HURST (CBS 11 NEWS) - A performance review for a Hurst police officer under investigation, notes he can be overzealous and it can cloud his judgment. The release came as another resident filed a complaint Monday about Officer Disraeli Arnold.
Hurst Police officials used the word “embarrassing” to describe the videotaped, expletive laced arrest that’s made one the uniformed officer the latest YouTube tarnished star. Arnold was placed on administrative leave Monday, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
A May 2010 review says: “Officer Arnold’s enthusiasm may make him overzealous at times, which can cloud his judgment when it comes to policy, procedure and tactics. Sometimes he needs to step back and see the big picture to weight the risks involved.”
Future reviews don’t mention the issue. His only discipline was for damage to a patrol vehicle, losing a cellphone of someone arrested, and problems with showing up on time for his shift.
Arnold has received mostly positive reviews for his work for the department, referred to by superiors as a “team player” interested in being promoted to supervisor. City employees wrote letters commending him for his patience dealing with an upset couple, and for his concern over a subject’s ongoing panhandling and drinking.
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Last week, Officer Arnold came to the aid of a fellow officer who was struggling with a teenage suspect, Andrew Rodriguez. The cell phone video taken by a friend—also arrested for being a minor in possession of tobacco and drug paraphernalia—appears to show Officer Arnold tackling the teenager who was already on the ground.
Recordings of police radio traffic released Monday contain a calm call for backup from Officer Miguel Jimenez. Arnold responds by simply saying, “coming around the corner now.” The taped incident that followed show Arnold repeatedly cursing at the teen, and asking him at least three times if he wanted to die.
“We’ve never seen this kind of aggressive behavior by a police officer against a member of our community,” said Carlos Quintanilla, a local civil rights activist. “There was no justification, there was no reason for that officer to act that way.”
Quintanilla and a group of local civil rights activists joined the teenager’s mother, Kelly Pope, for an afternoon meeting with Hurst’s Chief of Police Steve Moore. Pope says she is pleased with what she is hearing from department leaders thus far. But, insists that when their internal investigation confirms that they believe the video shows, the officer should be fired and face criminal charges.
During the expletive laced videotaped arrest—that quickly went viral—Rodriguez was taken into custody for a 4-year-old disorderly conduct warrant that his mother says had already been resolved. She says Andrew got a ticket for being on school grounds after hours.
“He didn’t have the money to pay it, I didn’t have the money to pay it, so it turned into a warrant,” says Pope. “So, yeah, it was from Junior High.”
Pope says she does not excuse the role her son played in the incident. The videotape also shows him ignoring the first officer’s demands. But, supporters stress that more should be expected of those professionals sworn and paid to protect and serve.
Hurst Police, meanwhile, are promising a thorough investigation.
“I don’t think you can define the Hurst Police Department by just one act; but, you can define us by how we react to it,” says Asst. Chief Niecamp.
The teenager is expected to file a formal complaint against Officer Arnold on tomorrow.
Monday night another man met with Hurst police and indicated he plans to file a complaint regarding an incident with Arnold in August. Gared Matusz was pulled over for speeding and said the officer asked to search his car for drugs. He agreed and Arnold responded as backup. Matusz said Arnold forced him to the ground, cursed at him to be quiet, then detained him in a patrol car for several hours. Matusz said his elderly mother, who he was taking to the airport, was forced to stand against the truck during the search.
“It hurts me so bad because I didn’t keep following up on it,” he said. “He’s damaging someone else.”
Matusz said he filed a complaint in person immediately after the incident in August but police said they didn’t receive it.
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