Prairie View, TX — Several videos have recently been released showing a police officer tasing a city councilman on his knees in front of his house. Although officers accused the councilman of resisting arrest during an active investigation, the videos prove that the investigation had already ended when another cop escalated the situation and fired his Taser into the kneeling councilman’s back.
At 7:40 p.m. on Thursday, Prairie View City Councilman Jonathan Miller stepped out of his house to find Officer Pennie Goodie questioning three of Miller’s fraternity brothers on his front lawn. After practicing a step routine for Homecoming, Miller’s friends were standing by a car changing their shoes when Officer Goodie confronted them. Miller approached the officer to find out why his frat brothers were being questioned.
According to a newly released body cam video recorded by one of the officers, Miller told Goodie, “They were at my house.”
“OK, I don’t know that pulling up,” Goodie answered.
“OK, that’s fine, I’m not trying to be combative or anything,” said Miller.
“OK, I’m not either,” replied Officer Goodie. “I understand you’re coming in at the tail end of it. I just told you everything is okay. They already explained everything to me. We all discussed it. Everything’s good.”
Instead of leaving the scene after Goodie determined that no crime was being committed, Officer Kelley immediately escalated the situation by placing his hands on Miller and ordering him to step away. According to Kelley’s body cam video, the councilman initially complies while politely asking Kelley not to touch him. Although Miller takes several steps away from the scene and is not interfering with Goodie, Kelley orders the councilman to continue walking.
When Miller stops walking and informs that officer that he lives there, Kelley orders, “Go over there or you’re going to go to jail for interfering. I’m not going to tell you again. We’re not going to keep playing these games, brother.”
“You’re not my brother,” Miller responds.
Kelley continues to escalate the situation by grabbing Miller again and commanding him to turn around. According to police, Kelley and Miller both fell to the ground and began wrestling. But Miller’s friend, Brandon Wilson took out his cellphone and recorded Kelley forcing Miller to kneel on the ground with his back to the officers.
According to Wilson’s cellphone video, Miller was on his knees with his hands at his sides and not fighting when Kelley shot the councilman in the back with his Taser. Miller was taken to jail and charged with interference with public duties and resisting arrest. No charges were filed against any of Miller’s friends.
“I feel like I was checking on my line brothers, and I feel like it escalated to a situation where I was tased and it shouldn’t have come that far,” Miller said after being released from jail.
After the incident, Wilson told KHOU that he never saw Miller wrestling with Kelley. None of the videos showed Miller fighting Kelley before getting tased. During an interview, Wilson said, “Usually I would think if you’re tasing somebody, it’s somebody that’s running from the cops, somebody that’s trying to inflict harm on somebody, not somebody that’s on their knees with their arms by their sides.”
Instead of reprimanding Kelley for using unnecessary and excessive force, Police Chief Larry Johnson has defended the officer’s actions because Miller did not kowtow to the aggressive officer and act like a mindless sheep. Chief Johnson stated, “Comply with what the officers are asking you to do. Officers were conducting an investigation. They asked that you step away from the scene and allow them to finish what they were doing, out of safety for all concerned.”
But if Johnson had bothered to carefully watch his officers’ body cam videos, the police chief would have realized that the investigation was already over when Kelley assaulted the councilman. Johnson also refuses to take the officers off the street while his department conducts an investigation of the incident.
Records revealed that Goodie had transported Sandra Bland to a county jail after she had been arrested while smoking a cigarette in her car. Pulled over for making a lane change without signaling on July 10, Sandra Bland had a police Taser aimed at her face and was arrested for refusing to put out her cigarette. Booked in the Waller County Jail and charged with assaulting an officer, Bland was found dead three days later in her cell hanging from a metal hook with a plastic trashcan liner wrapped around her neck.
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