Charge dropped against black teenager walking home from work in Texas snow

Police near Dallas admitted Monday they had no justification for arresting a black teenager who was walking home in the snow and had not committed a crime.

Plano police officers were called on Feb. 16 to conduct a wellness check on a man walking in the freezing cold in a short-sleeved shirt around 10:47 p.m. local time, the department said.

In body camera footage that police posted on Facebook, officers approached the person, later identified as Rodney Reese, a high school senior, and asked if he needed a ride, as the mercury was around the 18 degrees.

Reese, 18, explained that he was going home after his shift at Walmart and did not need help.

“No, I’m fine,” you could hear him say in the images. “I do this every night. I’m straight.”

Officers told him he was walking down the street and Reese apologized.

Still, officers asked him to stop walking and answer more questions. The teenager did not participate.

“We are conducting an investigation,” an officer was heard saying in the footage.

“I don’t care,” Reese replied. “I’m going home!”

“He is officially in custody,” said that officer.

Moments later, Reese is arrested and handcuffed.

Officers did not have enough evidence to detain Reese and hold him overnight for a pedestrian misdemeanor on the highway, Plano Police Chief Ed Drain said in a statement.

“Our officers were on a welfare call. The arrest was not consistent with why the officers were there to provide assistance, “Drain said.” Therefore, we drop the charges. “

Bodycam footage shows high school student Rodney Reese walking home while being questioned by police on February 16, 2021 in Plano, Texas.KXAS

During a news conference Monday, Reese’s mother said her son worked late, serving customers who needed supplies during last week’s winter storm, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.

“He probably called the grocery store for some of those officers’ wives or families that night,” Rachel Brown said. “He worked a late shift and was rewarded with a night in jail. For me, that eats me up inside.”

Reese said he acted correctly that night. When asked why he wasn’t spending more time talking to the police, Reese said, “I wanted to go home. That’s why.”

“Young black people like me are afraid of the police because they kill and arrest us,” he continued. “So I didn’t want to answer a question, I wanted to go home.”

The department said Chief Drain “has initiated an administrative investigation to evaluate our policies and procedures.”

But the department’s statement was unclear whether the officers involved had been disciplined or reassigned. A department spokesman referred those questions to the Plano Police Association, but a union representative could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said he hopes “this incident highlights an opportunity” for the police and the black community to “move forward constructively” with “communication and dialogue.”

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