Waco police officer arrested, charged with assault

Waco police Officer George Neville (right) was charged with misdemeanor assault following an investigation of a May 4 arrest that started after a review of dashcam video showed an officer grabbed the suspect, Qualon Deshon Weaver (left) around the neck. (Jail photos)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Waco police Officer George Neville, 33, was arrested Thursday and charged with misdemeanor assault after an investigation an arrest on May 4 during which a suspect was grabbed around the neck, authorities said.

The Class A misdemeanor charge is punishable by a fine of as much as $4,000 and/or a jail term of as long as one year.

The investigation started on June 9 after officials learned of a potential criminal incident involving several officers, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said in a press release Thursday.

Neville, a member of the department’s Street Crimes Unit, turned himself in Thursday afternoon.

The other two officers, Street Crimes Unit members Kevin Spicer, Adam Beseda, were cleared of criminal wrongdoing, Swanton said.

Internal investigations by the departments Professional Standards and Conduct Unit are ongoing, Swanton said.

“The behavior which resulted in the arrest of this officer is unacceptable,” interim police Chief Frank Gentsch said in a statement.

“It saddens me that the public trust has been violated. We are committed to professional policing and will hold our officers to the highest standards.”

The three officers were suspended after the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office previewed dashcam video of an arrest after a traffic stop on May 4 and determined that one of the officers grabbed the suspect, Qualon Deshon Weaver, 35, by the neck, police said earlier.

Spicer and Beseda stopped Qualon Deshon Weaver, 35, for a traffic violation on May 4 near the intersection of J.J. Flewellen and Herring Avenue, but arrested him on evading arrest and marijuana possession charges, Swanton said.

Neville and a second officer responded to assist after Weaver pulled to a stop about 550 feet from Rapoport Academy Elementary School.

“Mr. Weaver was handcuffed, and during his arrest, Officer Neville grabbed Mr. Weaver around his neck,” Swanton said in June.

Weaver, who's free on bond, told KWTX one of the officers choked him after an exchange of words.

“He called me a dumbass so I called him a dumbass back, so he started choking me,” he said.

Weaver has a lengthy criminal record, but his attorney, Jason Darling of Waco, said the treatment his client received was unwarranted.

"You're still innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

“You still have your constitutional rights even if you have a previous criminal history,” he said.

“Law enforcement has to follow the rules and procedures."

After previewing the dashcam video on June 9, the District Attorney’s Office contacted the Waco Police Department, which immediately launched an internal investigation and determined a separate criminal investigation was warranted.

Neville and Beseda were placed on administrative leave the same day.

Spicer was placed on leave on June 16 based on information discovered as the internal investigation progressed, Swanton said.

Neville is an 11-year veteran of the department, Beseda has served for seven years and Spicer for five.

In February, two other Waco police officers, one of them a supervisor, were placed on paid administrative leave in the wake of a review of all the department’s drug cases and an internal probe involving the Texas Rangers.

Cmdr. Clare Crook, who heads the department's Drug Enforcement Unit, and Detective David Starr were placed on leave with pay after McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna announced on Feb. 11 that omissions in a sworn affidavit from a Waco Police Department drug investigator in a cocaine case triggered a District Attorney’s Office review of all of the department’s drug cases and the internal probe of the department involving the Texas Rangers.