Texas prosecutors drop charges against Black man arrested while jogging

Texas prosecutors dropped charges on Tuesday against a Black man who was arrested after being mistaken for a domestic-violence suspect.

San Antonio police arrested Mathias Ometu, 33, last week on two counts of allegedly assaulting a peace officer in Bexar County after officers stopped him while he was jogging and took him into custody.

County court records now show both of the charges against Ometu were dismissed. 

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Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said in a statement that he considered it the “just outcome” following his review of “all the evidence.” The district attorney did not fault the officers for Ometu’s detainment. 

“In this case, the officers did have a description that led them to believe that Mr. Ometu may have been the suspect they were seeking," he said. "However, Mr. Ometu was not that person and did not have an obligation to identify himself or make a statement. Ultimately, the officers agree that dismissal is in the interest of justice."

Witness Jennifer Rodriguez told NBC News she saw officers handcuff Ometu on Aug. 25 while he asked “What did I do?” Both she and her boyfriend Victor Maas recorded cellphone video of the situation as officers struggled to get Ometu in the vehicle, but both said the jogger was not fighting the officers. 

"This is the key to this whole thing: He wasn't being aggressive. They were being aggressive. He did not assault them," Maas said, according to NBC News. 

After the victim of the domestic assault said Ometu was not her attacker, he was cleared of domestic violence charges. But he was charged with assault after officers alleged he had kicked them during the arrest. 

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus stood by his officers in a Sunday memo to City Manager Erik Walsh, saying he determined they “acted appropriately, within their legal authority, and in a professional manner.” 

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The memo, which was published on the San Antonio Police Department’s Facebook on Tuesday, says the officers explained to Ometu that he “matched the description” of a domestic violence suspect, but he “was immediately uncooperative and antagonistic.” The chief said he “actively resisted and kicked both officers.”

“Because he kicked the two police officers he was booked for assault on a peace officer,” the chief wrote.

"Unfortunately the situation could have been resolved within minutes with any degree of information sharing with the police officers,” McManus wrote, although Ometu was not under legal obligation to identify himself.

Ometu's father, Victor, defended his son, telling NBC affiliate WOAI that "If you saw you were being approached by such a force and handcuffed, you will panic, especially when you know that you didn't do nothing wrong."