RAW VIDEO: LPD Chief orders investigation into controversial Escarcega arrest
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - KCBD's Investigates Team has obtained new video of the arrest of the suspect in the assault on Lubbock Police Department Cpl. Ryan Durrett.
At least one city councilman is calling for an investigation.
Durrett was injured when Jose Carlos Escarcega-Ysaias allegedly attempted to steal his patrol vehicle and dragged Durrett as he struggled to regain control of the vehicle before Escarcega crashed it into a telephone pole.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Full video of Escarcega arrest
The video, obtained by KCBD through an open records request submitted on Aug. 9, shows police responding to the scene and kicking and punching Escarcega, who appears to be sitting on the ground when police arrive. After repeated blows and kicks one officer appears to hit Escarcega several times with his baton.
The video also shows police responding to the emergency call at speeds over 100 mph and without lights and siren. The Lubbock Police Department Procedures Manual 2012 version says, "Officers will always respond Code Three, using emergency lights and sirens, when making an emergency call response."
When the officer arrives on the scene the injured Cpl. Durrett is lying on the ground with the suspect Escarcega sitting beside him.
Officers can be heard discussing the incident after the arrest. One officer describes another as "taser happy."
The incident took place on July 29 at 19th and Iola. According to Councilman Victor Hernandez' Facebook page, after KCBD's open records request, Lubbock City Manager James Loomis asked city council members to view the video prior to its release. Hernandez posted a statement today asking for an investigation of the matter.
Mayor Glen Robertson described Hernandez' call for an investigation "completely bogus" noting that Hernandez was aware that an investigation was already underway. Robertson called Herandez' actions "entirely wrong" and said it was "political posturing."
KCBD's Investigates team requested video from all units responding to the incident after noting that Escarcega's booking photo showed him to appear to have sustained injuries to the head and face but he was not charged with resisting arrest.
Cpl. Durrett is recovering from his injuries at home.
Jose Carlos Escarcega-Ysaias, whose booking sheet shows him to be a Mexican citizen, remains in the Lubbock County Detention Center on charges of Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant with an immigration hold placed on his file.
Police say that they believe that Escarcega was attempting to injure Durrett when he ran Durrett's vehicle into a telephone pole.
Lubbock police issued this response on Friday afternoon:
On Wednesday, July 29, 2015, Corporal Ryan Durrett was attempting to arrest Mr. Jose Escarcega for being in possession of a stolen vehicle. Mr. Escarcega evaded Corporal Durrett on foot and then attempted to steal his police vehicle. Mr. Escarcega intentionally assaulted Corporal Durrett by ramming the police vehicle into a utility pole and traffic signal pole. Corporal Durrett sustained serious injuries including a career threatening injury.
The actions of the officers responding to assist Corporal Durrett in taking Mr. Escarcega into custody has been under review. Chief Brewer has ordered a formal Internal Affairs Investigation into the actions and tactics used by those responding officers. As a matter of policy, The Lubbock Police Department does not tolerate the use of excessive force.
The Internal Affairs Investigators will gather the facts and present the findings to Chief Brewer.
No other information will be released until the investigation is complete.
The Lubbock Professional Police Association, which represents 330 sworn LPD officers, expressed concern for Cpl. Durrett and confidence in the impartiality of the review process. However in a written statement the association had harsh words for the actions of Councilman Hernandez, suggesting that his actions releasing this information on Facebook may have constituted a felony violation of Texas statutes:
The greater concern to the Association is Councilman Hernandez's release of the information and the manner in which he did so. The LPPA believes that Councilman Hernandez only had access to this information by virtue of his elected office and position as a PUBLIC SERVANT. We are concerned that his release of such information is likely in violation of Article 39.06 of the Texas Penal Code, which is a Felony of the Third Degree. Councilman Hernandez released information via Facebook at approximately 11 a.m., Friday, August 14, 2015. This is prior to any related release of information by the City of Lubbock.
RELATED LINK: LPPA letter about Hernandez information release
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