‘I was fearing for my life:’ Teen speaks out after Schertz police arrest caught on camera

Zekee Rayford’s family asks for dismissal of criminal charges

Zekee Rayford’s family and attorneys held a press conference Monday, two weeks after he was arrested in front of his home.

The family of an 18-year-old man who was violently arrested by Schertz police are asking prosecutors to drop the criminal charges against him.

Zekee Rayford’s family and attorneys held a press conference Monday, two weeks after he was arrested in front of his home.

On Nov. 2, police said they attempted to stop Rayford after he drove through a red light off Schertz Parkway. Rayford allegedly drove to the Wilson Preserve neighborhood, where he attempted to flee on foot after he parked the vehicle in a driveway.

The home security footage first shows Rayford standing in his driveway with his hands in the air as police point their service guns at him. Then he runs to the home’s front door, where a second camera shows police tackling him at the doorstep.

In the video, police can be heard telling Rayford that he was under arrest and to stop resisting. One police officer is seen using a stun gun in the footage, while another officer can be seen kneeing the teen repeatedly.

The front door opens as police, still struggling with the suspect, tell Rayford’s family that he was being arrested for running from them. The family is heard in the footage confronting the officers over their use of force.

One of the officers replies to a family member, “You better relax, or you’re going to get it next. I promise you, you will.”

Rayford was charged with felony evading in a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and detention, and possession of marijuana.

Police officers Megan Fennesy, Danielle Apgar and Frank Chavarria have been removed from patrol duty while the police department conducts an internal investigation to see if protocol was properly followed.

“I was pretty scared. I was fearing for my life trying to get to the door,” Rayford said when asked about the experience. “I was hoping that my dad would come, and he did eventually.”

Zekee Rayford’s father, Kevin Rayford, recalled his experience as a veteran.

“I was charged with people that were out to kill me,” Kevin Rayford said. “And I never treated them the way that my son was treated that night. To be threatened in my own home when I’m trying to check on my son is totally uncalled for. I just want to see justice.”

Zekee Rayford’s attorneys say at least one of the officers may have a “checkered past," and that the police department has not reached out to them yet in the course of their internal investigation.

“Sadly, we live in a state where an unarmed Black man and, in this situation an unarmed Black kid, is treated much worse than we have seen white males who are armed with guns being treated," attorney Daryl Washington said. “(Kevin Rayford) just wonders what would have happened if he was not at home, or if he did not open that door.”

The family is asking for the charges to be dropped, for the officers to lose their jobs, and for a full release of their body cam footage.

The attorneys say the charges have been filed in court in Guadalupe County, though Zekee Rayford has not been indicted yet. Guadalupe County records show Zekee Rayford also has other pending marijuana cases in unrelated incidents.

An attorney representing Chavarria, Robert McCabe, previously said Zekee Rayford failed to make “the legal and rational choice to stop” when police tried pulling him over. McCabe also said the officers' pursuit and use of force was lawful.

Police say the teen fled from them in his car and then resisted arrest, but the family said, "“It was unjust and uncalled for and threatening and a misuse of force. It just makes us feel unsafe in the community we live in.”

About the Authors:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.