Texas police have dropped the misdemeanor charge against a Black teen who was arrested for walking in the middle of the street during the winter storm last week.
According to multiple reports, 17-year-old Rodney Reese was detained last Tuesday (Feb. 16) after Plano police officers saw him walking home from his job in the middle of a snow-covered street. “Dude, stop, we’re trying to help you,” one officer said before hopping out of his vehicle. Another cop then asked the teen did he need a ride somewhere. “Nah, I’m straight,” Reese replied.
The cops say they were trying to make sure he was okay, but he ignored their commands to stop and talk. “Can you calm down?” one female officer asked Reese. “We just want to talk to you … You’re walking in the middle of the road.” He repeatedly told the officers that he was headed home and continued to deny their requests for a ride.
According to the police report, the officers said they were answering a call about someone possibly being in the midst of a mental health crisis or impaired. Reese was then placed in handcuffs. “Stop resisting!” one officer said. “Let me go, let me go!” Reese replied in the body cam footage. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
The teen was arrested on a misdemeanor count of being a pedestrian in the roadway and spent the night in a local jail. In a Facebook post, the Plano police department defended their actions in the incident, saying the cops were responding to a “welfare concern call where a caller stated that a Black male subject wearing a short-sleeve shirt and shorts was walking down Hedgcoxe Road and was stumbling. Responding officers located the subject, and although he was wearing a short-sleeve shirt, he did have long pants.”
“Temperatures at that time were in the teens, with snow and ice on the ground,” the post continued. “Concerned for his welfare and the possibility of the subject being in a mental crisis, delusional, or impaired, the officers attempted to contact him.”
The misdemeanor charge against Reese has since been dropped, however, the teen believes he was racially profiled. “It’s ‘cause I’m Black, I fit a description. It hurts, man,” he told KDFW-TV. “I don’t even think the call would’ve happened [if I wasn’t Black]. Honestly, I really don’t.”
Check out the video of the arrest below.