Eighteen-year-old Rodney Reese spent a night in jail after police in Plano, Texas arrested him for walking in the street during the historic winter storm that ravaged the state. Rodney was on his way home last Tuesday (February 16) from working at Wal Mart when officers stopped him.
According to a report by Fox 4 News, the police department said officers were conducting a welfare check after a call was placed to authorities stating a Black male wearing a t-shirt in the frigid temperatures was walking along the road.
In the troubling body camera footage released to the public, Rodney repeated to officers that he was fine and didn’t require assistance, but the officers didn’t let up.
“I’m on the way home. I’m straight,” Rodney said in the footage.
“Alright, but you’re walking in the middle of the road,” replied one of the officers.
“I understand that. My bad,” Reese said.
Officers continued to follow the high school student for another two minutes before arresting him on the charge of pedestrian in the roadway.
“They just treated me like I was a criminal or something,” Reese said in an interview with the news outlet.
He said he was walking in the road to avoid the slippery ice and snow that was on the sidewalk.
Plano Police Chief Ed Drain said the department has dropped the charge against Rodney since the arrest wasn’t consistent with what the officers were called to do in the first place.
“They should’ve taken him home, is where he should’ve gone,” Drain said, though he doesn’t think race was a factor in how the incident unfolded.
Rodney says his race was the only reason why he was arrested.
“Just ‘cause I’m Black, that’s it. It’s ‘cause I’m Black, I fit a description. It hurts, man.” Rodney said. “I don’t even think the call would’ve happened [if I wasn’t Black]. Honestly, I really don’t.”
Police say Rodney resisted arrest, but didn’t file that charge against him. The department is still determining whether an internal investigation will be conducted in this case.
Photo: Getty Images