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Temple Police to review use of force in Thursday arrest

Posted at 10:57 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 23:57:03-04

TEMPLE, TX — The Temple Police Department is reviewing the use of force by officers in an early Thursday morning arrest.

At about 3:12 a.m., an officer was conducting an area check in the 700 block of North 20th Street and observed a male subject sitting in a vehicle.

The officer made voluntary contact with the male, identified as 55-year-old Kenneth Wright, and learned that he had four outstanding misdemeanor warrants for possession of controlled substance, resisting arrest, possession of dangerous drug and theft, according to police.

At 3:17 a.m., a second officer arrived while the initial officer attempted to detain Wright.

The suspect resisted and the two were able to take him to the ground.

The suspect continued to resist arrest while on the ground and was drive stunned with an officer’s Taser, after which he complied.

A drive stun is where the Taser is applied directly to the subject without cartridges. The suspect was placed into handcuffs at 3:18 a.m.

Temple Police say as required by policy, the officers immediately called for a supervisor and EMS after the suspect was.

At 3:21 a.m., the suspect complained of back pain.

EMS arrived on scene at 3:30 a.m. and transported the suspect to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple at approximately 3:52 a.m. with non-life-threatening injuries.

Both officers also sustained minor injuries and one was treated at the hospital.

Upon a search of the vehicle associated with the suspect, officers say they located controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.

He was charged with resisting arrest and possession of a controlled substance.

While no formal complaint has been received by the Department from the suspect or family members, Police Chief Shawn Reynolds has ordered the completion of an Internal Affairs investigation.

Following the order for an Internal Affairs investigation, a family member did contact the Department to inquire about the event.

“Out of an abundance of caution and with a desire for thoroughness, an internal affairs investigation will be conducted,” Reynolds said. “We don’t yet know all the circumstances of this incident. However, at this stage of the investigation, there is no indication that the use of force was misapplied.”

Each individual use of force by a Temple police officer is documented and reviewed by supervisors to determine if it was appropriate and reasonable based on the circumstances at the time.

“As I’ve said before, officers are involved in numerous and varied interactions on a daily basis and, when warranted, may use reasonable force in carrying out their duties,” Reynolds said. “However, officers must understand and have a true appreciation for their authority and limitations. This is especially true with respect to overcoming resistance while engaged in the performance of law enforcement duties."

"The Internal Affairs investigation is not an accusation or an assumption that officers violated any policies," the TPD statement said.

This investigation is designed to determine if there were any violations of policy, procedure, or state law.

“It should also be remembered that the purpose of these investigations is to fact find and determine what occurred during this incident,” Reynolds said. “This issue is a matter of concern for both the public and law enforcement offices locally and nationally. It is critical that the Temple Police Department and its officers ensure the health and safety of our residents and each other.”

Pursuant to state law, the body camera footage of this incident is not available for release at this time.

The Texas Occupations Code generally prohibits release to the public of a recording created with a body worn camera that is related to an administrative or criminal investigation of a police officer until all criminal matters have been finally adjudicated and any administrative investigations have concluded.

More information about the Temple Police Department’s Use of Force Policy can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Department’s website.