Members of the Baytown, Texas community are protesting their local police department after footage leaked showing police officers using "aggressive techniques" while busting a family party.
Baytown Police Department officers responded to noise complaints recently from a house where a family party was taking place. It’s been confirmed that children, parents, and grandparents were in attendance at the party.
When police arrived at the house around midnight, they found a group of 15-20 people in the backyard playing music loudly. When the partygoers allegedly refused to turn the music down, the officers gave homeowner Jose Zepada a disturbing the peace citation.
According to reports, when Zepada refused to sign the citation, officers moved in to arrest him. That’s when three party attendees stepped in and tried to block off the officers.
"From that point on, the three men started pushing the officers, assaulting the officers. Therefore one of the officers pulled out pepper spray and sprayed one time,” Baytown Detective Edgar Elizondo told Click 2 Houston.
When the officers used pepper spray, two of the men ran inside the house. Police officers gave chase and followed them. Once inside, one of the home's residents locked the doors, effectively trapping the officers inside.
Inside the house, an all-out brawl broke out between police and residents. Tasers and pepper spray were used, and a grandmother and several children were reportedly struck by the devices. The home’s residents claim the police started calling them wet backs, but the Baytown Police Department denies this claim.
"We slowed that video down and you could plainly hear the officers saying, 'Get back, get back.' There were no racial remarks made, most of the officers there were Hispanic," Detective Elizondo said.
A few days after the incident, dozens of furious residents protested in front of the Baytown Police Department building.
"The Baytown Police Department has a notorious record of violating the civil rights of Mexicans and blacks," said one community activist. "What are the citizens to do when they are being beaten and pepper-sprayed and Tasered, and they have done nothing criminal at all?”
The video from the incident, which can be seen here, has been turned over to the Harris County District Attorney.