LA MARQUE — What began with police responding to a loud-music call ended with an officer using his pistol to hit and subdue a man.
At a council meeting Monday, Councilwoman Connie Trube had tears in her eyes as she said she had called police on July 9 because of loud music. She asked Police Chief Randall Aragon why the responding officer needed to hit someone with his pistol.
Trube was obviously upset by the report and by the fact that the man ended up needing stitches.
“I just wanted the music turned down,” Trube said. “I had no idea it was going to turn into something more.”
According to a Use of Force report included in the La Marque City Council agenda packet, Officer Richard Dricks responded to the noise complaint after 9 p.m. on Lone Star Street. Police arrest reports also show that Elias Valencia, 40, was charged with resisting arrest, search or transport, and Armando Frausto, 21, was charged with assault of a public servant that night.
Aragon told the council that the responding officer was “jumped” by two people and his life was in jeopardy. The officer had his weapon in his hand and had to use it to subdue one of the men.
“He couldn’t get to another weapon,” Aragon said. “He had two people he was fighting with.”
Aragon said he reviewed the incident and said it was justifiable use of force.
According to the report filled out by Dricks when he responded to the loud music call July 9, he asked a man sitting in his vehicle to identify himself. The man, Valencia, fled into his residence and the officer chased after him and tried to subdue him.
The man’s son, Frausto, tried to restrain Dricks and struck him in the face before another person pulled him back and restrained him, according to the report.
Dricks drew his pistol and told Valencia to lay face down on the floor, according to the report. But Valencia failed to comply. Dricks pushed him to the floor but the man continued trying to get up.
“Due to the subject’s son actively trying to free himself from the witness, the immediate need to secure the subject in handcuffs and the lack of time to retrieve a different weapon, this officer struck the subject in the head with my duty pistol,” Dricks wrote in the report.
The man received a cut on the top of his head from the strike was transported to Mainland Hospital to be treated before being incarcerated, according to the report.
Aragon said Dricks was in a scary scenario in which he was fighting for his life. He’s been in similar situations in the past, Aragon said, and he said it was better to strike the subject with the pistol than to use deadly force.
“I feel sorry that it did happen but it was justifiable,” Aragon said. “I’d rather it be stitches than a shot.”