Crime

Watch: Texas woman, 19, says she was attacked, injured by off-duty police officer

An off-duty Nacogdoches police officer working security for an apartment complex is at the center of what has become a controversial arrest.

The officer, Josh Anders, said he approached a group of young women in the parking lot Wednesday due to ongoing issues with criminal activity at the complex in the 1600 block of Cardinal Street, according to police.

Anders requested help from on-duty officers when several of the women refused orders not to leave while a trespassing investigation was underway, police said in a statement.

Anders said two of the women resisted arrest, police reported. Anders required medical attention for minor injuries after the incident, police said.

One suspect walked away, while Lindsey Ogbonna, 19, of Nacogdoches, was arrested and is facing a resisting arrest charge, according to police.

A criminal investigation into the alleged assault on the officer is ongoing and further charges may be filed, police said.

Kim Cole, an attorney representing some of the women, said in a statement that Anders - who wore plaid shorts and an orange T-shirt - identified himself as a security guard but not a police officer and that witnesses to the incident questioned his true identity.

The bikini-clad black female students had just returned from a pool party and were still in the parking lot when the officer approached and demanded to know why they were on the property, Cole said. Several of the students told him they lived there and “questioned who he was and why he was harassing them,” Cole said.

As the women began to leave, Anders demanded they stay where they were, but the women continued to walk away, the statement said.

Anders got into a police car with lights flashing and drove closer to the group, pursuing the woman who was farthest away, the attorney’s statement said. Anders got out of the car, “ripped the wig off her head, tore the T-shirt from her body, put her in a headlock and slammed her to the ground,” the statement said.

Two other women tried to free her while asking who Anders was and for him to let go of their friend, the statement said.

Arrest described by lawyer as brutal

Anders let that woman go and slammed Ogbonna to the ground, forcing his knee into her pelvic area, exposing her breasts and locking her in a wrestling hold, the attorney’s statement said.

Ogbonna sustained numerous injuries during the arrest and was accused of assault on a public servant, the statement said.

“Neither of the brutalized young ladies had any clue whatsoever that this belligerent vicious brute was even a police officer,” the statement said.

Cole asked in her statement that Anders be charged for the role he played during the arrest and that all charges against Ogbonna be dropped.

A protest march is planned to begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday just outside Stephen F. Austin State University campus that will end at the Nacogdoches Police Department, Cole’s statement said. Officers with the university police department will monitor the planned event to make sure it remains peaceful, said Shirley Luna, university spokeswoman.

Ogbanna is a sophomore student attending classes at Stephen F. Austin State University, Luna said.

Cole released cell phone video of the incident, and the Nacogdoches Police Department has also released the dashboard camera video from Anders’ car.

“Transparency is of utmost importance to the Nacogdoches Police Department,” Sgt Brett Ayres, public information officer with the Nacogdoches Police Department said in a statement on Facebook. “Several concerns have been expressed by the community members affected and we are committed to continuing conversations with all involved.” 

Nacogdoches is about 200 miles southeast of Fort Worth.

Lawyer also represented family in McKinney pool party arrest

Cole, the attorney retained to represent some of the women involved in this incident, also represented the family of Dajerria Becton, a 15-year-old girl involved in a violent police take-down in June 2015 during a pool party in McKinney.

Becton and her guardian, Shasona Becton, and their attorneys, agreed to a $184,850 settlement award after suing McKinney officials for $5 million in federal court. The officer involved in the arrest, Eric Casebolt, resigned following the release of cell phone video of the incident.

A grand jury declined to indict Casebolt. Casebolt was seen in cell phone video footage of the incident running after African-American teens and ordering them to the ground as he tried to break up the pool party, then forcing Becton onto her stomach on the ground and placing his knees on her back.

Casebolt was one of a dozen officers who responded to the 911 disturbance calls at the pool, where an estimated 100 teens were celebrating the end of the school year.

The McKinney police chief later called Casebolt’s actions at the pool “indefensible.”

This story contains information from Star-Telegram archives.

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