Police investigating after viral video claims officers used excessive force

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jul 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:48-04

Warning: Profanity used in video

A 21-year-old man and his family are claiming Waco Police Officers used excessive force when they responded to an assault on Monday.

The incident happened on the 5200 block of Bagby Avenue at the Residence Apartments around 4:10 p.m. 

The family of Jose Gonzales posted a video on Facebook of the encounter. The video had over 42,000 views on Tuesday.

Gonzales claims he went to the scene after his nephew told him over the phone that an adult he didn't know shoved him and threatened to hurt him. After that conversation, the Waco man said he called Waco Police.

According to Waco Police, Gonzales was arguing with a security guard when they arrived, and when officers tried to talk to him, he attempted to leave.

"I was not walking to walk off. I wanted to cool down. I was heated because that guy touched my nephew, they were treating me wrong, they were treating me like I was the suspect," Gonzales said.

Toward the end of the video, two officers pushed Gonzales to the ground and put handcuffs on him. During the encounter, you can hear Gonzales telling officers he has a bad knee.

“I felt like my rights were taken away from me. I felt disrespected,”  Gonzales said. “[They] never told me ‘stand here, you are going to be detained.” 

 Gonzales, who has served in the Texas Army National Guard, went to the emergency room where doctors told him his knee was injured and gave him an excuse from work for a week.

Waco Police said Gonzales was detained after his encounter with police officers but was later released because there was not enough probable cause to make an arrest.

“When they took him into custody or detained him, they were trying to ascertain whether he was involved in the disturbance or not,” Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt said.

Gonzales and his family filed a complaint against the officers. Waco Police said at this time, the department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

"What we really have to do is a thorough investigation, to the total of the circumstances. What the subject believed, what the officers knew when they arrived and really see what the circumstances were and take appropriate action," Holt said.

Chief Holt released this statement on Tuesday:

“The Department is aware of a video circulating on social media that shows a brief portion of an encounter of two of our Officers with a citizen. On 07/02/18, Officers were dispatched to a disturbance in progress at an apartment complex on Bagby Avenue. As Officers were responding, they were notified that the disturbance was between employees of the apartment complex and several subjects who had arrived by cars after a subject was asked to leave the apartment complex. The calls to 911 also reported that an employee of the complex had been assaulted and threatened with further violence.

When Officers arrived and were trying to ascertain the specific circumstances of the disturbance, a subject, who was arguing with apartment security when Police Officers arrived, attempted to leave the property and the video shown on social media captures the moments related to the investigatory detainment. The subject lodged a complaint to our Department on the scene and the Supervisor notified the PD’s Professional Standards Sergeant. The Professional Standards Sergeant has contacted the family involved to obtain a copy of the video and an investigation into the totality of the interaction will be conducted.

We take all investigations seriously and we will conduct a thorough and complete investigation in this case as well. At the conclusion of the investigation, we will take appropriate actions based on the facts of the incidents."

According to Holt, the two officers involved will continue working while the investigation takes place, which is expected to last no more than six months.

The assault initially reported to police ended with several people receiving written criminal trespass warnings. Those documents warn those that they could be arrested if they go to the apartment complex and step onto their property if management doesn't want them there.

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