A video published to YouTube on Friday appears to show a police officer at a Walmart store in Houston, Texas threatening several black males with a Taser, then claiming he would arrest them, apparently because they cowered away from his weapon.
Reached by Raw Story, a Houston police spokesman said it was not one of their officers involved in the confrontation, and the man’s identity remains unknown.
“He’s an officer from a neighboring jurisdiction, but that’s not for us to say,” the spokesman insisted.
“The officer seen in this video is not a Houston Police Officer and does not work for the Houston Police Department,” another Houston information officer wrote in the video’s comments. “Officers from jurisdictions throughout the area often work extra jobs at businesses throughout the area and that is the case in this incident/video.”
In the video, the unnamed officer approaches several men who are filming outside of a Walmart, then draws his Taser after the men say that they do not have to show him their identifications. When one man reaches toward the officer, he reacts angerly and accuses him of resisting, then claims later in the video he’d already been “hurt,” although it’s not clear by whom.
The man who appeared to gesture toward the officer apparently did so out of fear that his friend might be tazed, and did quite make contact when the officer flung his arms up and knocked his hand aside.
“Don’t taze me, sir,” one man says. “Don’t taze me, sir.”
The men appear to remain calm during the confrontation, even after the officer appears to slap the camera down. “I’m sorry I scared you, but we’re not hostile people,” one of them explains. “We know our rights. We know the Constitution, sir. We know the Constitution. Do I sound illiterate?”
“You know what, I’m calling for a unit right now,” the officer replies. “We’ll see how well you know the Constitution.”
“What’s the– What’s the unit gonna do, take me to jail for knowing the Constitution?” the man answers. “For standing for my freedom?”
At the end of the video, another one of the men informs the officer that he’s a dialysis patient. “You were about to taze somebody– you don’t even know what I go through,” he says. “You might-a, coulda killed me. I’m a dialysis patient, sir! You could have tazed me and made my blood pressure go up.”
It’s not clear what happened after that, as the footage cuts off. It’s also not clear what time and date the incident occurred, but the video was published on Friday, March 30. Houston Police told Raw Story that it happened at the Walmart Super Center at 9460 West Sam Houston Parkway, but could not provide any further details.
The video’s description notes that none of the men were arrested.
This video was published to YouTube on Friday, March 30, 2012. It contains some adult language.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 5 million unique readers per month and serves more than 19 million pageviews.