A Texas man claims he was left with unsightly injuries after a Grand Prairie police officer assaulted him late last month, causing permanent disfigurement on his face, hands and forearms.
Department officials say the man’s claims are false, however.
Rashaun Barnes, 39, recounted the July 31 incident in a YouTube video uploaded this week, alleging he was profiled and detained without cause by a female officer as he stood outside a local corner store. Barnes said he complied by sitting down on the scorching sidewalk for approximately 30 minutes but got up to leave, as the officer still hadn’t given him a reason for the stop and the heat was unbearable.
“This is about as far as I made it,” the Texas man explains, as he walks to spot a few feet from the sidewalk. “I walked, and I made it about right here and she tased me. And I fell and I blacked out.”
Barnes said when he finally came to, he was in the back of an ambulance surrounded by medics. He recalled asking the EMTs what they were doing to him because he didn’t know what was going on. The Texas man realized he’d sustained severe scarring across his face, wrist and both arms. Barnes said he also suffered a broken bone at the top of his nose.
According to The Root, police did not accompany Barnes to the hospital and he was never charged with a crime.
Officials with the Grand Prairie Police tell a vastly different story, however.
In an email, department spokesman Mark Beseda maintained that Barnes’ allegations were false and that the man had pre-existing injuries that were only worsened during the short foot chase and subsequent force used by the officer.
“Mr. Barnes faces multiple charges that include providing a false name to a police officer as a fugitive from justice, evading arrest on foot, possession of drug paraphernalia [existing warrant] and public intoxication [existing warrant],” Beseda said.
The spokesman added that the department won’t be releasing any details on the officer involved but confirmed that she isn’t under any sort of investigation and followed the law accordingly.
Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who is representing the family of Jordan Edwards, the Black high school freshmen who was fatally shot by a Balch Springs police officer in April, also is representing Barnes. Merritt claims the police violated protocol by failing to file an incident report on the encounter with the Texas man.
“This is a clear case of racial profiling and excessive force,” the lawyer said in a statement. “The officer responsible must be immediately suspended and appropriately prosecuted. A full investigation into the incident must be conducted to determine what role other officers may have played in a coverup and/or violating departmental procedures concerning reporting the incident.”
Merritt also blasted President Donald Trump for encouraging state-sanctioned violence during his speech before a crowd of uniformed officers last month. Although his remark was largely geared toward those who carry out gang violence, critics said the president seemingly invited law enforcement officers to be as violent as they please with suspects they arrest.
“Although technically immune from liability, President Trump is guilty of criminal incitement in his speech encouraging police brutality,” Merritt told The Root. “Black Lives Matter and pro-police reform activists have been sued in at least two federal lawsuits alleging their rhetoric caused violence against law enforcement. The president of the U.S. should be held at least equally culpable.”