LA MARQUE

A La Marque woman is filing a complaint against the La Marque Police Department after a traffic stop for rolling a stop sign led to her two daughters being handcuffed and searched.

Police Chief Kirk Jackson defended the department after reviewing tapes from the officers’ body cameras. Jackson said the officers had followed the department’s standards and protocols for nighttime stops.

As part of an effort to get tougher on drugs and guns, Jackson said, police are asking people pulled over during traffic stops if they have narcotics or weapons.

There’s some discretion of the officer as to whether a search continues based on circumstances, such as the time or where the person is stopped, Jackson said. It was difficult to say how often this resulted in a search, Jackson said.

“I’m not going to say ‘typically’ and not going to say it never happens,” Jackson said. “It depends on a number of factors and is up to the officer to see if more field investigation is warranted.”

But to the women stopped and their parent, the women had been humiliated, treated unfairly and racially profiled during the course of a routine traffic stop. Upstanding and responsible citizens were being assumed to be criminals without reason, said Valencia Tyler, mother to the two women pulled over and a Galveston educator.

“As a parent, I’ve taught my kids to respect police but it’s not reciprocated,” Tyler said. “I hate that my daughters were traumatized.”

“If this is a policy and how you’re handling stops, this is unacceptable,” Tyler said. But she had doubts all stops would be handled similarly, she said. “If this was a little old white lady, you’re telling me she is going to go through all of this?”

The dispute stems from a traffic stop around 1:30 a.m. Thursday on Cedar Drive near Cedar Drive and Westward Avenue in La Marque. A police officer pulled over two sisters traveling home, 29-year-old Jalessa Burton and 25-year-old Dexavier Taylor, for allegedly failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign.

After taking insurance information and both women’s drivers licenses, the driver and passenger were asked whether they were carrying drugs or weapons, said Taylor, a Galveston teacher and passenger in the car. The women replied “no,” she said.

A second police unit had arrived at this point, she said. The first officer asked to search the car, Taylor said. Taylor, the passenger, said she denied consent to search her car. The officer asked the women to step out of the car for a pat down, Taylor said. A K-9 unit, the third police car, arrived shortly after, she said.

The officers patted down the women and did not find weapons, police said. A dog sniffed the perimeter of the car and alerted the officers at two points, Jackson said. The women were then told they were not being arrested but “detained” in handcuffs, Jackson said.

“We were embarrassed and we were scared because we’ve never been in handcuffs before,” Taylor said.

The dog and officer proceeded to search the car while the women remained in handcuffs beside the car in the rain, Tyler said. There were no drugs or illegal substances found in the car, Jackson said. Police removed the cuffs and told the women to sit in the car while officers wrote a traffic citation for failing to stop, Taylor said.

Jackson said placing people in handcuffs when they’re not under arrest is a procedure done for officer safety and to ensure the person doesn’t run.

“I can’t look at you and say ‘You’re an upstanding person’ because that kind of assumption can get us killed,” Jackson said.

The situation was unreasonable and did not call for handcuffs, Taylor and Tyler said.

“If you’ve seen my daughters you know there is no reason to be threatened or afraid of them,” Tyler said, noting the women’s dispositions, short-statures and education.

Tyler and Jackson met Friday morning to discuss the issue. Tyler said she was seeking a formal apology, which she said she did not get. She said she planned to have an attorney review the records for civil liberty violations.

“I’m going to pursue this; this is not about me getting someone fired or the win-lose but about responsibility,” Tyler said. “All I can see is this happening over and over again and if nothing is done my daughters won’t be the last.”

Jackson said the officers had acted appropriately and said the department knew people would be upset by the efforts to increase policing.

“I know they didn’t like the situation and I don’t know anyone who would enjoy that situation,” Jackson said. “The thing is, we’ve got a problem with drugs and weapons. If we just pull over a car, write a ticket and drive away we’re never going to stop the crime that’s going on.”

Marissa Barnett: 409-683-5257; marissa.barnett@galvnews.com

(45) comments

David Shea

This technique is done for everyone's safety. I was taught the same many years ago. LEO does not have a crystal ball to alert them if you are a good person or bad. Obey the law and you will not get pulled over. Seems simple enough.

PD Hyatt

I guess not stopping at a stop sign in their opinion should not be against the law! One has to wonder what they would think if another car did that as they were going through that juction at the same time! Most laws are there for a reason....

Kimberley Jones Yancy

Does a traffic stop warrant THIS type of response by police? This seems quite excessive. Handcuffed and detained for a rolling stop? Officers "discretion" and "we can't tell who is good?" It is their right to ask that the car NOT to be searched. Is this question of "do you have drugs or weapons in the car asked at every stop?" What you do for one, you must do for all. Racial profiling and racial targeting is real in America and makes many people nervous. Simple traffic stops can mean death for some Americans. Communication is key and kudos to Ms. Tyler for talking to the police chief and going to the source so understanding can be found. I grew up in Clear Lake and I can guarantee you young white women aren't handcuffed and detained, asked about drugs and weapons possession, car searched by dogs for a rolling stop sign violation on a daily basis. It's not the norm. And it should not be the norm in La Marque. This is ludicrous! Obey the law, yes AND apply the procedures and punishment equally and fairly. Is it 2017 or 1917?

Carlos Ponce

Sounds like someone is playing the Race Card again.
The drug dogs in the school parking lot indicated something in my car and the principal's car as well as some student's cars. All agreed to a police search. The student's car revealed marijuana which the teen denied was his. My car revealed a small bottle of Advil. The principal's car revealed a spent shotgun shell from his hunting trip a weekend before.
Bottom line, if the police ask to look in your car, let them. Refusing to may be your right but makes you look like you're hiding something.
Justice is blind to race. Unless you have proof the La Marque police are treating people differently because of race, you're just playing the RACE CARD.

Kimberley Jones Yancy

Again Carlos that is offensive to make racism seem like a card game. Smh... Please illustrate some intelligence and professionalism. Or perhaps racism IS a game to you.

Carlos Ponce

So stop making it a game. Crying RACISM when there is NO EVIDENCE of such is nothing to be toyed with and you are definitely playing it as such.

Gehrig Boone

After all it is La Marque. Middle of the night. The STOP sign means just that. The article says the women are educated, guess they skipped the meaning of STOP in school.

Charlotte Wood

I personally think this is a good thing. La Marque has more drugs & guns floating around it & definitely needs cleaning up. If this is their protocol ESP after dogs smell something then needed to be done. Don't do anything against the law & they won't pull you over.

Kimberley Jones Yancy

Charlotte they did not smell anything when they asked to search the car according to the report. We must be fair. Would you think this was right if your granddaughter had to endure this for a rolling stop?

Carlos Ponce

The dog smelled something.
In the past in HHS, drug dogs would always point at a locker where there were drugs years before. The drugs were long gone but their sense of smell is so keen they could still smell it. Perhaps that's what happened here. An HHS Assistant principal's truck was stolen. When the police caught up to the culprits the smell of marijuana was strong. They warned him no matter how good the truck was cleaned, even by professionals, the drug smell would probably be there. They recommended he sell the truck.
Any relative of mine would not say to the police they could not search the vehicle.

Emile Pope

Totally wrong and unconstitutional...

The law states that the officer could only hold them for the time it takes to write a ticket. Furthermore, you cannot order someone out of their vehicle and search them simply because they don't give consent to be searched. Finally, law enforcement cannot hold someone hostage until they manage to call in a police dog to sniff search them. They could have had a pound of cocaine in the car and it would have all been thrown out because of an illegal search. A case similar to this where the person was pulled over for a traffic infraction and when they refused to allow their car to be searched, the cop kept them there until they could get a police dog to arrive and sniff search. The Supreme Court ruled for the defendant. What the cops did was unconstitutional...

Carlos Ponce

"While police generally need a warrant to search you or your property — during a traffic stop, police only need probable cause to legally search your vehicle. Probable cause means police must have some facts or evidence to believe you’re involved in criminal activity."
https://www.flexyourrights.org/faqs/when-can-police-search-your-car/
The dogs indicating something was there showed probable cause.
Good to hear from you again, Emile.

Emile Pope

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodriguez_v._United_States

Emile Pope

Why was the second car called for a routine traffic stop? Why were they ordered out of the car after they refused to consent to a search? It seems that the cops were determined to search the car regardless of what the driver said. Finally, why was a police dog called to sniff search the car? There was nothing said about the cops smelling marijuana so why was it necessary to search the car or call a police dog? Is this routine procedure whenever someone commits a traffic infraction? If not, why was it done in this case. The actions of the police involved were totally wrong and nothing found could have been used against the occupants. It would have just been a waste of the prosecutor's time...

Carlos Ponce

"Why was the second car called for a routine traffic stop?"
Who said it was called? Maybe they were just responding to what was on the police radio at 1:30 am, an hour and a half after midnight. The dark of night is perilous to any lone officer. If it had been GPD Officer Emile Pope (may he rest in peace) wouldn't you want someone watching his back?
"Police Chief Kirk Jackson defended the department after reviewing tapes from the officers’ body cameras. Jackson said the officers had followed the department’s standards and protocols for nighttime stops." Protocols for nighttime stops.

Lois J Carelock

It’s not about race; it’s about breaking the law. The last time I checked…rolling, or running, a stop sign is against the law.

Not long ago, I saw a white person handcuffed outside of his truck in broad daylight while officers checked out the situation. Was that racial profiling?

Let the police officers do their job! Abide by the laws, comply with the officers requests, and be respectful! Breaking the law and being defiant will get you nowhere…no matter your race.

Thank you, LMPD, for increasing policing in La Marque. It helps make a safer place for all of us to live, work and play.

Kimberley Jones Yancy

It's excessive -period. 2 cars and a police dog for a traffic stop? And it's happening too often. People are afraid, perhaps they should not be but they are and by the way they were NOT disrespectful in any way. They just refused a search based on there RIGHT to do so. They answered the questions so what type of other crime did the officer believe they had done. The fastest growing population in American prisons NOW are African-American women. You simply have no clue because it's not your daily reality. LMPD should administer justice fairly and KNOW the law. Racism has been justified under the veiled coat of "discretion."

Carlos Ponce

"by the way they were NOT disrespectful in any way" To make that assertion you must have been an eyewitness in the matter, otherwise it's just an assumption.

Kimberley Jones Yancy

Why is the assumption that they WERE disrespectful? Why is the assumption that there were drugs in the car and by the way every teacher that works in a school may not have received a certificate yet or may be a paraprofessional teacher. So of course, the next step is to discredit the victim. So classic and racism 101. The most dangerous threat to our democracy is a person that does not value the noble cause of equality and justice for all. When people believe that a one race of people are inherently violent and disrespectful then they can justify why the jails and prisons are full of them; not that the system needs to be fixed or the laws unconstitutional; or sentencing is not fair - it makes it easier to look the other way which is what America loves to do...The recent social movements jerked everyone's attention to take a stronger look and do something about it.

Carlos Ponce

I never made the assumption that the young ladies were disrespectful. One cannot assume one way or the other.Unless you were an eyewitness you are just making assumptions. Now, you can post, "I know the young ladies and believe they were respectful based on their character." But you cannot say they were respectful or disrespectful unless you witnessed the event.
I was correcting the record, not discrediting the woman. PEIMS clerks are wonderful people and serve an essential part of Texas schools. Nothing I posted about the internet search was incorrect.
The police were following nighttime protocol. No assumptions of illegal activity were made, just following procedure. If the protocol is wrong that can be corrected. One should not blame the police for doing their job. Now if you have evidence that people violating traffic laws after midnight were treated differently based on their race then you can allege racial profiling. Otherwise.......[rolleyes]

Michael Guarino

Unless some other facts are being left out of this story, what happened to the two occupants of the car is very troubling to me. A traffic stop of this nature with no other probable cause to believe that another more serious offense is being committed or actions by the occupants that are threatening to the officer should not result in the handcuffing of the driver and passenger of the car. I am very supportive of law enforcement and am a strong proponent of good law enforcement having served as Galveston County Criminal District Attorney for 20 years but I do not agree with what happened here.

Jennifer Lawrence

Let the police do their job. I'm glad we have them. People need to get over taking things so personally. I'm glad they are going the extra mile to investigate. I echo "follow the law and you have nothing to worry about". Tired of people not supporting them. Get over yourselves, their job is hard enough.

Donna Fraley

I couldn't have said it better!

Kimberley Jones Yancy

Wow! No words.

Emile Pope

“I know they didn’t like the situation and I don’t know anyone who would enjoy that situation,” Jackson said. “The thing is, we’ve got a problem with drugs and weapons. If we just pull over a car, write a ticket and drive away we’re never going to stop the crime that’s going on.”

That's exactly what the Constitution says you have to do...unless you have evidence that they have committed some other crime. The fact that there may be drug crime in this country does not give law enforcement the right to violate people's constitutional rights. What those officers did was an illegal search. The driver had no obligation to consent to a search and their refusal cannot be used against them in any way. Ordering them out of their car, searching them, having a police dog to sniff search their car, and then searching their car is not something allowed in America. And after all that they wrote a ticket anyway!!!

They'll be lucky if they aren't sued...

Carlos Ponce

"What those officers did was an illegal search....Ordering them out of their car, searching them, having a police dog to sniff search their car, and then searching their car is not something allowed in America."
Please read the Supreme Court decision in Illinois v. Caballes (2005).
"First, the majority [of the SCOTUS] pointed out that the initial stop was valid based on probable cause that the defendant had violated traffic laws. Next, they reasoned that the Troopers had sufficient cause to detain the defendant until they could issue him a traffic citation. In contrast to the Illinois Supreme Court, the majority here determined that use of a narcotics-sniffing dog did not alter the nature of the stop, unless use of the dog itself violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Conclusion: Police officers may use drug-detecting dogs during the course of a routine traffic stop consistent with the Fourth Amendment so long as they do not prolong the duration of an otherwise valid stop."
http://www.4lawschool.com/case-briefs/illinois-v-caballes
Justice Ruth Vader Ginsburg dissented.

Emile Pope

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodriguez_v._United_States

Emile Pope

"so long as they do not prolong the duration of an otherwise valid stop."

Carlos Ponce

The bodycam video will indicate the time it took from pull over to ticketing. The Chief found no problem with the time nor anything else.

Carlos Ponce

"Taylor, a Galveston teacher and passenger in the car...'
A web search shows Dexavier Taylor is a PEIMS/ Case Management Clerk at Galveston ISD.
No Dexavier Taylor is found on the SBEC list of certified Texas teachers.

Cary Semar

When a black person fights for their rights, we all benefit, because he or she cannot defend their rights without defending the rights of all.

Emile Pope

Rodriguez v. United states:

Writing for a majority of the Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg held that "a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures."[2] Consequently, a traffic stop becomes unlawful if "it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete the mission of issuing a ticket for the violation."[25] Justice Ginsburg wrote that the purpose of the initial stop in this case was to investigate why Rodriguez swerved out of his lane of traffic.[26] Therefore, the officer's authority to continue the stop ended once he completed his investigation of that infraction.[26] Because the dog sniff was unrelated to the investigation of the original traffic infraction, the officer should not have extended the stop absent "independently supported reasonable suspicion" for the dog sniff.[27] The Court then remanded the case to the Eighth Circuit to determine whether the officer did, in fact, have an independent basis for conducting the dog sniff.[

Carlos Ponce

No indication in this article that the La Marque case was "a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter" since the ticket was not issued until after the dog search. WOOF!

Samuel Collins III

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/19/police-stop-black-and-latino-drivers-more-often-than-whites-stanford-study-finds/

Samuel Collins III

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/05/health/police-language-race-oakland-study/index.html

Samuel Collins III

For simple traffic stops is it too much to ask that officers just issue a ticket or warning and let people go on their way? If my brake light or license plate light is out I may not know because I am probably driving the vehicle at the time it is being operated and not behind it to see that the light is out. If the policy is to cut crime by making sure you stop all criminals because of minor driving violations we need some new policies.

Emile Pope

During a traffic stop, the cop can only hold the driver for the time it takes to write a ticket unless there is evidence of another crime. The minute the cop prolonged the stop by ordering the passengers out of the car after they refused to consent to having their car searched, searching them, and then holding them there until a police dog arrived it became unconstitutional. And it can't be justified by writing a ticket at the end and claiming that all of the actions beforehand were included in the time to write the ticket. The time starts when the car is stopped, not when the cop starts to write the ticket. And the Police Chief's statement doesn't help their case.

Carlos Ponce

"Jackson said the officers had followed the department’s standards and protocols for nighttime stops."
The Chief saw and reviewed each body cam video. You didn't.

Emile Pope

The Police Chief has a built in bias. And the Supreme Court couldn't care less what he believes. Their opinion counts and it said that the cops actions were unconstitutional...

Carlos Ponce

"The Police Chief has a built in bias."
Really, Emile? If the body cams show something that was not in line with what the Chief reported then his job would be in jeopardy.
"the cops actions were unconstitutional..." If the pullover, dog sniff and ticketing were done in a timely manner then it was Constitutional. What does Emile think is a timely manner? 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes or what? Should police carry a stopwatch with them? The only references to time were the time of the incident (1:30 a.m.) and when the second unit arrived (shortly). So you are making assumptions not based on facts. The fact is the Chief viewed the body cam video and determined everything was appropriate, time involved included.

Carlos Ponce

The Rodriguez pullover was 29 minutes. How long was this one? You don't know.

Kimberley Jones Yancy

Its amazing to me that some people on this blog call themselves Christians and yet show no love by their actions toward ALL people. John 13:35 says "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
God is a lover of Justice and He does not play favorites. Is this the same chief who justified the disrespectful treatment of a La Marque Methodist preacher, his wife and elderly mother in broad daylight leaving church last summer?

PD Hyatt

You are so correct.... I have seen many of those so called Christians cursing the police and any government official that they can think of.... God does love justice and being fair, but He also loves it when BOTH sides do what they claim the other one isn't doing.... If you don't want to be pulled over then please STOP at the stop sign and obey all traffic laws.... If the laws are not good for society then please contact your Reps and get them to wipe those laws off of the books so that people do not have to obey laws that you do not like....

Carlos Ponce

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So quit hating the police.

David Doe

Same Old Story: Someone Breaks the Law and instead of taking Personal Responsibility they Claim Victim! It's A shame that our parents are Teaching kids this type of behavior. This woman has NO recourse other than to Apologize to her children for Breaking the Law and being Called on it. Anyone that Defends this type of behavior is part of the Problem. Start being part of the Solution, respecting Law and Law Enforcement!

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