HOUSTON – Two Houston transit police officers were suspended after their chief said surveillance video showed one hitting a man on a rail platform with a baton.
Metro police said Friday that the two officers suspended are J. Warren, who will not receive pay while away from the force, and D. Reynoso, who will receive pay pending a criminal investigation and internal review.
Chief Vera Bumpers said that surveillance video shows Warren beating 31-year-old Darrell Giles, who was slumped in a seat on the rail platform about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Giles’ attorney says he was struck 15 times.
Reynoso witnessed but did not participate in the beating, Bumpers said. Giles was jailed on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest, but the charges were dropped and Giles was released Friday night.
The officers reported the incident to superiors, who reviewed surveillance video. Bumpers would not say if Giles did anything to provoke the officers. She said that her administration won’t “tolerate excessive force by our officers.”
Warren and Giles are both black. Representatives of the Black Lives Matter protest group in Houston have demanded that Metro release the surveillance video of the incident “just for transparency just to see what happened,” said group organizer and activist Ashton Woods. Bumpers said the video is central to the criminal investigation of the incident and will not be made public until the investigation is completed.
Woods said Black Lives Matter would rally at Metro headquarters in protest if the video is not made public by Monday afternoon.
Giles mother, Ossie Giles, said her 31-year-old son is deaf in one ear and speculated that was a factor in her son’s failure to respond promptly to the officers’ orders to move on.
Nevertheless, “a man slumped over at a Metro rail platform, it is not a reason to pull out your baton and beat him senseless,” Woods said. He said the group wants the Justice Department to investigate.