Lately, there have been far too many exposed incidents of police brutality. Typically, footage is caught on a cell phone camera and posted on social networks to instantly go viral. Regardless of how frequent cases of police brutality appear, automatically pinning the blame on the police officers involved, may ultimately endanger the public. Remaining objective towards each isolated incident is crucial in calibrating the scales of justice and keeping the public safe; whether it may be protection from a drunk driver on the road, or abuse of power by a police officer.
In this latest video captured on Tuesday by a man inside the Wing Stop on East Palm Valley in Round Rock, Texas, a drunk woman resisted arrest and ended up knocked out on the pavement. Without question, many partially engaged viewers of this headline or video clip would likely place the blame on the police officer. Although it is unfortunate that the woman was injured in this arrest, likely due to her intoxicated mental state, imagine the potential harm that may have been inflicted on her six-year-old in the car, other innocent drivers on the road, and even herself had she caused a head-on collision on her way home. The sad reality is that it is easy to point the finger, but in order to protect the public, the public has a responsibility to think objectively and criticize responsibly.
The Video shows DWI suspect knocked unconscious, but what else does it show?
In the video, Officer Ben Johnson is seen arresting Viviana Keith. The arrest appears to begin calm and controlled with Johnson and Keith conversing. Then the officer tries to force Keith to bend over onto the hood of his car during the arrest. After Viviana resisted, Officer Johnson performed a take-down move, basically throwing her to the ground. Unfortunately, she hit her head on the pavement and was knocked unconscious.
In a heartbreaking scene, Keith’s terrified 6-year-old daughter walked over to her mom’s unconscious body, as the officer rolls her over and checks for her pulse.
Viviana Garcia, who works in the shopping strip, said she witnessed the incident and fearing the worst, she walked over to help Keith’s child.
“It looked like she was dead, the little girl was screaming, ‘Mommy, mommy!'”
What the video of the DWI suspect arrest did not capture was what led up to the arrest.
Videos without context or accurate settings are commonly misinterpreted. The missing audio dialogue alone distorts the context by allowing an individual’s imagination to fill in the crucial missing gaps. Also, the events that led up the arrest may be more telling than the arrest itself.
What the video did not capture was what led up to the arrest and what immediately followed. Witnesses said Keith was drunk when she walked into Deluxe Nails.
“She was a little loud, and disruptive. . . She said she was very tired, really tired and they said, ‘Maybe you should go home and get some sleep,’ and then she turned around and stumbled out,”
said Rebecca Tomlinson, who was inside the nail salon.
Garcia said Keith’s daughter told her Keith had been drinking all day.
“We started talking to the little girl and she started telling us what had been going on. That her mom had been intoxicated all day and that she was hungry,”
Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks said police received phone calls about Keith entering another nail salon, “and she was very combative, very argumentative and also very intoxicated,” Banks said.
Callers told police Keith got in her car with her daughter and left, and police received calls about an “erratic driver, driving carelessly.”
Johnson found the vehicle matching both descriptions and Keith in the shopping strip. Tomlinson watched their interaction.
“I seen her resisting and, in the beginning she was jerking her arm from him,”
Following the arrest staff from an urgent care center in the strip went over to help until EMS arrived.
Banks has seen the dash cam video but said he has not talked with Johnson. KVUE showed him the video and asked, intoxicated or not, is this use of force necessary?
“The officer was very professional, was talking to her calm, he wasn’t excited, he wasn’t angry. It’s unfortunate, the fact that this lady did what appears to hit her head and was knocked unconscious, but I’ll tell you, the officer did what he was supposed to do in a situation like that,”
Keith was arrested and charged with DWI with a child younger than 15 and interfering with pubic duties. As of Wednesday evening, she was still in the Williamson County Jail.
Round Rock police investigate all use of force incidents. While the department is investigating, Johnson is still working. Police officials say he has been with the department for four years and was an officer in another state before moving to Round Rock.
If a 6-year-old girl tells a stranger that her mother has been intoxicated all day and she is hungry, it becomes their responsibility to act diligently to not only protect the child, but the public, as well. This case may initially appear black and white, however, after objectively reviewing the facts, it appears to fall into some gray areas.
Watch the video here:
Featured image via Video Screen Capture