BAYTOWN, Texas (FOX 26) — Activist Quanell X is asking the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to investigate excessive use of force by Baytown Police Department officers.
Quanell X says Baytown police have been abusing their power for years and he wants it to end. He brought the family of one man to the police station on Tuesday and dared police to release body camera footage of the arrest that ended with the man in the hospital. Police obliged and released nearly 25 minutes of dashboard camera, surveillance video and body camera footage on YouTube the same day.
"This police department is notorious for being out of control," says Quanell. He spoke with reporters outside the Baytown Police Department building about Rafael White’s interaction with police on Jan. 23, including an incident with a K-9 officer that left visible wounds all over White’s upper arm. White and his family joined Quanell X at the police station.
"This is what they allowed the dog to do,” adds Quanell, pointing at White’s arm injuries. "This young man was no longer running. He was no longer resisting. He posed no threat. Why was this necessary?”
Police released dashboard camera video showing the incident nearly two weeks prior. In the video, White takes off running as police arrive.
Body camera footage shows officers later found him hiding in a shed.
"He said, 'Are you still resisting arrest?’” recalled White. "I said, ‘No, sir, I’m not. Both hands are behind my back. Can you please just put me in cuffs? Don’t let that dog — I fear for my life behind the dog. I’ve never been bit by a dog.’ By then, he looked at his officers, and he said, ‘Nah, sic the dog on him.’”
Police say they warned White that they would send the dog in if he didn’t come out of the shed.
"Officer Brown did not direct the dog to attack him and to attack him again," said Baytown PD Detective Lance Watkins.
Police did not release video of that initial interaction in the shed. Their video does show the K-9 biting at White’s arm.
Officers are heard yelling, “Quit fighting the dog! Quit fighting the dog!”
Later in jail, White appears fine on surveillance video as he sits and chat with police.
"What are you doing wrong, man?," an officer is heard asking.
White is heard in the video telling officers he initially ran because he had tickets.
Police took him to the hospital for his bite injuries.
"They decided to teach him a lesson with that dog of what happens when you run from the police,” says Quanell. He also says this is one of many incidents where police assaulted people needlessly.
"You just had a Baytown officer...assaulting a young man at Whataburger,” describes Quanell, referencing media reports about an incident at the fast food chain in October 2018.
In November 2018, cell phone video showed two Baytown officers holding Jorge Soto to the ground and punching him in the face. He told FOX 26 he is filing a lawsuit against the department.
Also in October 2018, cell phone video went viral online showing a Baytown officer snatching a woman’s phone and smashing it on the ground, then throwing a man to the ground when he tries to pick the phone up.
"The District Attorney’s Office needs to send a message to the Baytown Police Department: they are not above the law, says Quanell.
Police say there are simple ways to prevent an incident with officers from escalating.
"Listen to the officer’s directions,” advises Watkins. “If the officer says, 'Stop,' stop. It’s very easy."
Quanell says he will be conducting a town hall meeting on Sunday in Baytown to talk more about how to address the community’s concerns with this police force.