A 14-year-old Arlington boy arrested this month as his mother shot cellphone video matched the “exact” description given to police by a witness to an attempted car burglary, according to a search warrant affidavit released by police Monday.
Randall Moore, the attorney for Chad Haning, the officer who made the arrest, said Monday that Haning also had the witness identify the teen at the scene before he was handcuffed.
The 14-year-old, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, was accused of breaking into a car at the Addison Park Apartments and trying to steal the radio, the affidavit said.
His mother, Latasha Nelson, recorded video of his arrest as well as the arrest of her 16-year-old son, who was accused of interfering with the investigation. She has said police pressured her to give up the video, indicating they would drop charges against her son if she did.
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Nelson’s attorney, Kim Cole, and activist Dominique Alexander, president of the Next Generation Action Network, have called for Haning to be punished and for the charges to be dropped. They have also sought for police to return Nelson’s cellphone, which was seized for evidence.
About 30 protesters met Monday evening outside Arlington City Hall, demanding that Haning be disciplined.
“We will not stop” protesting, Alexander said. “We will go to Chief Will Johnson’s doorstep if we have to.”
Alexander accused Haning of racial profiling.
“He found the first black child and stopped that child,” Alexander said.
Nelson spoke briefly, insisting on her son’s innocence.
She said she had sent her 14-year-old son to go check if the pool at the apartment was open. She then went to the bank. When she returned, she said, police were arresting her son.
“Something has to be done,” Nelson said. “Officers cannot get away with doing this to our kids. It’s horrible.”
The search warrant affidavit released Monday said a witness on July 3 reported to police that two black juvenile males were burglarizing her neighbor’s vehicle. The witness confronted the juveniles and “was able to get a good look at them,” the affidavit said.
When Haning arrived, he contacted the victim, who said that her vehicle had been broken into and that it appeared the suspects tried to take her radio.
Haning searched the area and found Nelson’s 14-year-old son, who matched “the exact [description] the witness gave,” the affidavit said.
At that point, while Haning began to walk the teen toward a patrol car, Nelson began recording the incident. On the video, Nelson questioned the arrest and told the officer that she believed her son was innocent.
“If I can’t get a tone of cooperation, then I’m going to have to ask you to get uninvolved,” the officer told Nelson.
After putting the teen in the patrol car, Nelson asked where the officer was taking her son.
“You’ve become uncooperative, so I’m not going to do that,” the officer told her. “I’m looking for a reason to release him. I’m not finding that.”
The affidavit said Nelson “became verbally aggressive and stood in the street in a manner that blocked the patrol vehicle from exiting.”
As Haning told Nelson to move, her 16-year-old son began approaching him “in an aggressive manner,” the affidavit said. The teen then “bumped him in his midsection and began to press his body on him,” prompting Haning to arrest him for interfering with the investigation, the affidavit said.
The video shows Haning pivoting toward the 16-year-old son and pushing him to the ground by the back of his head before handcuffing him.
Nelson’s phone was seized because Haning believed it contained video of the incident, the affidavit said.
Nelson initially agreed to have the video taken off her phone for evidence, according to the affidavit. But after arriving at the south Arlington police station, she “retracted consent” and refused to give officers the video because she claimed the charges against her sons had been dropped, the affidavit said.
The charges, though, had not been dropped. Police kept Nelson’s cellphone “in hopes of obtaining further evidence” linking Nelson’s 16-year-old son to the charge of interfering with the officer’s investigation.
The Nelson family is facing an eviction from their apartment over the incident, Cole said. Latasha Nelson found an eviction notice attached to her front door Friday.
The notice said: “On July 3, 2017, you, your occupants, or your guests were allegedly involved in a car break in. Two people were taken to jail. Criminal activity on any kind.”
The notice gave the family until Thursday to move out of their apartment and said there is no process for appealing the eviction.
Cole told the Star-Telegram that she advised the family to fight the eviction.
Management at the apartments did not respond to a request for comment Monday.