Humble – A video widely shared on social media shows Humble Police Officer John Cox taking a swing and knocking a man to the ground after the man called 911 for help following a bar fight.
“This may be one of the worst ones I’ve seen. That’s so blatantly wrong,” said Todd Overstreet, the attorney for Christopher Hanna.
Hanna spent 19 hours in the Humble jail before being booked into the Harris County Jail with a bloody face and his head bandaged up.
His booking photo and images shared with KPRC 2 show the extent of his injuries.
“That’s just police brutality – period. End of story,” Overstreet said.
It all started at Lloyd’s Bar in Humble back on June 24. Hanna called police after an argument in the parking lot involving two other men. He admitted to firing a gun at them at least twice. He also pointed it at a woman there.
Humble police charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon because of those actions.
“After securing the firearm, Officer Cox moved to detain the suspect, at which point the suspect backed away from the officer and refused to turn around and put his hands behind his back. Knowing the suspect had admitted to possessing and firing a firearm earlier in the evening, once the suspect continued to attempt to put space between himself and Officer Cox, the officer took the suspect down onto a patch of grass and handcuffed him without further incident. At no time did the officer strike the suspect, and it was determined the injuries suffered by the suspect were caused solely by the altercation in which he was involved prior to Officer Cox’s arrival,” Humble Police Chief Ken Theis wrote in a statement in part to KPRC 2.
But those claims are “ridiculous,” Hanna’s lawyer said.
“They must be talking about a completely different officer. Or they didn’t watch the video,” he said. “They had to have known at that point, since they secured the scene, that he had no weapons – he wasn’t a threat to them in any way.”
The video is now raising questions about Hanna’s treatment.
“This kind of nonsense is why they have an image problem,” Overstreet said.
The police department told KPRC 2 that no formal complaint has been filed in this incident by Hanna or anyone else. But Overstreet said he plans to file a complaint.
Additionally, the police department has not responded to KPRC 2′s questions about how long the officer has been with the department or if he faced any discipline related to the incident.
READ THE HUMBLE POLICE DEPARTMENT’S FULL STATEMENT:
“On June 24, 2022 at around 2:30 a.m., Officer John Cox responded to reports of a disturbance at a local bar. Upon arrival, Officer Cox confronted a highly intoxicated man in the parking lot who claimed to have been in a physical altercation with what he described as “two bikers” who began “punching (him) in the face”. The suspect had obvious injuries to his face and head. The suspect then admitted to firing a firearm at least twice at the two men with whom he was fighting. After securing the firearm, Officer Cox moved to detain the suspect, at which point the suspect backed away from the Officer and refused to turn around and put his hands behind his back. Knowing the suspect had admitted to possessing and firing a firearm earlier in the evening, once the suspect continued to attempt to put space between himself and Officer Cox, the Officer pushed the suspect down onto a patch of grass and handcuffed him without further incident. At no time did the Officer strike the suspect, and it was determined the injuries suffered by the suspect were caused solely by the altercation in which he was involved prior to Officer Cox’s arrival. Officer Cox then spoke to a female witness who stated the suspect also pointed his firearm at her, placing her in fear for her life, after he fired at the two males on the motorcycles. The suspect was charged with aggravated assault based on him threatening serious bodily injury against the female witness by pointing a firearm in her direction and self-admitting to firing a firearm at two individuals. We have reviewed the information for the purpose of launching an inquiry into the incident, but have received no formal complaint from the suspect or anyone else.”
The incident with officer Cox is being classified by former Houston police officer and now lawyer, Tom Nixon as an arrest tactic used during a case of non-compliance.
“No, he’s not exactly complying with what the officers instructions are. So, when he fails to comply and he tries to take a step back to make distance, the officer has to start thinking, ‘Is this guy about to run away on me?’” Nixon said. “It doesn’t even look like he punched him in the face. It looks like he hit him in the collar bone which is what he was aiming for in order to shift his body weight to take him to the ground.”
On Friday, Humble City Manager, Jason Stuebe released the following statement.
“I have directed Chief Theis to release the body camera footage as well as the 911 calls to KPRC in relation to the arrest of Mr. Hanna for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in an incident that occurred at Lloyd’s Bar on June 24. The City is continuing to investigate the matter. Based upon my review of the videos, it does not appear to me that Officer Cox used unnecessary force to effectuate the arrest.”
Meanwhile, Hanna’s lawyers followed up with KPRC 2 and said that Hanna was knocked unconscious by Cox but didn’t even know it until he woke up in police custody.
Hanna’s lawyers plan to file a formal complaint as soon as Monday.