Kudos to District Attorney Joe Gonzales on dropping the charges against Mathias Ometu. Mr. Ometu had been out running when police stopped him because he matched the description of a man who had committed a domestic violence assault. We understand that the officers were doing their job in stopping him. We also agree that Mr. Ometu was within his rights to refuse to identify himself. Stalemate.
So what’s the answer? Because there does need to be an answer. I don’t think forcing someone, who does not want to go and who is not under arrest, into a police vehicle and driving them to a different location is a valid answer. In fact, that sounds a lot like kidnapping. It would also make the resistance more in the self-defense realm rather than the resisting arrest or even assaulting an officer realm. I also don’t think officers can just say, ‘You don’t want to answer. Okay,’ and walk away. That’s ridiculous. Officers need to be able to do their job.
Time for New Ideas
First off, I think the mentality of resorting to force needs to addressed. Officers are too ready to act like resistance is disrespect. That’s what dictatorships do, not democracies.
Secondly, if a person is uncooperative in a manner that is within his rights, then San Antonio Police Department officials need to find an alternate way to handle a situation so that it doesn’t violate a person’s rights but also allows officers to do their job. This is on administration to fix so that officers have go to answers for situations like this.
Do they have city issued phones? Maybe one officer could have gone to the woman’s house and Facetimed with the officer who was with Mr. Ometu. They could have showed her what he looked like that way. This would have solved the issue right away. If that is not a viable solution, then maybe someone can think of some other options.
Good Move by Officers
I’m glad the San Antonio Police officers are in agreement with dropping the charges. I have reservations about whether it was as altruistic as portrayed, personally I feel they would have been destroyed in court, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they do feel this whole case will cause more animosity toward the police department, than it’s worth, especially since Mr. Ometu was never the person who was wanted in the first place. And I especially like that Chief McManus would like to meet with Mr. Ometu to, as he says, “share perspectives.” It’s always good for people to listen to each other. But the real test is in what comes afterward.
Chief McManus, how do you intend to address this situation in a way that allows our officers to do their jobs but does not violate a person’s rights in the process? We eagerly await your response.
Thanks to Attorney Victor Maas and Jenny Rodriguez for capturing the video and sharing it. Without you two, the charges would probably have gone through against Mr. Ometu.