The Baytown Police Department is reviewing an arrest in which its officers stunned and punched a man after finding pills in his car.
The arrest of 45-year-old Kedric Crawford of Orange on the night of July 6 left him hospitalized for injuries to his face.
Police encountered Crawford just before midnight in a parking lot in the 6400 block of Garth Road. They asked to search his car. In body camera footage, the officer is heard saying the car had been at the gas station for “quite a while” and was deemed suspicious
Crawford told officers there were no drugs or weapons in the vehicle and gave permission to search it, the video shows. Crawford appeared calm as he was peppered with questions, according to one one clip in the video. The video cuts out, and another scene moments later shows Crawford questioning how intently the officers were combing through his vehicle.
“Ain’t nothing to it, man. No need to be tripping or nothing,” the officer said, according to the video. “You’re nervous. I’m seeing nervous behavior. You gave us consent to search”
Crawford asked when he was free to leave and the officer said, “Whenever.”
The officer conducting the search then waved something to his partner and Crawford’s arms were immediately pulled behind him to start the arrest. The arresting officer told him to comply or “I’ll freakin’ drop you,” without saying what was found. Police later said “several small pieces of plastic bag” containing pills had been found in the trunk.
The video shows the officer shoving Crawford against the vehicle as he struggled to handcuff him. One hand was restrained, but Crawford allegedly began pulling away and was tackled to the ground.
An officer then used a Taser on the partially handcuffed Crawford as he questioned what was happening. Authorities said the stun gun did not appear to have an effect on him, but the video showed him bellowing in pain.
In audio from the footage, with the camera obscured, an officer can be heard continuing to tell Crawford to put his hands behind his back as more sirens approached the scene. At some point during the arrest, police said, one of the officers “delivered a series of elbow strikes and a closed fist strike” in an attempt to disorient him, but that moment is not apparent in the footage.
An officer can also be heard saying that they had found “a bunch of pills individually packaged.”
Crawford said Friday night that the pills were antibiotics.
Police said Crawford was taken to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston and then booked into a Baytown jail. He has been charged with assault on a public servant for allegedly scratching one of the officers with his fingernails, court records show.
Police spokesman Lt. Steve Dorris said the officers have not been placed on administrative leave.
“Even though Mr. Crawford has yet to file an official complaint, Chief (Keith) Dougherty has asked our Internal Affairs Division to initiate an investigation into the matter to determine if there was, in fact, any wrongdoing by our officers,” Dorris said in an email.
Crawford has since returned home to Orange and said he was still in pain from the arrest.
“I didn’t do anything at all,” Crawford said in a phone interview.
“I pulled over in the parking lot and I was waiting on my GPS to reload an address. The officers just came from out of nowhere and harassed me. One thing led to another,” he continued. “I think they were trying to kill me.”
Crawford has three prior arrests in Orange County, including two misdemeanor traffic offenses from 1999 and 2001. A third offense for evading arrest in 2004 led to a state prison sentence.