KELLER, Texas — For the first time publicly, Keller's newly elected mayor and police chief addressed the national outrage connected to the arrests of Marco and Dillon Puente
At the first council meeting of the year Tuesday night, Chief Brad Fortune apologized to the Puente family and the public in a special presentation.
"As your chief of police, I repeat that I'm sorry this incident occurred on my watch," Fortune said. "It should have never happened."
Body camera footage showing Marco Puente being pepper-sprayed and arrested solely for recording his son's encounter with police went viral last month following one of WFAA's reports.
Dillon Puente was pulled over for a traffic violation last August and was arrested when he didn't let Sgt. Blake Shimanek and another officer search his car.
Once Puente was in custody, Shimanek then had the legal right to search his car.
Bodycam video shows the officer found nothing illegal inside the car.
The footage also shows Marco Puente recording the situation on his phone across the street.
He's taken down by Shimanek and his colleague, pepper-sprayed, and arrested, according to the footage.
Within hours, Fortune said Tuesday night that the incident was reviewed and that charges against the Puentes were dropped.
Fortune also said that he personally apologized to Marco Puente and made sure that any money connected to their bail was refunded.
Following an internal affairs investigation, Shimanek was demoted by two ranks and has since been taken off patrol for an unknown period of time due to safety concerns, Fortune said Tuesday night.
The other officer, Ankit Tomer, was not disciplined because the facts didn't warrant any discipline, Fortune added in his presentation.
Fortune also said that he decided to hand Shimanek the discipline given after consulting with several law enforcement executives in the area.
Fortune's own chief-advisory council also deemed suspension to demotion appropriate discipline.
Since the video went viral, many have been asking for the department to do more.
That was a theme during public comment at the meeting. Several residents said the officers in question should be fired.
An online petition asking for the officers to be charged and fired gained at least 40,000 signatures as of Tuesday night.
Newly-elected Mayor Armin Mizani informed the public that he and other council members could not hand down discipline to officers.
Mizani did say that he and his colleagues can give input to the chief, however.
He's asking that protocols and best practices be reviewed within the department.
"Residents, including myself, have every right to be upset over this encounter," Mizani said.
"Isolated incidents like these will not be tolerated, but we can use this anger to form and build change."
Marco Puente is now suing both officers in federal court.
Fortune will be holding two town halls to discuss policing with the public on January 11 and 21st.
Times and locations have not been decided on yet.