BAYTOWN, Texas – A video showing the arrest of a young man in Baytown has caused some outrage on social media, especially given the tense climate between citizens and authorities due to the death of George Floyd.
The video shows two Baytown officers conducting a traffic stop on Tuesday.
Skylar Gilmore and his childhood friends told KPRC 2 in an exclusive interview that they stopped to shoot video of another friend when he was pulled over because they wanted to make sure he was OK, but things escalated fast.
At one point one of the officers can be seen walking over and tells Gilmore he is under arrest “because you’re cursing in public” and slams him to the ground, kneeing Gilmore in the face.
Another person can be heard saying, “It’s illegal to talk? Freedom of speech,” to which the officer responds, “Not that speech. That’s disorderly conduct.”
Later in the video, you can see one of Gilmore’s friends slammed into the hood of a truck before the officer swears and threatens Isaiah Benavides, who was shooting the video.
“It’s not right the way everything is going on,” Benavides said. “That’s why we pulled over, so we can make sure everything is going right and we end up getting violated. We wanted to make sure they are doing their job.”
The friends don’t agree with the officer arresting them for using bad words in public because the officer did too. They said the officer used excessive force and they are angry they were treated that way.
“How can you justify handling someone for cursing like that, like the way he did?” said Dajone Mitchell.
“Especially when, right after, he said ‘I’m going to break your (expletive),” said Gilmore.
Gilmore’s mother said nobody should be treated like that.
“If it was their child, they’d be upset too just like me I’m upset. (Gilmore and his friends) are all my children,” she said.
Gilmore said people should not instinctively fear the police, whose jobs are to protect people.
“We shouldn’t feel scared when we see cops around…” Gilmore said. “Is someone else going to lose their life? (Is) someone else going to get hurt over cursing?”
Baytown Police sent out this statement on the arrests:
“On June 2nd our officers conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle in the parking lot of the Baytown Market Convenience Store located in the 2900 block of Market Street. During that stop the driver of the vehicle, 23-year-old Jostin Moore of Baytown, was arrested for traffic violations and an outstanding warrant out of Deer Park. During the course of the stop, a small crowd made up of several of Mr. Moore’s associates began to gather outside the store. Two members of that group, 24-year-old Skylar Gilmore and 23-year-old Isaiah Phillips both of Baytown, were subsequently arrested as well for Disorderly Conduct-Language for their public use of profanities during the incident. Mr. Gilmore was also charged with Interfering with Public Duties through the Harris County District Attorney’s Office for his actions during his arrest. Baytown Police Chief Dougherty has referred the incident to our Internal Affairs Division to conduct a complete and thorough review of the incident.”
The young men have organized a protest for change on Thursday at noon beginning at the Foodtown on Main.