Family responds to officer taking swing at teen

July 15, 2011 4:11:20 PM PDT
A family is outraged after seeing a Houston police officer taking a swing at their loved one at the end of a chase. It's video you will only see here on Eyewitness News. And now the family of that young man in handcuffs wants some answers. Since we first showed you the video on Thursday, the family of the suspected robber has come forward, and they're speaking out against the actions of that police officer.

The target of that punch was a 16-year-old boy. His family members say he called them from jail to say the officer busted his lip.

It's the video SkyEye HD captured of a Houston police officer taking a swing at a handcuffed suspect that has Mary Pointer and her family upset.

"That's sad. That's pitiful," she said.

Pointer says the restrained suspect seen in the white t-shirt is her 16-year-old nephew. The police chief says the female officer seen throwing a jab at the teen is Angela Horton, a four-year veteran on the force.

Pointer said, "I just don't think he was supposed to be getting hit, and he had handcuffs on.'

Eyewitness News learned the teen was one of three suspected armed robbers who targeted the SK Food Store on Cavalcade Thursday morning.

"He was wrong for that," Pointer admitted. "This here don't justify what he done. He know he did wrong."

SkyEye HD was over the scene right after the foot chase ended. Two officers are seen handcuffing the teen and taking him into custody. Seconds later, Officer Horton approaches the teen with a right jab toward his face.

"He didn't do nothing to her," said the teen's sister, Keziah Kibble. "So why would she hit him for nothing?"

When we talked to Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland about the video on Thursday, he told us that supervisors quickly launched an Internal Affairs investigation and Officer Horton was relieved of duty.

"That means that her duties are suspended," Chief McClelland explained. "She will not be coming to work. She will be at home. She still will be receiving pay."

That's not enough for Pointer and other family members.

"She's still being paid," Pointer said. "She might as well be working."

Pointer says she believes the officer took it too far with her nephew, and her family is demanding more action.

"I hope justice be done," she said.

So far calls to the police union about this video and Officer Horton have not yet been returned.

On Friday afternoon Officer Horton's attorney issued the following statement:

    "Officer Horton is a 36 year old, five year veteran of the Houston Police Department. She was in cadet class 188 at Houston Police Department Academy and graduated in 2007. She served as an airman in the United States Air Force from 1994 to 2003. From 1995 to 2003 she served as a military police officer.

    Officer Horton admits that for a few brief seconds yesterday, she let her emotions get the best of her and may have acted in a way that is contrary to her training as a Houston Police Department patrol officer.

    As a police officer who is charged with the protection of the public, her biggest disappointment is that her actions have overshadowed the fact that a serious crime was committed. It is important to remember that this incident occurred at the end of a 15 minute chase in which multiple suspects, who it was reported were armed with handguns and fleeing the scene of an Aggravated Robbery, were attempting to allude [sic] police by climbing onto a moving train. She hopes that the public will remember that police officers have to make split second decisions in ever-changing and dangerous situations. She looks forward to having this case evaluated so that all the facts can be known.

    Because of ongoing administrative investigations, no further statements will be made."


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