Texas City police officer pulled from streets, under investigation after viral traffic stop in Buc-ee’s parking lot

The officer is now the subject of an internal affairs investigation

TEXAS CITY, Texas – A Texas City police officer has been removed from the streets and is under investigation amid growing controversy over how he handed a traffic stop last month.

The 23-minute traffic stop, captured on Officer Scott Harrell’s body camera, happened at the Texas City Buc-ee’s when Christopher Shull stopped to fill up with gas.

“Everyone knows you cannot write tickets for traffic infractions on a private parking lot,” Shull told only KPRC 2. I didn’t even know what to think.”

Harrell, who is a four-year veteran of the Texas City Police Department, initiated the stop on April 19 around 6:20 a.m.

“Hey man, you can’t drive through the parking lot like that,” Harrell can be heard saying on the body camera video.

Harrell claimed that Shull sped through the parking lot and cut through parking spaces on his way to the gas pumps.

“I’m not going to write you a ticket, but the only reason I’m not writing you a ticket is because I’m out of tickets right now,” Harrell said in the video.

Disregarding a traffic control device was the reason for the ticket, Harrell said, but it escalated because he said he didn’t like Shull’s attitude.

Shull could be heard questioning him about under what law he would be ticketed.

“You want to go to jail? You want to go to jail? You could go to jail for this,” Harrell said.

Three minutes later, Shull was handcuffed.

“What is the law designed to do sir? It’s designed to stop people from doing things that they’re not supposed to be doing,” Harrell said, as Shull is also heard saying saying, “I know you want voluntary compliance.”

Harrell then said, “Ok, go ahead and put your hands behind your back.”

When asked why he was being cuffed, Harrell said, “I’m concerned that you’re going to continue to do this unsafe behavior.”

“So now we’re playing Jean-Claude Van Damme future cop and you need to stop me from something I may do in the future?” Shull replied.

“It seemed to me that he wanted me to admit that he was right,” Shull told KPRC 2. “He just keeps escalating it and escalating it and trying to gain the authority to hammer me down.”

Shull asked Officer Harrell to cool off while he was sitting in the back of his patrol car, cuffed.

“You have forced my hand at this point.” Officer Harrell said on the video, “because if I don’t go and see this through to its conclusion, I know you’re going to go to the police department and file a complaint on me.”

Another officer came to the scene, which is when Shull was released.

“The other officer has a ticket book he’s going to let me use, so you’re going to be receiving a citation because I think going to jail is a bit excessive,” Harrell said in the video.

Shull posted the body camera video on YouTube May 15, which now has nearly 11,000 views. Several prominent YouTubers have analyzed and re-shared the video with tens of thousands of views on additional clips.

Shull, who said he is pro-police, called the stop unjustified and a violation of his rights.

“They need to go back and look at this guy’s body cam footage from six months, a year. It wouldn’t surprise me that he’s been operating this way for a very long time,” Shull said.I can only imagine how this guy treats people when he really has something on them.

More than a month after the incident but nine days after Shull made it public, and amid growing pressure on the department’s Facebook page, Texas City Police Chief Joe Stanton announced Wednesday that Harrell has been placed on inside administrative duty and is now the subject of an internal affairs investigation which could lead to criminal charges.

“The Texas City Police Department has strict policies prohibiting officers from violating individuals’ rights with whom the officers’ encounter,” Stanton wrote in a statement. “This citizen encounter is still under investigation and this written statement is based on the details we know at this point. We are committed to being transparent with our community, and it’s our intention to release the results of the investigation as soon as a final disposition has been reached.”

Harrell has been with the Texas City Police Department since November of 2018, according to the chief.

KPRC 2 went to the address listed for Harrell on Wednesday night. Someone stepped outside and wouldn’t identify himself, declining to answer any questions.

“You hear all this defund the police and everything, guys like him, this is this is why that happens right there,” Shull said.

Shull told KPRC 2 when he went to court last week for the disregarding a traffic control device ticket, he was offered deferred adjudication if he paid $300. He instead asked for the case to be taken to trial. He is also considering civil action against the department, he said.

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