A Texas City police officer is on desk duty after a video captured him detaining a driver for a traffic violation in a private parking lot.
About 6:30 a.m. April 19, officer Scott Harrell saw a vehicle quickly drive through parking lot spaces at Buc-ee’s, 6201 Gulf Freeway in Texas City, causing a driver of a truck to hit the brakes to avoid a crash, the video shows.
Harrell stopped the driver and warned him about his driving and the encounter escalated into an argument.
Harrell told the driver he would give him a citation, but was out of them.
The man protested by telling Harrell police cannot cite a driver for a traffic violation on private property, which is true under Texas law.
Harrell told the driver he didn’t appreciate his attitude and he was concerned his driving might be a threat.
Harrell handcuffed the driver and put him in the back of the police cruiser until a second officer arrived. The second officer had citations and Harrell issued one to the driver and released him.
The video was initially posted to the page “TxChristopher,” which has 286 subscribers, where it garnered 13,000 views. It was then picked up by the much larger channel “Rogue Nation,” which has more than 94,000 subscribers and has garnered more than 58,000 views.
The backlash from the video caused Texas City Police Chief Joe Stanton to release a statement.
“The Texas City Police Department has strict policies prohibiting officers from violating individuals’ rights,” Stanton said. “These strict policies are underscored in the city’s and the department’s policies, training and practices.
“Every incident of this kind is taken seriously and subject to review. An officer is subject to discipline up to and including possible termination for violating such policies.”
Stanton and Harrell reviewed his conduct and actions and Stanton ordered the incident to be investigated by the department’s Office of Professional Standards, according to the statement.
“This citizen encounter is still under investigation and this written statement is based on the details we know at this point,” Stanton said. “We are committed to being transparent with our community and it’s our intention to release the results of the investigation as soon as a final disposition has been reached.”
Harrell, who has been with the department since November 2018, has been placed on inside administrative duties, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Stanton declined to comment beyond the statement.
Trace Harris: 409-683-5247; The Daily News galvnews.com or on twitter at TraceH_news
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