Houston, TX — In May of 2015, Lt. Cody Waller sent a nonviolent inmate to the hospital after firing a tear gas canister at close range, into the center of his chest. Waller will not be fired and faced no charges. However, the Free Thought Project has just learned that the good cop who filmed the abuse and leaked the video of it is facing two to 10 years in prison for blowing the whistle.
In a clear case of retaliation for exposing violence in his department, Elderick Brass, the officer who filmed the abuse, was indicted late last month and appeared in court last week to face felony charges for “misuse of official information.”
“You have right and you have wrong, and this is definitely wrong,” Brass told ABC13’s Ted Oberg in August 2015. “This type of behavior is unacceptable. It wasn’t warranted. You clearly see the offenders are not being aggressive; they’re not cursing at staff, they’re not doing any of that.”
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) also admitted to ‘several mistakes’ they made that night:
- The tear gas round used in the incident never should’ve been used inside. It was designed for outside use.
- The tear gas round never should have been aimed towards an inmate’s chest. Instead it is designed to be shot against a hard surface like the floor or a wall spreading the gas.
- The prison system told ABC13 it should have been shot through a slot in the dormitory door, not feet away from two groups of angry inmates with numerous corrections officers in the room as well.
However, in spite of all those mistakes, the only person being charged with a crime is the one who exposed it.
In the video taken in 2015, on May 19th, Waller walks up to a group of “largely motionless inmates” and fires the canister, striking an inmate in the chest at close range.
The searing projectile, slightly larger than a stick of butter, appears to burn a hole in the inmate as it sparks for a few seconds. He suffered burns and other injuries and was subsequently hospitalized.
Initially, Waller was placed on probation and still served in the same prison unit at Pam Lynchner State Prison. However, he is now back on full duty. Incredibly, the TDCJ says that pulling the trigger was not wrong, only that mistakes were made.
Lt. Waller displays a shocking level of savagery as he fires the canister at head level into the group of standing inmates at close range. It could have easily struck someone in the face, which would have killed or severely maimed the inmate.
The incident was prompted by a racial dispute between Hispanic and African-American inmates. The TDCJ says the latter group threatened to jump the former once the lights were out. The Hispanics then refused to “rack up” and go to bed as ordered. They did comply with orders to move away from the door and allowed staffers to walk freely. They were then cornered by Lt. Waller who shot the tear gas canister.
What this incident shows is why the proverbial ‘good cop’ is so rare. When good cops do come forward, as in the case of Brass, they are retaliated against. Brass’ only ‘crime’ was exposing brutality within his ranks — brutality that the public has every right to know exists. However, instead LT. Waller, the perpetrator of the crimes being charged, it’s the man who documented them.
In case after bloody case, cops can kill unarmed and even innocent people, on video, and never see the inside of a jail cell — often times even keeping their jobs.
Sadly, with departments across the nation upholding their reputation of vilifying anyone who dares to cross the thin blue line, it’s no wonder there is such a shortage of police willing to speak out against the atrocities we have been witnessing.
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