Anti-fluoridation activists Derrick Broze and Joel Peralez of Fluoride Free Houston were arrested while attending a crowded Houston City Council meeting Tuesday.
Peralez, 18, was frustrated over the proceedings, so he shouted an obscenity and stormed out the door. Two police officers got up and followed him. Broze followed in order to investigate and capture it all on video.
A cop grabbed Peralez by the collar in order to stop and identify him. Broze immediately challenged this detention and the cop attempted to push him away. Two policemen, who refused to identify themselves, dragged Peralez on to an elevator, jailing him on charges of public intoxication, possession of alcohol and disorderly conduct. The alcohol was found in a search of his backpack after arrest.
After the arrest of Paralez, Broze returned to the council chambers and told the council members what happened to his friend. Soon after, two officers approached him and kept telling him to get up so they could talk to him. They didn’t explain why nor did they say he was under arrest or being detained; Broze was under no obligation to speak to them since there was no probable cause to believe he had committed a crime.
One officer tried to tell Broze that he cannot bring his camera to the front when goes forward to speak; Broze replied, “Yes I can, actually, I’ve been filming all the time buddy.” Broze continued to challenge the officer’s insistence that he follow him outside, telling the cop that he was scheduled to speak again. But nevertheless, Broze left the council chambers with the cops, which was when an officer tried to grab the camera and make him stop recording.
The officers, still not saying Broze was under arrest, told him to stop resisting as he tried to grab him again. At this point, Broze stopped cooperating and sat down and challenged this clearly illegal detention. Broze asked the officer, “Am I under arrest? Am I detained? You haven’t said anything to me sir. You haven’t identified yourself. You could be a creep in a cop costume.” After that, Broze sat down and stopped cooperating.
The aggressive officers then walked over to tell his friends they could not record and Broze stood back up. An officer then accused him of having “flicked off” the Council. Then the officer said he pulled him out to identify him. The officer starts demanding that he come with him even though he didn’t say he was under arrest. After that, another officer was telling him to “calm down” even though he was calm. What he meant was the he wanted Broze to shut up. After some back and forth, Broze said, “Why don’t you owe me a fucking apology,” at which point the officer arrested Broze for “using abusive language.”
Broze was detained for about an hour-and-a-half. In a phone interview, Broze said the cops shoved him around in the elevator and tried to get two women in the elevator to swear out a charge against him for cussing. They declined to get involved and stepped off the elevator.
A friend of Broze picked up his camera and continued to record. At one point, this friend pursued the arresting officer insisting he provide his name and badge number, but the officer refused, ignoring him as he walked away.
Broze was citied for abusive language and released. But before his release the police (presumably lying) told him that they were letting him go for his own good and that the District Attorney was ready to accept charges of interfering with an investigation and abusive language. Broze has a court date set for November for his citation. He is also considering legal action against the Houston police for their actions.