Black Teen Arrested for Walking in the Street
(TX) – On February 16, 18-year old Rodney Reese was walking home from his job at Walmart. His home is only blocks away so he walks it all the time. Then a call was made to the police department. According to Fox 4, “Police said someone called, concerned, that a Black male wearing a short-sleeve shirt was stumbling along the icy conditions. It was dispatched to officers as a welfare check.”
When officer from the Plano Police Department arrived, they asked him if he was okay. Reese responds he was fine and that he was going home. He declines their assistance and to stop to speak to them further. The officers continue following, basically harassing him, for two minutes and 17 seconds before they arrest Reese on the charge of Pedestrian in the Roadway. Reese was kept in the Plano city jail overnight.
Was Racism a Factor?
Caller Gives Negative Perception of Black Teen
People will watch the video below and say Reese should have stopped and spoken to the police officers. Black people are afraid to interact with police and with darn good reason. The call was made as a welfare check, notice that the caller said the man was stumbling along. There was snow and ice everywhere. The caller could have said he was slipping and sliding. The word stumbling gives the impression of the person being impaired. If the caller actually did use the word “stumbling” as the police say, then yes, that is racist, because the person automatically jumped to a negative perception.
Police Continue to Harass Black Teen
This call was a welfare check. All the police had to do was find out if the person was okay. They made contact. They spoke to him. No, he didn’t stop to talk to them, but he did answer as he continued to walk. They would have been able to tell from his speech that he was not impaired. He declined assistance. There is no law that says you have to wear a jacket. There was no reason for them to attempt to detain him further, yet they did. Why? If they were that concerned for his safety they could have just said they understood that he didn’t want to speak to them, but they were going to follow him home just to be sure he got home safely since the weather was so bad. But no, they chose to arrest him. I doubt this would have been done to a white man.
Police Resort to Piddly Charge to Justify Arresting Black Teen
Reese was charged with Pedestrian in the Roadway, a Class C misdemeanor. In other words, a darn ticket. They took this 18-year old kid to jail for a ticket. Officers do have discretion when handling a situation. The sidewalk was snow-covered and icy. The snow on the street was flatter due to at least some cars going over it. There was no traffic at the time Mr. Reese was walking. Walking in the street was the smarter move. Instead of accepting the logical decision, they used it as an excuse to arrest him.
I would have to say yes, racism occurred throughout this whole incident.
Charge Dropped Against Teen
Police Chief Ed Drain has dropped the charge against Rodney Reese. He says it does not fit with the reason the officers were sent out in the first place. While that’s a good move, I resent that “Plano police said Reese resisted the arrest, but didn’t file that charge.” If the officers had done their job properly, there would have been no resisting. This is a charge that is being used to circumvent people’s rights.