Whitehouse police release video following complaint of unlawful - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Whitehouse police release video following complaint of unlawful detention

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WHITEHOUSE (KYTX) - The video relating to a woman who says she was unlawfully handcuffed by a Whitehouse police officer has been released.

CBS 19 Katiera Winfrey explains why police are still standing behind the officer in question, saying his actions were appropriate.

"Sir please stop sir pleas." "Stop resisting." are the remarks heard as the incident between officer Shawn Johnson and complainant Melissa Bonnette comes to a head.

The incident started as Bonnette was taking her daily morning walk.

In police video, officer Johnson is heard saying "You need to stop running I need to talk to you."

That's where the debate begins. Was the officer doing his duty:

"What you running for."

Or harassing the woman?

"You scared me," Bonnette said. Johnson responded with "I was gonna tell you you're walking on the wrong side of the road."

Police chief Craig Shelton said, he stands behind officer Johnson's actions 100 percent.

"Once you run, then they're thinking okay something's going on."

Shelton said, in the past year, a wide variety of criminal activity has been reported in the area. He said since she was walking on the wrong side of the street, the officer had the legal right to stop and question her, But before he could question her, she ran.

Bonnette in the police video is lying on the ground and is heard saying, " I started jogging cause I was afraid."

Johnson asked, "What were you afraid of?"

Bonnette's response, " I was afraid cause sometimes there are some bad police officers."

In Bonnette's defense, in an earlier interview, she told CBS 19 she wasn't sure if the officer was an impersonator.

"I watch a lot of shows and I err on the side of caution with those situations."

Also, being alone made her nervous.

"I was just walking and jogging, I was not evading the police."

Chief Shelton said, although Bonnette was handcuffed and taken to the police station, she was never actually arrested. Officers spoke to her husband, and she was let go.

The police chief says he encourages his officers to get to know the people who live in communities they patrol. For this incident, he says the officer was doing his job.

Police say if you believe you are being approached by an impersonator, don't hesitate to call 911 to ask if this really an officer. Police say automatically running or jogging off, is not the right thing to do.

 

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