Houston, TX — A video uploaded to Facebook over the weekend is causing quite the stir online after it has gone viral. The video shows 22-year-old Jesse Valdez, business owner and college student at Prairie View A & M University, being forcefully arrested by a deputy with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office.
The video, which was taken by Valdez’s brother, starts with Valdez on the ground with the officer’s knee in his back. The officer quickly handcuffs him, but he continues to apply pressure into Valdez’s back.
According to the police, the officer approached Valdez and his brother after seeing him on a hoverboard, which are not allowed in the mall. The mall’s policy is to ask guests who violate this rule to leave, but, according to Valdez, he was never given that opportunity.
“I rode around the mall one time before I was approached by the officer,” Valdez said. “The officer asked me to get off the Segway, and I asked him if this is a rule, or the law that I have to get off the Segway,” recalled Valdez. “Instead of politely answering my question, he used force and took me off the Segway.”
After the officer took him to the ground, he continued to dig his knee into the back of Valdez. The crowd becomes agitated as it appears that the officer is inflicting pain for no apparent reason. He even goes so far as to place the taser in the back of a handcuffed Valdez.
Eventually, multiple cops show up and the scene becomes quite tense with officers and onlookers getting physical. Not long after the calvary rolled up, did they remove Valdez from the mall.
The department has said that a use of force board will review the case to justify the officer’s actions. Police also said they are looking into potential charges against Valdez’s brother for interfering with the arrest and inciting a riot.
Apparently it becoming upset with police as they hold down your innocent brother in handcuffs and taser him in the back, is “inciting a riot.” While it is clear that he did not incite a riot, walking up to the officer and getting in his face is not the best practice.
“I’ve been watching the video over and over when I got out of jail; it brings tears to my eyes. I just can’t take it,” said Valdez, who was surrounded by his family, his pastor and community activist Deric Muhammad at a press conference on Monday.
Perhaps Houston area law enforcement could take a page from the notebook of Officer Erickson with the Elgin, IL police department. Instead of immediately escalating a non-issue into violence and an arrest, the officer could have reacted much differently, and Erickson is proof that it is possible.