Humble man claims police brutality during arrest caught on surveillance video

Shelley Childers Image
Friday, July 22, 2022
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A man from Humble says he was the victim of police brutality during an arrest, but the police chief claims otherwise.

HUMBLE, Texas (KTRK) -- A man from Humble says he was the victim of police brutality during an arrest in June.

Surveillance video provided to ABC13 shows Chris Hanna being knocked to the ground by the officer he was standing next to, who appeared to be getting ready to place him in handcuffs.

"When I watched it, I was blown away," Todd Overstreet, Hanna's attorney, said.

Overstreet said his client was outside a bar on June 24, when he was involved in a fight with two other men. Hanna admittedly got a gun from his own truck and fired it. Then, he called 911 out of fear for his own life, according to Overstreet.

Hanna said he handed over his gun when officers arrived and waited to be questioned.

Surveillance video shows Hanna sitting in the parking lot as Officer John Cox walks over and motions for him to stand.

"He asked my client to raise his hands, it appears. (Hanna) raises his hands just like this, and the officer reaches for, I believe, his right hand. In the officer's hand, I believe his right hand, he's holding his handcuffs. And then as soon as he takes my client's hand down this way, he turns and hits him almost like an uppercut, holding the handcuffs in his hands, almost like brass knuckles, and knocks him out," Overstreet described.

Moments later, the video shows Hanna face-down with the officer leaning on his back. The officer is then seen picking up the back of Hanna's neck and slamming his head into the ground.

"This is absurd. Inexcusable," said Overstreet.

Hanna said he doesn't remember the takedown. But adds he was conscious as he was taken to the police unit, where he was immediately bandaged because of the amount of blood coming from his head.

That bandage is clear in the booking photo from Humble police. But in a statement, police Chief Ken Theis claims Hanna was injured in the fight with the other men.

"On June 24, 2022, at around 2:30 a.m., Officer John Cox responded to reports of a disturbance at a local bar. Upon arrival, Officer Cox confronted apparently intoxicated man in the parking lot who claimed to have been in a physical altercation with what he described as 'two bikers' who began 'punching (him) in the face.'The suspect had obvious injuries to his face and head. The suspect then admitted to firing a firearm at least twice at the two men with whom he was fighting. After securing the firearm, Officer Cox moved to detain the suspect, at which point the suspect backed away from the Officer and refused to turn around and put his hands behind his back. Knowing the suspect had admitted to possessing and firing a firearm earlier in the evening, once the suspect continued to attempt to put space between himself and Officer Cox, the Officer took the suspect down onto a patch of grass and handcuffed him without further incident.At no time did the Officer strike the suspect, and it was determined the injuries suffered by the suspect were caused solely by the altercation in which he was involved prior to Officer Cox's arrival. Officer Cox then spoke to a female witness who stated the suspect also pointed his firearm at her, placing her in fear for her life, after he fired at the two males on the motorcycles. The suspect was charged with aggravated assault based on him threatening serious bodily injury against the female witness by pointing a firearm in her direction and self-admitting to firing a firearm at two individuals. We have reviewed the information for the purpose of launching an inquiry into the incident, but have received no formal complaint from the suspect or anyone else."

Overstreet said it's clear Hanna's head was not injured before the officer took him down.

"He's sitting there calmly. He's still wearing his baseball cap. He's not holding his head, he's not attending to any wound," Overstreet said.

Hanna told ABC13 that when Officer Cox first arrived, they had a civil discourse and Hanna then waited calmly in the parking lot for his turn to provide a statement.

"What he did at that point is inexcusable. It's police brutality, there is no other way to look at it," said Overstreet.

ABC13 asked Humble police if there is an internal investigation into this arrest and if the officer is still on active duty, but they did not answer those questions.

Overstreet said the officer's takedown is not documented in the incident report.

"This is the kind of stuff that causes people, normal citizens like us, not to trust them. And they want to know why they have a public image problem? It's because of things like this."

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