Teen speaks on full-nelson assault at Funplex

February 12, 2010 8:31:05 PM PST
We're hearing from a teenager who says a reserve deputy held him in a full nelson. The District Attorney's Office has finished its review of what happened. This case also involved a phone conversation between Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and the deputy taking the report in the field. Because of an allegation of misconduct, the District Attorney's Office of Public Integrity was reviewing it. Tonight that review is over. While the teen doesn't necessarily agree with the outcome, he wants the drama to be over.

James Rebullida, 17, is just a kid with a goal.

"I'm a teenager, save up for a car," said James.

That's why he works weekends at the Funplex in southwest Harris County. But the teen who sells games of bowling never thought he'd wind up part of an assault investigation that included questions of special treatment and a review by the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

"It's a big mess," said James.

We first told you about the incident last week. The Funplex ran out of pizza during a party for a church group on January 16. James says one of the members, Lewis Jefferson, who's also a reserve deputy with the Fort Bend County Precinct 2 Constable's Office, wasn't happy and took it out on him.

"He held my arms. My chest was on the counter so I was pinned. I couldn't move. I was just looking down," said James. "I was really shocked. I didn't know what to do."

James was scared. According to the incident report, Jefferson chalked what happened up to horseplay.

As a Harris County sheriff's deputy was trying to sort it all out, a pastor with the church handed him a phone and on the line, according to the report, was Sheriff Garcia himself. A department spokesman says the conversation was professional and innocent. Neither James nor his mother is convinced.

"I think that's what we call connection," said James' mother, Eunice Rebullida.

At the direction of the DA's Office, the reserve deputy just got a citation for simple assault. Sheriff Garcia has been cleared by the DA's Office, which said, "We have completed our review and found no inappropriate conduct. No further action is required."

James thinks the sheriff's phone call at the very least looks bad.

"He's not even there. That's what I thought if he wasn't even there, why is he getting in the way?" he said.

But what's worse, he says, is that Jefferson, an officer of the law, touched him in the first place.

"I don't look 17. That's not right. I look like a kid, basically, I know I do," said James. "He should have known better."

Besides being a reserve deputy, we've learned Lewis Jefferson is also a former HPD officer. He declined to comment tonight, saying he just wants his case to go through the legal process. The teen says he forgives him and wants to move on.