Police in Texas have dropped a misdemeanor charge against a Black man who was arrested last week while walking home during a snowstorm.
Rodney Reese, 18, faced a charge of being a pedestrian in the roadway after he stopped by police in Plano. He was headed home after working at Walmart last Tuesday, reports said.
“There’s a lot of information that we know about this case that we didn’t know at the time. Those officers didn’t know his age. They didn’t know he was 18. They didn’t know he worked at Walmart. They didn’t know where he lived,” Plano Police Chief Ed Drain told FOX 4 of Dallas/Fort Worth.
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WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
The department released bodycam footage of the incident on Friday, which said that officers responded to a welfare check after a caller reported a Black man “wearing a short-sleeve shirt and shorts” was “stumbling” as he walked down the road amid cold and icy conditions. Reese was found by officers wearing a T-shirt and pants.
Drain said the arrest wasn’t consistent with the welfare check, which was the reason officers were called out to investigate.
“They should’ve taken him home, is where he should’ve gone,” he added.
According to police, officers were concerned for his welfare amid the cold weather along with the possibility that he was in “a mental crisis, delusional, or impaired,” so they followed him.
“I’m on the way home. I’m straight,” Reese said in the body cam footage.
“Alright, but you’re walking in the middle of the road,” an officer responded.
“I understand that. My bad,” Reese replied.
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Officers continued to follow Reese for roughly two minutes before they stopped to tell him they were “doing an investigation.”
“I don’t care. I’m going home,” Reese replied.
Officers then informed him that he was being detained, according to the bodycam footage. The arresting officer said that Reese resisted arrest, but officers chose not to change him, according to the department.
“They just treated me like I was a criminal or something,” Reese said in an interview with FOX 4. “Just a simple encounter. A simple encounter. That’s why I tried to dodge it, so I could make it home, I don’t know.”
Reese said he believes he was arrested because he is Black. Drain said he doesn’t believe race was a factor in the arrest.
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“But I can’t get inside people’s hearts, I can’t get inside people’s heads,” the chief added.