Editorials

Questionable police conduct needs to end

Latasha Nelson, right, speaks at a news conference with attorney Kim T. Cole, left, on Thursday, July 13, 2017, at the Next Generation Action Network in Dallas. Nelson says police in the Dallas suburb of Arlington offered to drop charges against her two teenage sons in exchange for a cellphone video she shot that allegedly shows an officer needlessly pushing her older son to the ground and arresting him.
Latasha Nelson, right, speaks at a news conference with attorney Kim T. Cole, left, on Thursday, July 13, 2017, at the Next Generation Action Network in Dallas. Nelson says police in the Dallas suburb of Arlington offered to drop charges against her two teenage sons in exchange for a cellphone video she shot that allegedly shows an officer needlessly pushing her older son to the ground and arresting him. AP

If someone wanted to drive off with your child, wouldn’t you want to know where they were going?

What if your child got in trouble because you asked?

These questions are causing a lot of trouble for Arlington police.

In a recent incident, a 14-year-old boy was stopped and detained because he matched the description of a suspect involving the burglary of a vehicle.

The boy’s mother, Latasha Nelson, videoed some of the police encounter. The officers escorted the teen to a cruiser. After one officer drove off, Nelson’s other son, 16, was tackled to the ground and accused of interfering with police duties.

The reasoning behind the charge is unclear. Nothing in the video indicates the response was warranted.

As with the Jacqueline Craig video in Fort Worth that went viral late last year, this video shows a local officer escalating a situation over something that could have been resolved with proper communication.

“Upon reviewing the video posted on social media, there are many questions that must be answered,” police said in a statement.

A police encounter should not leave so many questions unanswered.

Peace officers are professionals whose job is to de-escalate and control difficult situations while making sure criminal offenders are dealt with appropriately. They are supposed to be the people with the answers.

In the video, Nelson seemed cooperative and polite, asking reasonable questions like “What’s your name?” and “Where are you taking my son?”

One officer accused her of being uncooperative. The other drove off with the 14-year-old.

You can hear the fear in Nelson’s voice when she asked for answers and raised her voice.

The officer called for backup, arrested her 16-year-old son and took Nelson’s phone as “evidence.”

Even worse, Nelson and her lawyers allege the Arlington PD pressured her to hand over the video in exchange for dropping charges.

If that is true, Arlington police made a significant error. This hurts the trust between the police department and the residents.

One officer’s poor conduct is a problem, but allegations the department is trying to cover it up are a real cause for concern.

We need answers.

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