SCHERTZ, Texas - The Schertz Police Department announced on Thursday its findings of the internal investigation into the claims of excessive use of force in the November arrest of a local teenager.
Officers tried to pull over Zekee Rayford, 18, on Nov. 2 and ended up chasing him up to the front door of his home. Surveillance video showed Rayford as police kicked and tased him while he screamed for his father.
Schertz Police said in a press release that the investigation concluded that while they found violations of Rules of Conduct that says officers on duty need to be kind, courteous and patient, they didn't find any violations of the Use of Force policy or any other Rules of Conduct violations.
The video of the arrest gives more insight on what happened after the arrest, including the chase officers were in with Rayford.
In the video, you can see the officer first spot Rayford driving and about 40 seconds later, start to speed up to catch him. The officer follows Rayford for about 30 seconds before turning their lights on.
However, Rayford continues, even speeding up until he gets to his home. The entirety of the chase lasts about one minute and 10 seconds, from the point the unit lights are on and until Rayford steps out of his vehicle outside his home.
Body camera footage continues to show the interaction already viewed on security footage, with more audio insight on what officers and Rayford’s father were saying.
When Rayford’s father does come outside, he can be seen clinching his fist, to which one officer tells him to unclench it or “you’re going to get it next.”
The family hired attorney Artessia House who said what the video captures is a really shocking scene.
"When we think about law enforcement we count on them in order to keep us safe," House said. "We don't count that our civil rights would be violated. We don't count that there would be unreasonable use of force."
A possession of marijuana charge against Rayford was later dropped.
After hearing the findings of the investigation House says she nor the Rayford's are surprised.
"What we see is an entity that is protecting themselves because they are afraid to be exposed to legal liability but that existed when their officers decided to take actions that we believe are contrary to what the law provides," House said.
The statement did say that the investigation did "identify training opportunities to reinforce policies and procedures and enhance the department’s continuous improvement and use of best practices in policing."
“Our focus now should be on improving our training, policies, and procedures to better meet the needs of everyone in our community. I recognize it is not enough to simply say that we will do better, and it is my expectation that we take this opportunity to acknowledge the different perspectives that have been brought forward and explore how those views can improve future interactions with the public," said City Manager Mark Browne. "It is also important that we continue the good policing that we provide every day to keep our community safe and that starts by preserving the trust and confidence our residents have in us,” Browne states. “In every interaction we have with the public, we must do what’s right. My hope going forward is that we continue to do so while working cooperatively together so that we can maintain a community in which all individuals receive the respect, acceptance, positive regard, and safety that they deserve."
They said that training will begin in early 2021.
"Till this day, we've not been contacted by the Schertz Police Department with any type of apology," House said. "For the quote unquote lack of courteousness that they should have been able to identify on their own without some type of third party coming in and having to let them know, and give them a slap on the hand that they've been bad cookies in this case."
House says the teen and his family are still looking for answers.
"Right now we're still in investigatory stages but Mr. Ray for plans to pursue to the furthest extent of the law," House said.
House says the Rayford's hope the department takes this New Year to look at themselves and usher in change in 2021.