Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tyler police beat wrong men

Here's an ugly case from my hometown: Tyler police allegedly used excessive force against two men in connection with a drive-by shooting with which they were uninvolved. In other words, they beat up the wrong guys.

The gist
according to AP: Two Latinos were riding together -- a young man in his 30s and an elderly gentleman -- when Tyler police began mistakenly chasing them. The driver, who was an illegal immigrant fearing deportation, sped away home where police caught up to them and beat them in front of several witnesses. Part of the event was captured on video from a police car.

Worse than the beating was the apparent cover-up. Police say just one officer was involved -- he's been suspended with pay during the investigation -- but witnesses say four other officers participated, too. In addition, Tyler police are investigating whether three different supervisors witnessed the excessive force and failed to report it. The police department is stonewalling the local newspaper, which has filed an open records request for information about the case.

All over Texas and likely elsewhere, police officers follow an unwritten rule that turned especially sour in this instance: if a suspect runs, for whatever reason, it usually earns them a retaliation beating or worse for making the officers chase them. This case offers just one example why that's a bad idea.


Anonymous said...

Woah. Didn't know you were from Tyler, too. I was born there. I actually have about four copies of that paper as an obituary I needed was in there. If you want an actual hard copy, I'd be glad to send you one.

Vince L.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yup, Robert E. Lee H.S., class of '85. I've got an electronic version of the story saved, but thanks.