NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – After a failed attempt to mediate a complaint with the New Braunfels Police Department, city officials on Monday released an expletive-laced video of a traffic stop, which showed a Black man who was pulled over, stunned and handcuffed by an officer over a “dirty license plate.”
City officials called the actions of the officer, Kaleb Meyer, “unacceptable.” Following the traffic stop, Meyer received additional training, but he has resigned from the department within the past few months, according to City Manager Robert Camareno. Former Police Chief Tom Wibert also resigned partially due to the matter, Camareno said.
“We want to make it abundantly clear that the actions of the officer in the video are not acceptable to the city of New Braunfels and not representative of the men and women of the police department of the city of New Braunfels,” Mayor Rusty Brockman said. “We are working with our local Martin Luther King Jr. Association, the New Bruanfels Police Officers Association and the city’s newly formed inclusion diversity, equity and awareness forum to have an open dialogue and move forward in a positive way.”
In the video, Meyer is seen approaching Clarence Crawford’s car with his gun drawn. Meyer orders Crawford to put his hands on the wheel.
Crawford put one hand on the wheel, and the other was visibly on his phone, possibly to record the interaction. Meyer then ordered Crawford to put the phone down.
“You’re not going to shoot me?” Crawford asked Meyer.
Crawford eventually gets out of his car and kneels in front of Meyer. Meyer ordered Crawford to lay down on his face.
“Lay down! All the way,” Meyer yelled at Crawford as he used a stun gun on him twice.
“What the f—k are you doing man,” Crawford asks him.
Meyer told Crawford he took too long to pull over, and Crawford responded that he pulled over when it was safe. Meyer also told Crawford he initially pulled him over for a “dirty license plate.”
Crawford remained handcuffed on the ground until a female officer arrived and helped de-escalate the situation. Camareno credited the second officer, saying she demonstrated the proper protocol.
Crawford was arrested that night, charged with fleeing from a police officer and interfering with public duties. Those charges have been dropped at the request of the police department, Camareno said.
Comal County court records show Crawford only had one prior speeding offense before the traffic stop took place.
Camareno said the video has since been used to train officers on proper protocol. City officials wanted to release this video sooner but held off at the request of Crawford, who had filed a complaint with the department.
“However, as I mentioned earlier, mediation completed unsuccessfully recently and so we can get into some transparency, we wanted to show this to our community and talk about it,” Camareno said.
It’s unclear what either side was seeking in mediation and why it ended unsuccessfully.
Police interactions with communities of color have been more scrutinized since the death of George Floyd, who died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Camareno said that, by and large, police have positive interactions with minorities in New Braunfels.
“If you were to witness their interaction with our community of color, you need only to attend the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred a few months earlier,” Camareno said. “Our police officers went around handing out water, talking to people, praying with people. That’s the New Braunfels Police Department.”
Camareno said the police department is in the midst of reviewing its protocols in procedure to prevent this from happening again in the future.