A surveillance video showing the controversial arrest of a black social worker in Houston has been released.
In March, the woman, Earledreka White, was pulled over by officer Gentian Luca for crossing over a solid white line in the southwest part of the city. After disputing the issue with the officer, she called 911, claiming he was being aggressive with her.
In the video, White can be seen talking on the phone while the officer stands by for around three minutes, he then pins her against the car and handcuffs her she yells for Luca to release her.
“I would like another officer to come out here,” she told the dispatcher. “My heart is racing. I’m really afraid,” according to the Houston Cronicle. In the four-minute video released Wednesday, Luca can be heard talking and shouting, but it’s unclear what he is saying.
“Being pulled over is not the troubling part—what happened after being pulled over is what baffles me,” White told the Chronicle. “As I tell the dispatcher that this man is threatening to ‘tase’ me, he backs away, then comes back and literally tries to break my arm.”
“(The video shows) she was not acting aggressive,” said her attorney, Zachary Fertitta, according to ABC13. “She was not combative.”
White, who has no previous record, was charged with resisting arrest for allegedly refusing to hand over identification.
She was quoted by the Houston Press as saying that the officer told her to “get your [expletive] back in the car” and threatened to use a Taser.
“There was no danger to him—none,” Fertitta told the Press. “You have a questionable traffic offense to begin with. Then, we go from nonverbal—no instructions, communication, nothing—escalating to physically grabbing this lady during a traffic stop. Why?”
Houston Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Chief Vera Bumpers said it was a misunderstanding.
“It’s important that we all think respect first and obey the officers when you are given a directive to stay in your car,” said Bumpers, reported ABC13. “It’s for your safety.”
“There was no need to be on the phone with 911,” Bumpers told the Press. “911 is an emergency call. He was not threatening her. He was acting under the color of law as a police officer. To me, when your life is in danger, that is when we utilize 911, which is why the 911 operator transferred her to Metro.”
“The perception does look negative, but once you talk to the officer, once we reviewed everything … there were answers to what transpired,” she said, according to the Washington Post.
Bumpers said White was on the phone for three minutes while speaking to a 911 dispatcher while Luca waited.
“I think he showed restraint and patience during the incident,” said Bumpers. “I think he just really tried and allowed her to calm down. He waited … while she was on the 911 call three minutes, I think, and that’s a long time.”
Houston’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President James Douglas said he watched an edited version of White’s arrest, noting that the officer was within his rights to ask her to get back in the car.
But, “he got impatient,” Douglas told the Chronicle. “This is obviously a police officer who needs some training on how to de-escalate a situation. And I would think it would be especially important in today’s climate.”