BAYTOWN, Texas — Baytown police are investigating after a cell phone video showing two men arrested for cursing while questioning their friend’s arrest has gone viral.
The video had garnered at least 68,000 views as of Thursday afternoon.
“This was my first time going to jail,” said Skylar Gilmore. “I’m a law-abiding citizen, and I got sent to jail for cursing.”
Gilmore was with his friends, Isaiah Benavides and Isaiah Phillips, when another friend, Jostin Moore, was pulled over in a separate car Tuesday outside the Baytown Market Convenience Store.
Benavides started recording the traffic stop, which led to Moore’s arrest. Police say that arrest was for unspecified traffic violations and an outstanding warrant out of Deer Park.
About four and a half minutes into the video, one of the two Baytown police officers walks over to Gilmore and tells him he’s under arrest for “cussing in public”. Roughly 15 seconds later, the video shows the officer throw Gilmore to the ground and knee him in the face.
The second officer grabs Phillips from behind.
Police arrested Gilmore for disorderly conduct-language for using profanity. On Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office confirmed prosecutors dropped a separate charge of interfering with public duties because of lack of evidence.
Isiah Phillips was also arrested on the same municipal foul language charge as Gilmore.
“They slammed me on my friend Skylar’s hood, used my face to dent his hood,” Phillips said. “That’s not proper.”
Baytown Police Chief Keith Dougherty filed the complaint against the officers.
“I try to hold people accountable, and I feel the frustration,” Chief Dougherty said.
The chief told KHOU 11 civil service protections require a complaint and an investigation before firing an officer.
“Obviously I felt that there were some better judgments that could have been made, and so that’s why I called for the investigation,” he said.
Chief Dougherty said both cops in the video are on desk duty while Internal Affairs does their investigation, which could result in termination.
The chief made the comments near a protest outside Baytown Police Headquarters Thursday afternoon. Benavides, Gilmore and Phillips joined around 200 people calling for more police accountability.
“We’re walking together,” Benavides said. “We’re not just doing this for us. We’re doing this for our community, period.”
Ralpheal White said interactions with the same officer seen throwing Gilmore to the ground landed White in the hospital twice.
“I’ve been laid down with my hands behind my back, and he put on a dog on me when I asked him numerous times not to put a dog on me,” White said. “I work. He made me have to quit my job behind me being in the hospital for two weeks.”
KHOU 11 also requested both officers’ disciplinary records from Baytown PD.
Thursday’s march was hosted by the family of Pamela Turner, who was shot and killed by a different Baytown police officer in March 2019.
Turner’s case is in the hands of the Harris County DA’s Office waiting to go before a grand jury.