A Black Plano teen arrested for walking in the middle of the street in frigid conditions last week will not face charges in the incident, according to news reports.
Plano Police Chief Ed Drain told KDFW-TV he’s dropping a charge against 18-year-old Rodney Reese, who was arrested and spent a night in jail after he was stopped by Plano police as he walked home from work.
“There’s a lot information that we know about this case that we didn’t know at the time,” Drain told the television station. “Those officers didn’t know his age. They didn’t know he was 18. They didn’t know he worked at Walmart. They didn’t know where he lived.”
The police chief said the charge of pedestrian in the roadway was being dropped because it didn’t fit what officers had responded to that night.
Reese told KDFW-TV he believes race was the issue for his arrest.
“Just ‘cause I’m Black, that’s it,” he said. “I don’t think the call would’ve happened (if I wasn’t Black). Honestly, I really don’t.”
Plano police responded to a welfare call shortly before 11 p.m. on Feb. 16. A caller reported that a Black man wearing a short-sleeve shirt and shorts was walking down Hedgcoxe Road and was stumbling.
Officers found the man, later identified as Rodney Reese, who was wearing a short-sleeve shirt and long pants.
Temperatures were in the teens, and there was snow and ice on the road.
Plano officers were concerned for the man’s welfare and the possibility that could have been in a mental crisis, delusional or impaired, according to a post on the Plano Police Department Facebook page.
Reese lives with his mother and he was just a few blocks away from home.
The teen repeatedly told Plano police that he was fine, but officers continued to follow him for a few minutes, according to video of the incident.
“Dude, stop we are trying to help you,” Plano police said in the body camera video released on the department’s Facebook over the weekend.
“I’m trying to get home,” Reese said.
“All right, but you’re walking in the middle of the road,” an officer said.
“I understand that. My bad,” Reese said.
Reese later told KDFW-TV he was walking in the middle of the road because the sidewalk was covered in ice and snow.
“Are you cold?” an officer asked.
“No. I’m not,” the teen answered.
“Do you want us to give you a ride?” a police officer asked.
“No. I do this every night,” Reese said.
In the video, the teen kept walking away from Plano police until an officer said he was being detained.
“Let me go,” Reese said as he was being handcuffed.
Plano police said the teen resisted their efforts to handcuff him.
The arresting officer noted in his arrest report that although the teen committed the Class B misdemeanor offense of interference with public duties by resisting officers’ efforts to detain and handcuff him, the officers decided to seek to charge him only with pedestrian in the roadway, a Class C misdemeanor.
The Plano police chief said he backed his officers for checking on the teen.
“They should’ve taken him home, is where he should’ve gone,” the police chief said.