Immediate Termination of the Officers involved in the unjustified arrest of Rodney Reese
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Last week high school senior Rodney Reese was walking home from working overtime at his neighborhood Walmart when officers from the Plano Police Department responding to a Welfare check spotted Reese.
The officers pulled up next to Reese and repeatedly asked him “If he was okay and where is he going”? Reese, holding a Walmart bag with his work uniform inside, informed them multiple times that he was going home, that he is fine, and doesn’t need a ride. Nonetheless, the officers continued to relentlessly harass Reese as he continued walking home in single digit freezing temperatures. Officers left their vehicle and began following him on foot. They repeatedly told him they were there to help him, but Reese politely declined their help and kept heading towards his house. Reese who was understandably tired and freezing didn’t want to be subjected to further harassment through repetitive questions. When the officers did not receive an answer to when they asked him what’s his name, their demeanor changed in the blink of an eye.
The officers continued to follow him for a long distance and repeatedly tried to get him to stop him and provide answers they knew they weren’t legally entitled to. The Female officer can be heard saying, “Sir, you need to talk to us”, even though this officer knew it was well within his legal right not to speak to them. The officer asked him where his home was, and Reese did not answer. Given the horrid weather conditions that night, and Reese only wearing a short sleeve shirt coming off an extra long work shift, it was more than understandable that Reese just wanted to be home and warm.
In the body camera video released on Facebook by the Plano Police Department, Reese can be heard repeatedly telling officers that he's fine and is going home. But for more than two minutes, the officers continued to follow Reese down a dark alley which would cause a child of any race to feel terrified, let alone a black kid. The officers without any probable cause that Reese had committed a crime, blocked Reese from walking any further. The female officer then continued to put her hands on Reese despite him politely asking her to stop. An officer is then seen and heard saying “We’re conducting an investigation.” Reese then stated “I don’t care. I’m going home.” The officer then unjustifiably told Reese “And you are officially detained”. The officers then ganged up on Reese to put him in handcuffs.
The officers wrapped this unjustified harrassment around charging Reese with walking in the middle of the street. Officers charged him with this Class C misdemeanor and arrested him even though they were more than aware the extremely icy sidewalks would force anyone to do the same for their own safety. Reese even explained this to the officer, and she replied “You caused a whole lot of something out of nothing.” This statement alone by this officer made it clear there was no justifiable reason to follow, harass, and interrogate Reese who was simply walking home.
Rodney Reese is an exemplary high school kid, an essential worker, without a blemish on his record. It is indisputable that Reese was targeted simply because of his race. It is without question this unwarranted and unjustifiable treatment would not have occurred if an older white lady was in the same position walking to her home. The body camera footage released leaves no doubt this was exactly the case. The officers involved asked Reese several repetitive questions that he willingly answered. However, they continued to attempt to force Reese to stop walking in single digit temperature and subject him to further questioning he wasn’t obligated to answer. The officers were called for a Welfare check, but lied to Reese stating they were conducting an investigation immediately before detaining him and arresting him.
Reese was forced to spend the night in jail. The charges were later dropped, but this is not nearly enough justice for a traumatic event of this magnitude. Police Chief Ed Drain even admitted “They should’ve taken him home.”
This type of racial profiling is a crisis that has an extensive history in our nation. The actions of these officers is beyond reprehensible, and now Reese will inevitably be forced to suffer the repercussions that will reverberate for the rest of his life. If these officers are not held accountable for their inexcusable actions, and TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY, then this will only make building trust with the African American community even more difficult, if not already impossible, in the most volatile time in our nation’s history. Hard working high schoolers like Rodney Reese need to be praised not harassed, interrogated, and arrested for trying to walk home in subfreezing weather.
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