On Monday, city officials in Texas released video footage of the January 2019 arrest of a Black man who was Tased and handcuffed after being stopped by police over a dirty license plate.
After an unsuccessful mediation effort between the New Braunfels Police Department and the city of New Braunfels, city officials released body camera footage of a traffic stop initiated by an officer over the driver’s “dirty license plate.”
Clarence Crawford, the driver of the vehicle, was Tased multiple times, ordered to the ground, and handcuffed during the arrest. City officials have called the actions of former officer Kaleb Meyer, who has since resigned from the department, “unacceptable.”
“We want to make it abundantly clear that the actions of the officer in the video are not acceptable to the city of New Braunfels and not representative of the men and women of the police department of the city of New Braunfels,” Mayor Rusty Brockman said.
When the footage begins, Meyer has his gun drawn and is ordering Crawford to put his hands on the steering wheel. Crawford put one of his hands on the wheel, and continued to hold onto his phone with the other.
“Both of them; put the phone down!” Meyer said.
“Please don’t shoot me, officer!” Crawford yelled, as Meyer kept his gun aimed at him.
Meyer then opened the driver’s side door of Crawford’s car and began pulling his arm.
“My seatbelt’s on,” Crawford said.
“Take the seatbelt off, or I’m going to cut it off you,” Meyer instructed.
“You told me to put my hands on the wheel!” Crawford said.
Once Crawford was out of the vehicle, Meyer instructed him to lie flat on the ground.
“On your face!” Meyer shouted. He deployed the Taser twice, after Crawford was lying on the ground.
“I’m down!” Crawford said, before the officer handcuffed him behind his back.
Meyer then said to Crawford that he had taken took too long to pull over, to which Crawford answered that he had pulled over when it was safe. The officer also said his initial reason for stopping the man was for a “dirty license plate.”
Several minutes passed as Crawford remained handcuffed, lying face-first on the ground, before a female officer arrived on the scene and deescalated the situation.
Officer Sylvia Martinez helped Crawford sit up as Meyer stepped away.
City Manager Robert Camareno praised her actions as aligned with proper protocol.
Crawford was arrested and charged with fleeing an officer and interfering with public duties, but the charges were dropped at the department’s request.
Meyer underwent additional training following the incident, but resigned in recent months, along with former Police Chief Tom Wibert. Meyer had been with the department for about a year and eight months.
The footage of the arrest is now used to train officers on proper protocol.
It’s unclear what the failed mediation effort between the city and the department consisted of, or why it was unsuccessful.
The release of the video was delayed at the request of Crawford, who filed a complaint against the department.