Only On 13: Langham Creek HS football players talk for 1st time after violent arrest by HCSO

Miya Shay Image
Saturday, April 15, 2023
No probable cause found for Langham Creek HS football player detained
The students seen on video being violently arrested by deputies talk only to ABC13 about the experience. "He wasn't really trying to be peaceful," one teen said.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Langham Creek High School varsity football player is no longer facing a felony charge after he and his friend were seen violently arrested on video by Harris County Sheriff deputies last week.

Seth Palumbo was initially charged with felony assaulting a peace officer, but a judge did not find probable cause in his case Friday morning.

"I feel like police are really supposed to be peace officers," Palumbo said in his first interview about the incident. "I feel like he just did a lot of aggravation. He wasn't really trying to be peaceful. I feel like we don't need people like that in the community."

Last week, Kristopher Willis Jr., a fellow football player, ran out of gas along FM 529 shortly after leaving school. He called Palumbo for help.

"As my friends pulled up, I gave them the bottles I had so they can fill it up with gas so I can make it to the gas station," Willis Jr. said. Then, he said three or four police units came out and pulled them over.

As several HCSO deputies pulled Palumbo's car into a nearby parking lot, the other teens quickly grabbed their cell phones. Cell phone videos captured by Palumbo's passenger and Willis Jr. show one deputy violently grabbing Palumbo and slamming him to the ground.

Palumbo and Willis Jr. were both arrested and hauled off to jail.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Harris County deputies seen on video violently arresting 2 Langham Creek HS football players

An investigation is underway after a viral video shows Langham Creek High School students being dragged out of a car by police during a traffic stop.

"I've never felt so helpless, honestly," Kia Willis, mother of Willis Jr. said. "It's my job to protect my children, and I've just never imagined I would be in a place where I would not be able to protect my son."

The elementary school principal and her husband, a high school math teacher, are shocked by the events.

"I really think the police should be held accountable the same way they are holding my son accountable for a crime he did not commit," Kristopher Willis, Sr., the teen's father, said.

He first posted the videos on Facebook because he was so outraged by what happened to this group of young men.

Willis Jr. was charged with a misdemeanor of impeding roadway. That charge is still active, but the family's attorney is prepared to fight the charges in court. Attorney Antuan Johnson said he's proud that the men kept their cool and recorded the interactions.

"The only reason we are here is that he had the courage to get out the phone and record, and by that, we were able to see what happened," Johnson said.

Johnson had already set the case for trial.

The arrest led to an internal investigation by HCSO, which previously sent ABC13 the following statement.

"The Harris County Sheriff's Office is aware of online videos about a recent arrest in west Harris County.

After reviewing the videos, we are investigating the incident to determine if any policies and procedures were violated.

One deputy has been temporarily reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation.

We take these matters seriously and will ensure a thorough investigation is completed in a timely manner.

Our deputies are held to the highest standard of professionalism, and any employee whose conduct does not align with departmental policies will be held accountable for their actions."

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