Ateenager who was seemingly racially profiled in Texas for walking while Black has had all charges against him dropped days after his arrest for walking in the street during last week’s historic snowstorm that crippled most of the state. The dropped charges against Rodney Reese were announced Sunday, but not before the 18-year-old could speak out about the encounter with Plano police that was captured on bodycam video and released following community backlash from the arrest.
Reese, wearing only a t-shirt and jeans, was carrying groceries while walking home alone on a street with no cars or pedestrians to be seen when he was stopped by officers as snow fell and blanketed the ground last Tuesday night. He was returning from working at Walmart and repeatedly told the officers that he didn’t require any help or assistance and that everything was fine when they asked. However, the officers just wouldn’t believe Reese, got out of the car and accosted him because he exercised his Constitutional rights and refused to identify himself. That prompted the officers to get physical and aggressive, moving to restrain him and place him in custody – despite the absence of a single law having been broken.
However, Reese was ultimately told his offense by an officer: “you’re walking in the middle of the road.”
Again, there were no cars or pedestrians in the middle of what turned out to be an unprecedented snowstorm in Texas, the likes of which the state is still reeling from.
It was unclear what exact threat he posed and to whom.
The Plano Police Department said the officers were responding to a wellness check because Reese wasn’t wearing clothing appropriate for the weather. The police said after officers told him he was “being lawfully detained for the violation of Pedestrian in the Roadway,” he walked away, which is apparently an arrestable offense. He was going to be charged with resisting arrest, but the police ended up dropping it.
The teenager was arrested and ended up spending a night in jail.
Watch the troubling bodycam video below or by clicking here.
Reese recently spoke to local media and shared his feelings about why he was arrested.
“Just because I’m Black, that’s it,” Reese told Fox 4 News. “Just ’cause I’m Black, I fit the description.”
As we’ve all seen, things could have ended up much worse for Reese. Texas, of course, is home to multiple high-profile police killings of unarmed Black people in recent years.
This is America.