A police officer tased a city councilman who was on his knees and had his hands to the side, in the same town where Sandra Bland was arrested. A video of the incident, which involved a female officer who was present during Sandra Bland’s arrest last July, has sparked yet another debate about excessive police force in the Texas municipality.
Last Thursday, 26-year-old Councilman Jonathan Miller walked outside of his house when he noticed three of his fraternity brothers were talking to police. In the video filmed by Brandon Wilson, he approaches the officers and makes it clear that he was “not trying to be combative.” The female officer tells Miller that his friends already explained themselves, and a male officer threatens to take him to jail if he doesn’t move away. When he’s put under arrest, Miller gets on his knees hands to his side. When he doesn’t put his hands behind his back, the male officer fires his taser.
A body cam video shot by the female officer does not capture the moment, although Miller is seen just before the taser is deployed.
Miller was charged with resisting arrest and interfering with police and brought to Waller County Jail, where Bland was discovered dead in her cell. He was subsequently released on bond the next morning.
After the encounter, the officers said that they were conducting a patrol of a neighborhood with drug activity, which is why they questioned Miller’s four fraternity brothers.
Watch the video:
“I knew the officer, [and] she knew me, so I figured if I let her know these are my guests, (it would) kind of lessen the tension,’’ Miller told NBC News. “I don’t feel like I should have been detained, or you know, arrested or anything.”
“Usually I would think if you’re tasing somebody, it’s somebody that’s running from the cops, somebody that’s trying to inflict harm on somebody, not somebody that’s on their knees with their arms by their sides,” Wilson, Miller’s fraternity brother, said.
Officers maintain that Miller was tased because he did not follow their orders. The police department is currently investigating the incident.
As for the involvement of the female officer in both highly publicized police encounters this year, Prairie View Police Chief Larry Johnson said that none of her actions have been “cause for concern.” He also noted that the local police department is small, so it is not out of the ordinary for the unnamed officer to be present at the scene.
Both Miller and Bland’s encounters have raised red flags about the amount of force used by local cops. In a video of Sandra Bland’s arrest, State Trooper Brian Encinia threatens to shoot her if she does not exit her vehicle. Minutes later, Bland is heard crying before yelling out “you knocked my head in the ground and I got epilepsy.” “Good,” Encinia responds.