Details of incident that led to suspension of 3 Waco officers released
Waco police late Friday afternoon released details about an incident in which a handcuffed suspect was choked and refused medical treatment following a routine traffic stop.
Three patrol officers were suspended after the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office previewed dashcam video of the arrest and determined that one of the officers grabbed the suspect, Qualon Deshon Weaver, 35, by the neck, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said in a press release Friday.
Street Crimes Unit Officers Kevin Spicer, Adam Beseda and George Neville were all placed on administrative leave pending the completion of internal and criminal investigations.
“We take any incident of potential misconduct very seriously,” Waco police Chief Brent Stroman said Friday.
“We are committed to constitutional policing at every level. Although there is a sense of urgency in these matters, the Police Department needs to perform thorough investigations.”
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.
Weaver, who's free on bond, told KWTX earlier this week he was shown the video on Monday by Internal Affairs officers.
“I saw them choking me hard,” he said.
He 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, says 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, Swanton said.
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.