HOUSTON – A Harris County grand jury indicted two Baytown police officers and a detention officer for their involvement in the July 2019 assault of Kedric Crawford, according to a press release from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Teddy Sims, Samuel Serrett and Shane Dunlap were all indicted for first-degree felony aggravated assault.
“Nobody is above the law, including those who have a duty to enforce the law,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. “Prosecutors presented all the evidence to grand jurors who decided that these defendants should be charged with a crime.”
On July 6, 2019, Crawford said he was wrongly arrested and badly beaten by Baytown police officers in a parking lot on the 6400 block of Garth Road. According to Crawford, he pulled into the lot to put an address into his phone’s GPS when he was confronted by police.
According to the body camera video later released to the public, police were investigating suspicious behavior from Crawford. Police said that Crawford was backing in and out of a parking space, so they asked if he was drunk.
“I’ve been contacted because you’ve been here for a while and you back out. You went back over here. You backed in. Just making sure you’re not drunk or something,” the officer said in the video.
Crawford told police no, and then they asked if he had any weapons in the car. He replied no.
“No, I was looking for something in my car,” Crawford said in the video during the altercation.
Then the officer asked to pat Crawford down and search the vehicle, which he allowed.
According to court documents, the arrest came after an officer “located several pills in individual bags consistent to narcotics distribution.”
But Crawford said the pills were antibiotics prescribed to him after a spider bite. Moreover, his charge of aggravated assault on a peace officer has nothing to do with drug possession of any type. Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who represents Crawford, said the incident is another example of excessive force by the Baytown police, who was also highly scrutinized for the death of Pamela Turner.
Following Crawford’s arrest, several agencies, including Baytown Police Department, the Texas Rangers and the Harris County District Attorney’s Civil Rights Division, launched investigations into the case, which is now being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Clark. The charge carries a penalty of 5 to 99 years or life in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000, according to the release.
The Sims and Serrett turned themselves in on Friday, according to their attorney. On Tuesday, all three bond conditions were read in court, which stated that the defendants cannot leave the state of Texas. The next court appearance is scheduled for October.
Dunlap also appeared in court for his bond hearing.
Attorney UA Lewis represents Crawford, who has filed suit in Federal Court. Lewis said the indictment came as a surprise, one she welcomed.
“A serious crime had been committed,” Lewis said.
She told KPRC 2 her team pushed for nearly two years to get this case investigated.
“We reached out to so many agencies trying to get some attention to this crime. From the Department of Justice to the Texas Rangers. Harris County District Attorneys Office and it was like a lot of silence,” she said.
Lewis said body-worn camera video unreleased to the media clearly shows the extent to which her client was brutalized.
“You can see how Mr. Crawford was actually passed from all three of these defendants around and placed in chokeholds and punched, tasered, and kicked,” Lewis said.
Watch the full video below: