On Tuesday October 7 BenSwann.com journalist was assaulted by Houston Police while attending a City Council meeting.
Tuesday afternoon I attended the public speaking session of Houston City Council to speak as part of Fluoride Free Houston. There were a large amount of people in attendance so all speakers were limited to 1 minute.
After a couple hours it was FFH’s time to speak. A couple of our speakers were upset by the lack of respect being displayed by council and the general apathy we witnessed. As one of the speakers stormed out of the back of the hall he yelled an obscenity. He walked out the door and a cop ran after him. I began filming and followed outside. I witnessed the cop grab and accost him without communication as to what was happening. I filmed the whole thing and attempted to deescalate the situation.
(Warning: Graphic Language)
Moments later two officers entered the hall and headed in my direction so I began filming. One officer repeatedly told me to get up and come out to the hall. He would not tell me why or answer any questions. He kept telling me to leave my stuff behind. He grabbed me by the arm and attempted to drag me to the hall. I walked out to the hall and stood up against a wall. My camera was smacked several times. I was shoved around. All of this before I was finally told I was being accused of “flicking off” a city council member.
As the officer became more aggressive I sat down and stopped cooperating. They eventually forced me down the hallway. Ultimately it was confirmed that I had not flicked anyone off and the cop let me go. By this point I was very upset. I had been pulled away from an important meeting, pushed around, accused of a silly “crime” and then released. I was most upset that I was missing out on my speaking time for an issue I care very much about.
After the officers removed their hands from my body, I looked the delinquent officer in the face and said “You owe me a f*cking apology.” He grabbed me again and handcuffed me and said I was under arrest. I was shoved into the elevator and taken downstairs to be harassed some more. Eventually I was let go and given a ticket for “disorderly conduct, abusive language”.
Whether viewers of the video agree with my language I hope the message is clear that police officers often react in an aggressive manner when free individuals do not immediately cower or respond without question. Law Enforcement Officers do not have extra rights while they are on duty. It is up to each of us to assert our rights and make attempts to educate officers about the need for any remaining good cops to stand against bad cops.