The head of a Texas police union was caught on camera punching a restrained suspect in the back of the head.
But Austin’s Police Union President Ken Casaday won’t be investigated.
The man’s crime?
Petting a horse.
The video was shot on June 18th by independent activist and photographer Julian Reyes, who sometimes joins forces with the Peaceful Streets Project to document activities of Austin police downtown and near homeless populations.
It starts as any weekend night on Austin’s famous 6th street downtown area, showing patrons having a good time after a night of drinking at the bars around 2 a.m.
Shortly after the video begins, an Austin Police Department (APD) mounted-patrol can be seen pointing his finger in a man’s face, allegedly for being drunk.
More likely because he was standing close to the mounted-patrol horses, which has brought debate amongst locals as to whether they’re even necessary.
APD insists they are.
That’s when the man decided to pet the officer’s horse.
And things got violent.
One cop is seen slapping the man’s hand away from the horse.
When the man backs up two APD cops step towards him, one grabbing his arm, the other grabbing the him by the back of the head, pulling him downward.
As he’s being pulled downward, a third cop, Police Union President Casaday can be seen winding up and then slugging the man in the back of the head in a downward motion.
“Peaceful Streets says Casaday hit the man on the back of the head,” wrote Pro-APD “news outlet” KLBJ radio in Austin, “although the video doesn’t support that claim since no point of impact can be seen.”
“Whether or not Cassaday actually assaulted, or even hit the man, is still up for debate.”
Although no author put his/her actual name on that report, it was written by “KLBJ’s Newsroom”.
Casaday told KVUE News, who broke the story, he was responding to a call about a disturbance at Toulouse Bar on Sixth Street. But he didn’t specify whether the man in the video was the man they received the call about, or if the man even committed a crime.
Other than petting the horse.
The horse-petting man was placed in handcuffs and walked towards the jail, although it’s not clear if he was arrested.
Antonio Buehler, founder of the Austin-based cop-watch group, said he thinks Cassaday should be investigated.
“That’s assault. There’s nowhere in the guidelines of their policies that suggest it’s okay to punch someone who is not a risk to anyone in the back of the head. That could kill someone.”
During Ken Casaday’s tenure, there has never been a use-of-force incident where he didn’t defend the cop, lobbying to keep his job, standing against any criminal charges.
The volatile Texas Police Union president has made his feelings about activists groups such as Peaceful Streets Project and Black Lives Matter well-known.
After the Feb 8 shooting of unarmed, naked 17-year-old David Joseph by Austin cop Geoffrey Freeman, Chief Acevedo fired the cop for using excessive force.
Austin Chief Acevedo listed several other methods Freeman could have used to subdue Joseph instead of deadly force (such as mace, a baton or taser) and then stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Black Lives Matter activists, who issued some criticism and some praise towards the department, during a press conference.
Casaday lashed out at Chief Acevedo, accusing him of politicizing the shooting by inviting the activists to speak at the February 11 press conference.
“The public perception is the chief agrees with everything they said,” said Cassaday “They got up in front of a badge much like this one behind me and degraded police officers in the worst ways, and that was absolutely unacceptable. Do that behind closed doors.”
Casaday whipped out a bull-horn, out in the open, at a 2015 Police Lives Matter rally.
Apparently, you only have to be behind closed doors to exercise free speech if you’re not criticizing the precious badge.
Or if you’re black.
APD isn’t commenting on the case. So far, Casaday has not been investigated.
But feel free to express your thoughts about the matter, or urge them to do so, on their Facebook page.
Video of Union President Ken Casaday assaulting the unarmed man last week can be seen below.