A woman has claimed she was “harassed” by a METRO Police Department officer during a traffic stop that escalated into a physical confrontation in March.
Earledreka White was subsequently arrested and spent two days in jail.
A video of the incident shows she was arrested while on a call with 911, asking for police backup. “I would like another officer to come out here,” she told the dispatcher. “My heart is racing. I’m really afraid.”
As reported by ABC 13, the officer pulled over White’s car for crossing a double white line while driving in South Main Street in March. When stopped, White got out of her car to ask why she had been pulled over. She subsequently called 911 and told the dispatcher she “does not feel safe.” She further asked that another officer arrive on the scene.
When White told the dispatcher she was being “harassed,” the confrontation became aggressive. The officer pinned White’s arms behind her back while she screamed “please stop” and “I’m a woman.”
The 40-minute video, captured by a surveillance camera of a nearby business establishment, was released by White’s attorneys to the Houston Chronicle. It also contains the recording of the call White made to 911.
In the video, the officer is shown starting the altercation without provocation, as noted by attorney Zack Fertitta.
Chron.com reports that the incident is compared with last year’s arrest of Sandra Bland in Waller County. Bland had not signaled a lane change. After three days in jail, she was found dead. Her death has been treated as suicide.
Bland’s arrest and death elicited nationwide demonstrations by the Black Lives Matter movement.
White has been charged with resisting arrest after the incident for her alleged refusal to provide identification and obey lawful orders.
However, METRO Chief Vera Bumpers defended the officer, saying the officer was not aggressive; and that he even waited for White to finish her call. In investigating a complaint filed by White in April, there was “no wrongdoing” found on the officer’s part.