JERSEY VILLAGE, Texas — Community activists are demanding that a Jersey Village police officer be fired immediately and face criminal charges after a traffic stop that quickly went south.
Patrick Royal was pulled over for a broken taillight a few days before Christmas while taking a lunch break.
Royal gave the officer his driver's license but argued that his taillight wasn't broken and turned on his signal to show them it was working. He said he needed to get back to work and asked to talk with a supervisor.
The officer then ordered Royal to get out of the car "or your gonna get pepper-sprayed."
Royal got out with his hands in the air but that's when things suddenly escalated from 0 to 100.
Royal said one of the officers put a gun to his head and the officer can be heard on the bodycam footage saying, "I'll f------ kill you, you stupid mother f-----."
"I didn’t do nothing to him. It’s just messed up, like, that keeps replaying in my head, 'I’ll kill you,'" Royal said Wednesday during a news conference with Houston activists.
The officer then forced Royal to the ground and handcuffed him before putting him in the back of the patrol car while they searched his vehicle.
Quanell X called the officer "trigger happy" and said his behavior was "atrocious."
“His conduct was so reckless, we thank God that this young man is still alive," the activist said. “That Jersey Village police deputy should never be allowed to carry a gun again, for that man, one day, will kill somebody if he’s not stopped.”
Quanell said the officers held Royal for 45 minutes, "vandalized" his car and threw his groceries on the ground before ticketing him and releasing him.
Quanell believes the officer should be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and civil rights violations.
“Not one time did this young man not comply, not one time did this young man use aggressive language,” Quanell said. “They automatically believe that we are a threat and they have to use such conduct and such force to deal with us."
We reached out to Jersey Village police and they said the video released doesn't tell the whole story. They said Royal dropped his cellphone when he got out of the car and when he reached for it, his sudden movement "startled the officer."
"You understand how that could be misinterpreted," the officer said to Royal on the bodycam.
JVPD later said it has now launched an investigation and released the following statement.
"Prior to being alerted by the news media, the Jersey Village Police Department had not received any complaints in reference to this traffic stop. As is the case when any complaint is received, we have opened an inquiry into the allegations made in the complaint. We want to assure the public it is always our goal that every contact with officers from this department be positive and satisfactory. When that does not occur, we take these incidents seriously and review them objectively. If it is determined that there are any policy violations, they will be forwarded to our Internal Affairs Division for a complete investigation.
We are aware that only a thirty second clip of the traffic stop in question was released to the news media today. This does not provide your viewers the full account of what occurred during this traffic stop, nor does it depict the actions of the driver pulling away from an officer, and attempting to reach into the vehicle. This was captured on in car dash camera video."
Quanell said Royal's taillights were working so the officer ended up ticketing him for window tint. He said a traffic court judge later dismissed the ticket.