Two police officers were involved in a recent Tasing incident that is being investigated for potentially using excessive force on a Prairie View City Council member. One of the officers was involved in the Sandra Bland arrest this summer, which led from a routine traffic violation to Bland’s dead body being discovered in her jail cell within a matter of hours. The incident has been the source of heated controversy in the following months after a recent spate of police allegedly using excessive or deadly force.
Prairie View Councilman Jonathan Miller was Tased outside his home after the two police officers, one of which was involved in the July arrest of Sandra Bland, approached three of Miller’s college fraternity brothers while they were on the lawn to practice a step routine for Homecoming.
Bystanders Questioned About Local Drug Activity
The officer involved in the controversial Sandra Bland incident told the men that they were being questioned because of suspicious “drug activity” in the area. Miller saw the officer questioning his fraternity brothers, and came outside to speak with the police officer, whom he knew.
“I knew the officer, she knew me, so I figured if I let her know that these are my guests it’d, you know, kind of lessen the tension,” Miller stated on October 12th, following the Tasing incident.
The entire escalation of the situation was caught on body cameras that the police officers were wearing at the time. After speaking with the police for a few moments, Miller is told by the other police officer to take a few steps back. Miller complies, but is heard on the recording asking the officer to not “put your hands on me.”
Officer Arrests City Council Member for Resisting, Tases Him
The officer keeps telling Miller to step further away, and goes on to tell Miller, “You’re always starting problems, so go back there.” “I live here,” Miller replies. The officer tells Miller to stand further away, and threatens to arrest him if he doesn’t obey.
Miller continues to stand in his yard, so the officer goes to arrest Miller. But it’s then that the body cam was removed or fell off of the officer, and police and reports have to rely on eyewitness testimony to confirm what may have followed.
The Prairie View Police Department maintains that Miller “resisted arrest,” despite requesting for Miller to comply with the arrest. But an eyewitness started to film the following incident with a cell phone, and filmed Miller laying still on the ground with his arms clearly at his side. Moments after, the officer is seen Tasing Miller, despite the fact that he had remained motionless.
Miller was later arrested for “interfering with an investigation” and “resisting arrest,” with the charges pending. Despite the Tasing incident and spending a night in jail, Miller remains logical in his statements to the media.
“I feel like it escalated to a situation where I was Tased and it shouldn’t have came that far,” Miller said. “I just feel like it was unwarranted to be harassed like that.”
Miller Had Recently Voted to Increase Pay for Police Officers
Miller is the youngest member elected to the City Council, after graduating from Prairie View A&M University in May. He comes from a history of community leadership; his father having been elected president of the school board twice, where he also taught as a principal.
In a recent City Council decision, Miller voted in favor of raising pay for police officers. He was asked if he regretted that decision after being Tased and arrested in his front yard this past week. “No regrets,” Miller said. “I just feel like if you have those resources they need to be used in a proper way.”
Prairie View Police are currently investigating the incident, but continue to maintain that Miller was resisting arrest and that the firing of the Taser was necessary to subdue him, regardless of the video footage of the incident. The officers involved have not been placed on leave. No charges were filed on the three men the officers originally pulled over to question.