Hurst teen speaks out for first time after incident with officer

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 29 at 1:27 PM

HURST -- For the first time since the controversial video of Hurst Police Officer Disraeli Arnold surfaced on YouTube, the target of the officer's threats, 17-year-old Andrew Rodriguez, spoke to the media.

"I'm doing pretty good," Rodriguez said. "I'd like to thank everybody who has helped my family through Facebook and YouTube and Twitter."

Rodriguez didn't take any questions, but released a two-page statement. He took responsibility for using foul language during the incident, which occurred last week at a Hurst park.

Rodriguez's friend captured the incident on his cell phone. It shows the teen struggling with another officer initially before appearing to calm down until Arnold, who was called for backup, sprints into the frame and appears to knee Rodriguez while he was on the ground.

"Again, I was scared, I was nervous and I feared for my safety at the time, starting at the moment that Officer Arnold assaulted me," Rodriguez wrote in the statement.

Rodriguez and his mother, Kelly Pope, filed a formal complaint against the four-year veteran of the department.

"It has been horrendous, you know?" Pope said. "Someone to treat your son like that, it's very sad."

Rodriguez is facing a charge for resisting arrest. He was arrested at the park for an outstanding warrant for disorderly conduct. The warrant stems from a fight he had in the eighth grade.

He plans to plead not guilty.

Carlos Quintanilla from Accion America is representing the family.

"[Rodriguez] has asked for the U.S Attorney to formally investigate the case and the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office to investigate this independently," Quintanilla said.

Arnold is on paid administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation. He still has his badge and service weapon.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com


Statement of Andrew Rodriguez

My name is Andrew Rodriguez; I reside at [redacted], Hurst Texas with my Mother Kelly Pope. I am 17 years of age and of sound mind and capable of writing this Affidavit, which has been explained to me as being my sworn testimony of what happened at Bellaire Park on November 20th 2012.

I am a student at Winfrie High School and graduated from Hurst Junior High School. I was unaware that I had an outstanding warrant for Trespassing an offense that occurred more than four years ago while I was a minor.

I did not have any drugs in my possession nor did I have or own any drug paraphernalia of which is indicated in the report. I am not a member of any street gang nor do I associate with any known street gang members.

I was informed that I had an outstanding warrant by Officer Jimenez, I indicated to him that I wanted to call my mother, I was very nervous, as I have never been arrested before. The Officer grabbed me to put me in his custody and I did not resist, again I was nervous and afraid. The Officer eventually put me in his control, he asked me to kneel, and I did. He asked me to lie on the ground, I did. He asked me to put my hands behind my back I did. I even asked him if I could pull down my shirt first and he allowed me. I was then under total control of the Officer and was handcuffed.

After that I could hear someone running and then I felt a hit to my head and heard Officer Disraeli Arnold, badge Number 654 calling me vulgar and life threatening names. He threatened to “[expletive] me up” he threatened to “kill me” and he continued to threatened me several times using language unbecoming a police officer.

I recognized that I also used language that my mother would not approve of and apologize to my family and all those who have seen the video for my wrong use of words.  Again, I was scared, I was nervous and I feared for my safety at that time, starting at the moment that Officer Arnold assaulted me.

I will plead not guilty in that I did not resist arrest and have no ownership of any of the items referred to in the report, they were not in my possession and I claim no ownership in them.

I am requesting that The Hurst Police Department conduct a thorough investigation as to the behavior of Officer Disraeli Arnold.

I am formally requesting that concurrently with the investigation that the Hurst Police Department submit a Request to the Tarrant County District Attorney and the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas to determine through an Independent Investigation, if Officer Disraeli Arnold used excessive and life threatening force, violated my civil rights and as a result of his actions should be terminated from the force and prosecuted.

I would like to thank the so many people who have contacted my family with kind words of support either through You Tube, facebook, twitter and local media. To all of you here today and who have covered the story, thank you very much.

Andrew Rodriguez

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