Man demands apology after rough arrest in case of mistaken identity

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A local man is asking for an apology after he says he was roughly arrested in a case of mistaken identity.

Hayward Murrell-Baker never expected that a trip to the corner store would land him in jail, but on August 22nd, Houston Police responded to a 911 call of an alleged assault near the corner of Little York and Knox streets in northwest Houston. When police arrived, records show they thought that Murrell-Baker fit the description of one of the suspects. Police approached him, and things went downhill.

"He went into my pockets," said Murrell-Baker, who said he was just at the store to buy a soda. "He pulled out the marijuana; I'm recording him about the time, asking why I'm being harassed, why are you detaining me?"

The video shows Murrell-Baker asking police why he was being questioned. The police tell him that he fits the description of an assault suspect, and then there is a tussle before the phone hits the ground and the video ends.

Murrell-Baker says the video shows police throwing him to the ground. HPD records say he resisted arrested and went down on the ground on his own. Murrell-Baker also showed Eyewitness News a photo of his wrists, with the skin visibly scratched. That's where he says police roughly handcuffed him.

"They were kicking me, stepping on my ankles, I still have a little knot," he said, pointing to his head.

The police report says Murrell-Baker sustained some scrapes while resisting arrest and that paramedics were called to treat his injuries. He was charged with marijuana possession and resisting arrest. Murrell-Baker plead guilty to the marijuana arrest, and was sentenced to time served. Prosecutors then dismissed the other charge against him.

Today, Murrell-Baker and his pastor held a news conference, demanding an apology from the mayor and the police chief.

"We're asking for them to say, 'We didn't have probably cause to assault you, your arms shouldn't look like that because of a misdemeanor weed case,'" said Pastor Wright, "It's wrong, it's wrong, it's wrong."

HPD says it cannot begin an investigation into any possible police wrongdoing without an internal affairs complaint. The department encourages Murrell-Baker to file one, something he says he's reluctant to do.

"I didn't think they would listen to me because the way they treated me," he said.
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