is unclear why the older teenager was being arrested but the video shows an El Paso officer holding the teen in a squatting position on the ground.
The children began encroaching on the two officers’ position and, apparently, the officer felt such fear for his life he drew his service weapon, a loaded gun, and pointed it at the heads of the very young children surrounding both he and his partner telling them all to “back-up.” It may have been the first time in their entire lives a loaded weapon was pointed at them, and the threat was perpetrated against them by a so-called “officer of the peace.”
Unfortunately, the threat of violence by police did not stop with a gun being pulled on the group. The officer then took out his baton and threatened to beat the children with it. Ironically, the group of kids and teenagers seemed more afraid of the metal rod than the gun. All children present began cursing at the officer with language which would make the proverbial sailor blush.
A teenager who was filming the incident was also detained and presumably arrested for exercising his constitutional rights to film police while engaged in their official duties. This is called holding police accountable for their actions and without that young man’s bravery the world would have never known El Paso police effected a deadly threat on little children.
The arrest, threat of deadly violence, and brutality was followed by a menacing threat to go over to a woman’s house who was questioning the officer’s training and actions. She said, “Do your job!” The officer then told the adult woman, “I know where you live.” Firing back she showed she was not intimidated. “I don’t care. I’ll move!” She promised.
It is still unknown what alleged crime the teenager was suspected of having committed. But even if the teen had just committed a serious crime, there was no need for the officer to confirm the community’s fears and perceptions of police officers as killers. At no time did it appear the police officer used any kind of deescalation training.
It is not a crime to film police and document their public arrests. It is not a crime to hurl profanities at police officers. It is not a crime to plead for mercy as a friend or family member is getting arrested. But it is a crime to pull a gun and point it at little children. That is, of course, unless you’re a police officer. Then you can get away with it.
Update: TFTP was one of the first news media outlets to publish this story in its entirety along with the accompanying video. The El Paso Times was able to obtain more information related to the incident. The officers were responding to a criminal trespassing call and the suspect was in custody when the filming began. El Paso PD would not comment on their officer’s actions (pulling a gun and threatening children with both the gun and the baton) but said he’s been placed on “desk duty” pending the internal affairs investigation. The El Paso Times writes:
El Paso Deputy City Manager Dionne L. Mack and El Paso Police Department spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said at a news conference Saturday that the incident is under investigation.
The incident resulted in one adult and a minor being arrested for interfering with the duties of a police officer, Carrillo said. No injuries were reported.
The officer who pulled out his weapon has been placed on “desk duty” as the police department’s Internal Affairs Division investigates the incident. No timeline has been set for when the investigation will be completed.