New Braunfels, TX — When police aren’t kidnapping, caging, and killing people for possessing substances deemed illegal by the state, in turn creating a criminal black market for them which drives up crime, they are out enforcing traffic laws. Any number of arbitrary traffic infractions can and will lead to your extortion, arrest, imprisonment, or in the case of Philando Castile, death. Policing for profit in the United States is the norm.
Over the years we’ve reported on stories of people being assaulted, arrested and even killed over stops for victimless crimes like dark window tint, no seat belt, and burned out license plate lights. However, in a decade of police accountability, we’ve never seen someone stopped and nearly killed for a dirty license plate — until now.
Officer Kaleb Meyer with the New Braunfels Police Department is a tyrant. When he pulled over Clarence Crawford earlier this year, his body camera captured his tyranny in action.
For having an “unclean license plate” Meyer held Crawford at gunpoint, dragged him out of his car, forced him down to the ground, tasered him in his back, handcuffed him, and then kidnapped the man. Crawford had committed no crime and harmed no one.
As the video begins, the crazed cop charges at Crawford in his vehicle, gun drawn, and begins yelling at Crawford. Crawford, knowing he had committed no crime, pulls out his phone and films, politely asking why he is being held at gunpoint.
Meyer refuses to tell the innocent man why he is about to murder him in broad daylight. When Crawford is ordered out of the vehicle, he is so terrified he just puts both hands out, continuing to film in the process.
Crawford begs the cop not to shoot him, and asks if he can release his seat belt. As soon as he releases it, Meyer drags the innocent man from the car, and then orders him to the ground.
Crawford complies with everything he is told. When told to get on the ground, Crawford takes a knee. When told to get all the way down, he gets all the way down. Like most people, however, Crawford went to the ground slowly as not to get dirty or hurt himself. This angered the tyrant Meyer, who then tasered Crawford.
After the handcuffs are on Crawford, and he is writhing from the taser, only then does Meyer tell Crawford why he attacked him.
Meyer claimed that all this force was necessary because Crawford pulled off the interstate to somewhere safe when Meyer attempted to pull him over.
“I’m not stopping on [sic] no ************ highway,” Crawford said. “I pulled over when it was safe, that’s the ********** rules! And if you want to tase me because I took that [inaudible] that is your ******* problem.”
When pressed for the reason for the stop in the first place, Meyer then tells Crawford that he had a “dirty license plate.” This was later confirmed by the police department as well. Naturally, Crawford was upset and questioned the fact that Meyer held him at gunpoint.
“I made sure I wasn’t going to get shot, because your ****** *** came up to my car with a gun,” Crawford said.
In order to justify the disgusting abuse of power, Crawford was then arrested and charged with attempting to evade and interfere with police duties. He never received a citation for a dirty license plate.
When authorities reviewed the evidence in the case, they refused to keep the charges against Crawford and they were all dropped.
Despite this incident unfolding in January of this year, the video was kept under wraps until this week. After its release, New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman and City Manager, Robert Camareno both condemned Meyer’s actions.
“We want to make it abundantly clear that the actions of the officer in the video are not acceptable to the City of New Braunfels and not representative of the men and women in the police department of the City of New Braunfels,” Mayor Brockman said. “We are working with our local Martin Luther King Jr. association, the New Braunfels Police Officers Association and the city’s newly formed Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness forum to have an open dialogue and to move forward in a positive way.”
“The actions of Officer Meyer are not acceptable to my office, to the City Council, or to the New Braunfels Police Department,” Camareno added. “Our officers are trained to be respectful, to de-escalate situations, give clear and concise commands, listen to those they interact with and only use force when the situation deems it necessary; the training and our expectations were not met during this traffic stop. The experience Mr. Crawford had with Officer Meyer is not acceptable.”
Despite the unacceptable nature of Meyer’s actions, he was never fired and quietly resigned in September. He was never disciplined by the department.