In the interest of being as open and transparent as possible with our community, we have uploaded two videos below documenting a traffic stop and subsequent arrest one of our officers made last week.
One of our officers initially detained Mr. Williams for not having a safety light on his bicycle. This violation may seem trivial to some, but it is dangerous to operate a bicycle in a roadway at night with no type of lighting. This is a routine stop our officers make, and I’ve included the statistics about all bicycle stops below for your information.
Bicycle stops made by UNT Police between 5/29/2018 and 5/29/2020
Total Stops: 167 (146 resulted in warnings)
The intent of the officer at this point was to stop Mr. Williams, advise him of the requirement/safety concern and issue a written warning, which was issued. In addition, when the officer tried to verify Mr. Williams’ identity, he discovered there were multiple outstanding warrants for Mr. Williams’ arrest, including one for a probation violation.
To give those who are unaware a little insight into the protocol in any interaction for a traffic code violation, the officer will ask the individual being stopped for their license in order to verify who they are, and ensure they have a valid license. If the individual doesn’t present an ID, the only way to verify the person’s identity is to run the name and information we are given through the state system, which is how our officer discovered Mr. Williams had outstanding warrants.
Several factors complicated the interaction, which you will see in the videos below. First, Mr. Williams attempted to evade the officer after he was detained, at which point the officer called for additional assistance. The combination of Mr. Williams attempting to evade the officer, and the assembly of a group of bystanders led to additional officers arriving.
You may note in one video that Mr. Williams said he felt like he was being stopped because of his race. It is our standard protocol to forward any allegation of a race-based stop to the Office of Equal Opportunity for review. That review is ongoing in this case.
Below you will find body cam footage from the arresting officer, which shows the entire start-to-finish interaction with Mr. Williams. However, when he attempts to place Mr. Williams in handcuffs, his body cam falls to the ground. In an effort to show a more complete view of the interaction, we have also included a second officer’s body cam footage so you can see everything.
We aim to always operate with the highest level of integrity, professionalism and transparency because we believe trust from our community is vital. We value our relationships and believe in being strong community partners who help create a safe environment. Finally, I cannot stress enough how much our department values our relationship with our community. Maintaining transparency and open communication is vitally important to what we do.
Chief Ed Reynolds