January 6, 2020 — On January 4, 2021, a YouTube video began circulating on the San Angelo Police Department’s Facebook Page. The incident took place on October 4, 2020. The Axon Body Camera footage, recorded by a patrol officer employed by the San Angelo Police Department, recorded a response to a call for service regarding an alleged intoxicated driver with a child passenger who had entered a local shopping center.
Officers were advised that the subject was inside the store and had been in the parking lot harassing people. The subject was described as a white male, approximately 5’09”, with brown curly hair. The vehicle was described as a black Chevrolet Equinox with a known license plate and possible three-year-old child passenger.
Officers arrived and located the vehicle in question parked and unoccupied, which led the officers to believe that the child may be inside with the involved citizen.
As seen in the recording, the responding officers entered the store and detained a man that matched the description listed in the call notes. The detained man was also accompanied by a small child.
During the course of the officers’ detention and interaction with the man whom they believed could be the alleged driver, the officers attempted to compel the man to identify himself. When the man failed to comply with their requests to identify himself, the officers used physical force to effect an arrest for the charge of Failure to Identity when the elements of that offense were not, in fact, met.
There have been false reports circulating that the citizen’s child was left solely in the care of a store employee throughout the duration of the incident when, in fact, a San Angelo Police Officer remained with the child until the incident’s conclusion.
Department officials have been in contact with the involved citizen since shortly after the event and the Department’s Office of Professional Standards initiated an internal investigation on October 5, 2020. The disposition of the investigation has not been finalized.
“The responding officers clearly mishandled the incident through a mistake in law. The expectation is that all SAPD officers know the law and apply it properly and a failure to do so does not meet our policy or standards. We are very fortunate that one of our Patrol Supervisors swiftly intervened and prevented further harm to this man by releasing him before he was taken to jail. I recognize incidents such as this can lead to losing public confidence in police and I take our responsibilities to the public very seriously. It only takes one incident like this to undo the years of hard work and positive interactions by so many officers who are truly dedicated to protecting and serving the public.
My administration is aware of the depth of feeling surrounding this incident as well as the issue of police misconduct in our society. We are committed to policing our community with dignity, respect, fairness, and empathy — and when those important values are not being met — we will do everything we can to learn from it and take corrective action.” — Chief of Police, Frank Carter
(Video located at www.facebook.com/SanAngeloPoliceDepartment)