Police drop charges after Black teenager arrested while walking home amid winter storm

Police in Plano, Texas, dropped charges against a Black teenager after he was arrested last week while walking home amid a winter storm. 

Police officers were called last Tuesday to perform a welfare check on high school senior Rodney Reese, 18, after he was seen walking in a short-sleeved t-shirt with no jacket in freezing temperatures at approximately 10:45 p.m.   

But body camera footage released by police in Plano shows the incident quickly escalated after Reese refused to stop to talk to officers. The teenager is seen apologizing for walking in the road in the video before struggling against police and being handcuffed.

He was taken into custody and held overnight in jail on a misdemeanor charge of a pedestrian in the roadway.

But Plano Police Chief Ed Drain said in a Monday statement shared on Facebook that the charge was dropped because “Our officers were on a welfare call. The arrest wasn’t consistent with the reason officers were there, to provide assistance.”

The chief also “initiated an administrative inquiry” following the incident “to evaluate our policies and procedures and to see if there need to be policy adjustments,” according to the Monday statement.

Reese said during a Monday press conference that he did not stop to talk to the officers as he was walking home from his job at an area Walmart because he “wanted to go home,” NBCDFW reported.

“That’s why a young Black man like me, we scared of the police because they kill and arrest us,” Reese said. “That’s why I didn’t want to answer a question.”

Reese’s mother, Rachel Brown, said during the press conference that “He worked a late shift and he was rewarded with a night in jail. To me, that eats me up inside,” NBCDFW reported.

“He probably rang up groceries for some of those officers’ wives or family that night,” Brown said. “He stayed over late because there were so many people that called into work that day because the roads were so bad. And they asked him can you stay over to help us get the store ready for the next day and he said, ‘I’ll do it.’”

“It just kills me. I’m disturbed inside to know that my child, who’s big, this is my child. This is my child! This is my baby. He’s big but this is my baby and to see him being arrested, violated the way he was… I moved to Plano for a reason,” Brown added. “And that reason backfired on me.”

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere (R) said in the Monday statement that “We respect and trust our police officers and at the same time expect the highest level of professionalism.”

“This incident highlights an opportunity for us and the entire community to realize we all can do better in strengthening the relationship between Police and the African-American community.  We are committed to understanding what we could have done better and how we can move forward in a constructive manner.  Communication and dialogue is important and we look forward to better outcomes in the future,” LaRosiliere said.


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