EXCLUSIVE: Odessa Mother’s Unlawful Arrest Caught on Camera 2/7/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
February 7, 2013
ODESSA, TX - Odessa Police Department’s internal investigation ruled that Dynique Pryor's arrest on March 13 was unlawful.
The woman was arrested, thrown to the ground and put behind bars for 15 hours, until she posted bail. The officers were reprimanded, but criminal charges against them could still be on the way.
On March 13th 2012, on the 400 block of Seminole St., Dynique Pryor’s 16-year-old son laid on the ground, detained by Odessa police Officers.
In Pryor’s cell phone video, you can see officer Jorge Amezola coming to help Pryor. Only a few seconds later, Pryor's cell phone caught the eye of Corporal Omero Carrasco.
He demands she put the phone away. Police dash cam video shows Pryor and Carrasco on the left. He repeatedly grabs Pryor’s arm.
Then officer Amezola returns and tells Pryor why her son is being detained, while Corporal Carrasco continues yelling.
After a scuffle, police rush over surrounding Pryor. She’s thrown to the ground.
At first glance criminal attorney Justin Low says there could be criminal charges against the officers.
"If the arrest was wrong, it would clearly be unlawful. They didn't have grounds to make the arrest. I heard the officer say pedestrian in the roadway, that alone is just not a crime," said criminal attorney Justin Low.
Low says charges could include assault, official oppression and unlawful restraint.
"His actions meet the element of unlawful restraint.... if that were and average individual that charge would probably be brought. The fact that he's a peace officer should not necessarily make a difference when they clearly act outside the law,” said Low.
During the arrest, OPD Detective Freddie Nayola and Corporal Omero Carrasco charged her with " failure to identify."
However they never asked for her identification. The department later determined that the charges Pryor received were false, through help from Pryor’s cell phone video.
NAACP President Gene Collins says that it’s videos from cell phones and dash cams that make a major difference in wrongfully arrests like this.
"The fact that it is documented, clearly seen here, certainly confirms the allegations that we've received. As I said before, we certainly don't want to judge the whole police department by reckless acts," said Collins.
Collins works closely with the police to resolve problems between the department and those living in that area.
He says although the incident was clearly wrong, there were other officers on scene that did act according to the law.
“We depend on them for protection in all neighborhoods and we expect a high level of professional conduct," said Collins.
OPD did suspend the two officers involved in the arrest. Nayola had 40 hours and Carrasco 80 hours. Both men later admitted that they lied in the investigation.
Pryor did not want to respond, at this time she is too afraid to comment on the arrest.
Ector County Attorney Scott Layh says if the case were presented before him, he would treat it just like any other.