BAYTOWN, Texas (FOX 26) - A Baytown man claims he was wrongfully arrested and beaten by police over the Thanksgiving holidays for simply trying to get home from a night out.
Jorge Sotos, 33, said around 2 a.m. on Black Friday, him and his friend Oscar Rosas were leaving to head home after celebrating Thanksgiving with some friends at a bar called The Chute. Instead, Sotos said in a matter of seconds, he was stopped by police and forced to the ground in handcuffs.
Rosas captured some of the struggle on his cell phone. The video shows Sotos being pinned down by three Baytown police officers, one of them striking him in the face. Sotos said he has no idea why the officers stopped him in the first place.
"In my mind I want to know what happened. I didn't understand because I don’t speak English very good. But really I'm not trying to fight because it’s impossible for me with three guys. And when he starts hitting my face, I can’t do nothing," Sotos said.
Rosas said the officers never told the two to find an alternate ride when leaving the bar, or issue any warning prior to the struggle.
"If they had said, if you decide to go and drive, we’re going to place you under arrest. That’s fine we understand," Rosas said.
But according to Lt. Steve Dorris with Baytown PD, officers believed the two men may have been intoxicated.
"Officers tried to place him under arrest for public intoxication initially. And again, from the very onset, he was resisting," Doris said.
Doris said police wanted to ensure that the men were not getting behind the wheel. He said Sotos was told multiple times by police to get down, but was not listening or complying with their commands.
"In watching the body cam footage, this particular individual was given somewhere in the neighborhood of about 24 different commands to comply. Everything from 'stop resisting, turn around.' Then when they finally took him to the ground, he was given multiple commands to put his hands behind his back," Doris said.
Sotos was ultimately charged with interfering with public duties-- a Class B misdemeanor.
Doris said Sotos was not issued a public intoxication charge, a Class C misdemeanor, because the department typically does not stack charges and in most cases, only issues the higher charge.
Doris said public intoxication arrests do not require officers to conduct a field sobriety test because PI charges are based more on officer's observation of an individual's behavior or actions.
Sotos said he’s in the process of getting an attorney to review his case and file an official complaint with the police department.
Baytown PD said they are still reviewing the body cam video, but have not yet released the footage to FOX 26.