African American Man Sues City of Baytown and Officers for Constitutional Violations
Last July, the Houston Forward Times reported a story entitled Baytown Beatdown – Black Man Targeted, Tasered and Beaten by Baytown Police Incident Caught on Camera, regarding a 45-year-old African American man named Kedrick Crawford.
Nearly a year later after that story, Crawford filed a lawsuit this past Monday, June 22nd, alleging his Fourth Amendment constitutional rights were violated. The lawsuit also contains Monell claims against the City of Baytown, Baytown Police Chief Dougherty, and Baytown Officer Teddy Sims. A Monell Claim is a claim against a municipality based on either a failure to train or a failure to properly supervise their employees.
Crawford states that he pulled into a local H-E-B parking lot on Garth Rd. to put an address into his GPS navigation app on his cell phone for directions, and as he was parked there, he states that Baytown Police officers pulled up and approached his vehicle.
After being confronted and questioned by Baytown police after claims that he looked suspicious in his parked vehicle, Crawford says he allowed police to search his vehicle upon their request. Crawford said he was not worried about giving police the consent to search his vehicle, because he was confident he had not done anything wrong.
In a video released by the Baytown Police department, which includes the dash cam video of one of the officers, you can hear Crawford tell the officer that he has insurance or whatever they need, to which the officer responded, “And what does that have to do with anything?”
After the officers’ response, Crawford then asks the officer, “So when am I free to go?” to which the officer responds, “Whenever man!”
Crawford asks a clarifying question to confirm that the officer told him that he was free to go whenever he wanted to, and as he continued to look on in confusion as to why he was stopped, five seconds later, the officer who told him that he was free to go, comes up behind him and commands him to “put your hands behind your back.”
Confused and afraid for his life, Crawford asks why he was being asked to put his hands behind his back to have cuffs placed on him and repeatedly asks the officer, “What did I do?”
In a hostile manner, the officer is seen telling Crawford not to resist and emphatically tells him, “I will drop you!”
Crawford is clearly confused and unaware of why he is being treated this way on the video. Crawford continuously asks the officers “What is going on?” and then all of a sudden you hear the officer state that he is about to use the Taser on him. In the video, you hear Crawford screaming and crying out that he was going to get killed and continued to profess his innocence and his plea to be told what he actually did wrong.
One of the most shocking things in the video footage, is a third party who is seen on the video in civilian clothing (blue shirt and blue jeans) appearing to place Crawford in a chokehold while wrestling with him on the ground. The Baytown Police officers do not stop this individual from interacting with Crawford and he is not identified in the video.
After a few minutes of Crawford being tasered and beaten, the officer’s body camera goes dark and all you can hear is the audio of him continuing to scream and demand answers. After the disturbing incident, Crawford was treated at Ben Taub Hospital for significant injuries to his face, chest, right eye, head and hands.
Crawford’s incident came a few months after Pamela Turner, an unarmed Black female, was shot to death on video by Baytown Police Officer Juan Delacruz on May 13, 2019, outside of her apartment complex on Garth Rd. in Baytown, Texas.
Civil Rights Attorney U.A. Lewis stated, “in no uncertain terms what happened to Mr. Crawford was criminal, and it will traumatize him for the rest of his life, no citizen should have to experience what Mr. Crawford experienced. He was innocent and did not deserve to have to fight for his life and his freedom.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump, in a previous press conference with Mr. Crawford, stated “Baytown has a pattern of excessive force by Baytown against minorities.”
Crump detailed accounts of several other instances of excessive force allegations prior to Crawford, including Pamela Turner. According to Attorney Lewis, Crawford continues to experience nightmares, vision problems, pain, and severe anxiety to date.
His mother suffered with him, as she was on the phone when the attack occurred and was forced to listen to her son begging not to be killed.
Crawford and his family are calling for charges to be brought against all three individuals involved in the mob attack against him, by the Harris County District Attorney.
No charges have yet to be filed against the officer, although the beating was caught on video.
Ironically, nothing has been done about the police killing of Pamela Turner either, except for Officer Delacruz being able to return back to work after only being on paid leave for three days.
The Forward Times will continue to follow this case and give our readers an update once we get more information.