The violent arrest of a teenager in front of his home in Schertz, Texas is under investigation
In a viral video uploaded to Facebook by the victim’s sister, police in Schertz, Texas are seen using a Taser and tackling an 18-year-old to place him under arrest.
DeOndra Rayford shared the footage on social media, expressing her empathy for Black men who are so often targeted by law enforcement. The video shows her brother Zekee Rayford being arrested in front of the family home. The police use Tasers, then tackle him after initially drawing their weapons.
“Dear young Black men…I understand why y’all are scared of the police…I’m sorry y’all have to go through this…I’m sorry brother,” she wrote on the post. DeOndra used the hashtags #handsup, and #dontrun on her video upload.
According to San Antonio Express-News, the video footage was captured by two security cameras at the family home.
The incident occurred on Monday night when Zekee was driving home. He allegedly ran a traffic light, prompting officers to attempt to pull him over. Instead of stopping, Zekee continued driving to his family home. When he pulled into the driveway, the teenager exited the vehicle with his hands up, holding his keys in one hand. By that time, police had drawn their weapons.
“Show me your hands now,” one officer yelled, commanding Zekee to get on the ground.
The teenager instead headed for his front door, pounding and screaming for his father to come help. He was followed by three cops, one with his Taser out. Two officers pulled Rayford to the ground. The third stood and watched as his peers continued to struggle with the teen while all of them yelled at him to stop resisting. Zekee’s family says he was tased six times and was repeatedly kicked while on the ground.
His father, Kenneth Rayford, and sisters eventually came to the door to question what happened.
“He’s under arrest,” one officer said. “We found pot in the vehicle.”
“Then why the f— you tase him,” Kenneth asked and was then told he needed to calm down.
“You better relax or you’re going to get it next,” an officer said.
The Schertz police department released an official statement on their social media outlets. committing to an internal investigation of the incident.
“Zekee Rayford has been charged with felony evading in a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and detention, and possession of marijuana,” the statement detailed. “Following this arrest’s events, an internal investigation has been initiated to ensure all Schertz Police Department policies and procedures were followed.”
Zekee’s sister believes the two police officers who tackled and tased her brother should be fired.
“The cops were not in danger,” DeOndra told Express-News. “He did not run toward them. He had his hands up. They should have taken a step back and tried to de-escalate things.”
Zekee was released from custody after his family posted a portion of his $14,500 bond. According to the news report, he went to the hospital afterward. His family says he was covered in bruises and still had marks from the taser on his back.
The teen was returning home from welding school the night of the arrest and was a recent graduate of Sam Houston High School in nearby San Antonio, the family says. Zekee was arrested in April for resisting arrest, marijuana possession, and engaging in criminal activity, reports the News-Express, but it’s not known if police were aware of the previous arrest. It is also unknown when they searched the vehicle for marijuana, given the sequence of events captured by the cameras.
“He’s a child,” DeOndra said to Express-News. “He’s trying to do right.”
Although 15 states have made marijuana legal for recreational use, Texas law considers even less than two ounces a Class B misdemeanor punishable with jail time and a fine.
Zekee shared with his family the thoughts going through his head while he was being arrested.
“I thought about George Floyd crying out for his mom,” DeOndra recalled Zekee saying, according to Express-News. “And I was crying for my Dad. I thought I was going to be the next hashtag, the next RIP.”
Lawyer Benjamin Crump, who represents the Floyd family, told TMZ the incident was yet another illustration of excessive force by police.
He says Zekee “was allegedly being pulled over nearby but drove home to have his dad present … EXTREME force was NOT necessary. We need police reform.”
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