Conroe police release dashcam video amid claims of brutality
CONROE, Texas – Conroe police Monday addressed claims of brutality being made by the family of a man who was arrested on Independence Day and release dashcam video of the arrest.
Police said they were called to the scene of a crash about 7 p.m. on July 4, in the 1600 block of Airport Road. They said they were met with a person who resisted arrest, and that eventually, two people, identified as Adrian Salazar, 22, and Luis Pineda, 27, both of Conroe, were arrested.
Salazar is charged with driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. Police said he admitted to having had four drinks before he rolled the pickup truck. Salazar is facing his second DWI charge as well as resisting arrest.
His family said he was scared after the accident and hid under another vehicle. When he came out from under the truck, he said the officer started hitting him.
"I was just beside the truck when the officer approached me and started punching me in the head. We fell in the ditch. He started punching me. He wouldn't stop. The officer looked like he had so much anger towards me without even me doing nothing to him," Salazar said.
The family of Salazar said police punched him more than once and also hit another man who was trying to ask the officer why he was hitting Salazar.
Salazar’s family released a short video of the arrest on social media, which shows an officer on top of a man and appears to be hitting the man.
The family said it's clear from their video that the officer used excessive force, however the Conroe Police Department said the dashcam video proves otherwise.
Police released full dashcam video of the arrest, which shows a different angle than the Salazar video.
In the nearly 10-minute long dashcam video, the officer kneels down to look under the pickup truck, asking Salazar to come out. The officer walks around the truck, at which point Salazar climbs out from under the truck, then turns away from the officer when the officer grabs him. The two become entangled, then the officer throws Salazar to the ground. The two roll into the drainage ditch alongside the road.
Salazar's arm can be seen rising up and pushing or grabbing the officer's head. The officer then gets on top of Salazar.
At that point, a man in a white shirt approaches the two. He gets closer, then the officer reaches out and punches the man, who falls hard to the ground.
The officer then appears to handcuff Salazar as onlookers yell at the officer.
"I wasn't even cussing at him. Nothing. I didn't give him no reason to start hitting me," Salazar said.
A second officer arrives to help. The first officer then brings a handcuffed Salazar over to his patrol car to search him.
Salazar says he was only hiding because he was scared after the accident and believes the officer used excessive force.
"He started punching me. He wouldn’t stop. The officer looked like he had so much anger towards me without even me doing nothing to him," said Salazar.
Conroe's police chief said the seven-year veteran officer did exactly what he was trained to do and handled himself professionally as he carried out the arrest.
He said witnesses at the scene lied about the fact that anyone else was involved in the accident and interfered with the arrest.
"That officer was just minding his own business, answering a call for service to protect the citizens of this community, and the next thing you know he's in a fight. And I think he handled himself professionally," Philip Dupuis, chief of police, Conroe Police Department, said. "When he grabs him to detain him, he spins out of it and comes at it. He grabs him and they roll into the ditch."
The Conroe police chief says the officer handled the situation as he was suppose to.
"The officer did what he was trained to do. He did an open hand, pushed him back," said Dupuis.
The chief said no formal complaints have been filed with the department about the arrest.
The officer was injured during the arrest. He will miss work for the rest of the week to recover from injuries to his hand and thumb, the chief said.
Copyright 2017 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.