The crowd was slow to disperse early Thursday morning at Dillinger’s on the downtown San Marcos Square. Photos by Sean Batura.
By SEAN BATURA
Police tased and arrested a man as they attempted to disperse a massive crowd at Dillinger’s on the downtown square at closing time early Thursday morning.
The tasing of 21-year-old Roshan Deandre Jackson occurred shortly before 2:05 a.m., as a crowd of about 500 people congregated outside the nightclub. Police reports indicate that Jackson was involved in a fight and physically resisted officers’ efforts to detain him. Jackson was later charged with assault on a public servant, a felony.
The incident occurred hours after the end of final examinations to close out the spring semester at Texas State. Dillingers’ spring graduation edition of its weekly “Whatever You Like Wednesday” also ended badly for another individual — 21-year-old Drenard Paul Williams, who was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct-fighting, a Class C misdemeanor.
“Both arrests stemmed from the same crowd, and the fight within the crowd, and all that,” said San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Commander Chase Stapp.
Stapp said he didn’t know if the two men are San Marcos residents.
“At first I just seen the police push him, and — he pushed him into the other policeman, and I guess the other policeman thought he was being attacked, and then they pushed him and tased him, and put him on the ground,” said Lawrence Taylor about the altercation with Jackson and the San Marcos police, who declined to reveal whether he is a San Marcos resident.
Stapp said Taylor’s account is not accurate based on the police reports.
“Those big fights get to be a mess to try and sort out,” Stapp said. “People tend to disperse very quickly and sometimes you only get one party detained before the other is gone … Those kinds of things are fairly common, especially at bar closing hours, where people tend to be under the influence of alcohol, and then they’ll start to fight over words exchanged or whatever. It’s usually silly in the end, when you look back on it.”
Austin resident William Morrealle sported a black eye after an assault he said occurred near the intersection of LBJ Drive and Hopkins Street.
Morrealle said an officer twice told him to “shut up” after he attempted to explain the injury. Morrealle said the officer seemed preoccupied with happenings in the crowd. Morrealle said the assailant disappeared after the attack. Stapp said that, to his knowledge, no report was filed in connection with Morrealle’s injury.
Police began massing at the scene before 2 a.m. and attempted to disperse the crowd, which had spilled into one of the southwest-bound vehicular lanes on Hopkins Street. Shortly after Jackson’s arrest, police attempts to disperse the crowd became more persistent. Eleven law enforcement vehicles, including at least one Hays County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) cruiser, lined both sides of Hopkins Street between LBJ Drive and Guadalupe Street. Officers threatened anyone who lingered on the street or sidewalk with arrest, and told everyone to leave.
“Officers have to get these crowds — when violence erupts in a crowd like that — one of the first things they got to do is try and get the crowd to disperse, to try and quell the violence, so that’s why they do that,” Stapp said.
Title 9 of the Texas Penal Code states a person may be charged with obstructing a highway or other passageway if he or she disobeys “a reasonable request or order to move issued by a person the actor knows to be or is informed is a peace officer,” as long as the reason for the order is “to maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in dangerous proximity to a fire, riot, or other hazard,” in the language of the statute.
Jackson and Williams are African Americans. Most who were in Thursday’s gathering outside Dillingers are African Americans.
Within minutes of the tasing, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel arrived to inspect Jackson for injuries related to the tasing.
“That’s standard procedure for us,” Stapp said. “Since the taser barbs do actually penetrate the skin by 1/16 of an inch or so, we do that as standard protocol. He was transported to the jail without any further incident.”
According to SMPD’s 2008 and 2009 Use of Force Reports, police officers used tasers 30 times in 2006, 30 times in 2007, 31 times in 2008, and 36 times in 2009. According to the same reports, officers threatened to use tasers on 83 occasions in 2006, 85 times in 2007, on 61 occasions in 2008, and 72 times in 2009. Officers displayed firearms 126 times in 2006, on 126 occasions in 2007, 148 times in 2008, and on 223 occasions in 2009.
Instances of police use of force against African Americans increased from 10 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2009, according to the 2009 and 2008 Use of Force Reports issued by SMPD. According to the federal government’s 2006-2008 American Community Survey (ACS), 5.2 percent of San Marcos residents are Black. Police uses of force against Whites decreased from 46 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2009. White residents of San Marcos comprise 57.9 percent of the population, according to the ACS. Police use of force against Hispanics decreased from 44 percent in 2008 to 42 percent in 2009. According to the ACS, Hispanic or Latinos are 34.6 percent of the city’s population.
In 2009, police officers completed Use of Force Reports on 238 occasions as a result of 80,891 contacts with civilians, and police used or threatened to use force against civilians in 0.3 percent of contacts, or about once every 36.8 hours, according to the 2009 Year in Review.
In 2008, officers completed a Use of Force Report on 201 separate incidents following almost 59,000 contacts, and police used or threatened to use force against citizens about once every 43.7 hours, according to the 2008 Year in Review.
“In 2009, officers reported 107 completed uses of force,” states the 2009 Use of Force Report. “In 65 incidents, the officers used empty hand techniques, such as grabbing a suspect, twisting an arm, or wrestling a subject to the ground. Officers used the taser 36 times. In two cases each, officers used a wrap restraint to secure a violently resisting subject, used pepper spray to subdue a suspect, or used the PIT maneuver to terminate a pursuit.”
According to the report, 289 of the citizens against whom officers used force reported no injury, 20 reported minor injuries and none reported a serious injury. Of the citizens reporting minor injuries, 10 reported an injury that required hospital treatment. Eight officers received minor injuries during the year.
Eleven cruisers lined Hopkins Street at bar closing time Thursday morning.
(Editor’s note: The above has been clarified to show that all the use of force statistics come from the San Marcos Police Department’s Use of Force Reports.)Email | Print