The police force for Texas A&M University is under fire after a 34-year-old cyclist was tasered and forcefully tackled by officers for riding through a red light.
In footage from the incident, the cyclist is seen riding through a traffic light on University Drive, not far from the campus of Texas A&M University, on Wednesday when officers intervene.
A patrol car from the College Station Police Department (CSPD) circles the cyclist, who turns away, before another officer on a motorbike appears.
The cyclist, who immediately stops in front of the officer, is pulled forcefully from the bike, to screams of “You’re under arrest”.
Accusing the cyclist of resisting, an officer pulls the trigger of a taser, and an “oh, f**k” is audible from the cyclist — his face flat on the ground.
The footage was widely criticised by Reddit users after it was first shared on Friday — causing the police department to deny its officers were too forceful.
“Campus Cowboys are the ones that couldn’t qualify for police,” wrote a Reddit user. “They’re just above Mall Cop in the pecking order. This is straight up police brutality and smacks of a payout and some firings.”
“The violence of the response should match the violence of the situation,” another Reddit user commented, “this is clearly overkill.”
Releasing a statement following the incident, the CSPD said the cyclist “continued riding”, took an officer on a “5 minute tour”, and was tasered for resisting arrest.
“We’ve received a lot of hateful and vitriolic comments the past couple days regarding this incident,” wrote CSPD public information officer Tristen Lopez on Friday. “The bicyclist was NOT randomly tackled and tasered for jaywalking, nor was he tasered multiple times.”
“Bicyclists are frequently involved in crashes along University Drive,” Mr Lopez wrote, “and while the cyclists are not always in the wrong, we do receive citizen’s requests to address the issue of cyclists not flowing traffic laws”.
There appears to be some confusion on social media about this arrest. This additional information has helped clear things up for some who have reached out directly, and I hope it help others as well. https://t.co/46Y2Uy5eBW pic.twitter.com/J3PTvfyLtB
— Tristen Lopez (@CSPDLopez) May 7, 2021
Confirming that a taser was discharged, the CSPD information officer continued by saying that “the cyclist led our officer on about a 5-minute tour of the surrounding area before our officer finally found himself in a position to physically detain the cyclist.”
Following regulations for the college force, an ambulance was called to University Drive to attend to the cyclist, who is at a jail in Brazos County, according to Mr Lopez, and facing charges of resisting arrest, and resisting transport.