I have been able to identify the man who was arrested in this video and the officers involved. He was unfairly arrested by a concentrated abuse of power, and I almost went to jail for recording this incident.
First, some background…
I was at the Texas Tech versus University of Texas game giving away megaphones as promotional items for my job, so I was standing just inside the gates near the student section. In front of me was a line of Texas DPS officers and Lubbock County sheriff’s deputies. They were the third row of security at the game, and they were checking everyone that went through for signs of intoxication. The strangest part was that every person wearing boots had to lift up their pant legs and let the officers look inside. Though they claimed it was to check for flasks, it was ostensibly a field sobriety test for everyone unlucky enough to wear boots to the game. I lost count of how many people I saw bending over and bearing their calves.
At one point a certain officer (Matlock) yelled at someone behind me, and he walked up to them aggressively. Apparently, he believed that the man was yelling something obscene into the megaphone (which, apparently, is against the law now). The man turned to him innocently and asked what he did wrong. The officer said, “Don’t say that crap!” The man defended himself by saying, “No, all I did was go…” Then he put the megaphone up to his mouth to reenact what he’d said, and at that point, the officer slapped the megaphone off of his face. He then took the man back to the cluster of officers and harassed him for a couple of minutes before letting him go without incident. After I had talked to the people that witnessed it up close, it turns out that the man who was accosted by Officer Matlock wasn’t even the one who said something obscene. That’s when I looked at his badge and memorized his name. He is Corporal Chad Matlock of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the shorter of the two officers at the beginning of this video.
Right before I started filming, the man in this video was on the fence talking on his cell phone. He wasn’t in the way, wasn’t blocking traffic, and wasn’t harming anyone. The female officer you’ll see later on tried a couple of times to “shoo” him away from them. She wanted him to keep moving, but he was trying hard to understand the person on the other end of his cell phone. He kept asking, “Are you there?” Every time she motioned for him to move he took a couple of steps over, but he was distracted by his phone call and didn’t realize she wanted him to leave completely. When officer Matlock noticed she was apparently having trouble with someone, he interjected himself into the situation and pushed her aside.
That’s when I turned on my camera.
I couldn’t hear everything that was being said, but the video opens up with officer Matlock (the shorter one) harassing him about why he wasn’t moving on. He tries to explain to them that he was just trying to hear his cell phone better, mentioning that the reception “sucks.” The other officer (Garza) grows hostile with him, which you can clearly see on the video. They don’t care that he’s having trouble on his cell phone, and they grow angry with him for not just obeying when he was told to the first time. Officer Garza, the meaner of the two (who threatened me after I stopped recording) just dismisses what he says about the reception and tells him he can make his call inside the stadium.
And this is where is goes wrong for the man in the video. He’s incredulous that officer Garza is just ordering him to move on, so he responds to the officer’s command by sardonically saying, “Really?” It clearly pisses officer Garza off who suddenly moves into kissing range of the guy. He physically intimidates him and says something inaudible, and you can see the guy physically disturbed by whatever it is the officer is saying. The man never says anything after that. He doesn’t resist, doesn’t fight, and definitely doesn’t do anything to warrant being forcibly handcuffed. He wisely cooperates the whole time except for that one word, which apparently means the difference between harassment and jail in Lubbock, Texas. They take him away without incident.
And that’s when I turned off my camera.
What I didn’t realize was that Officer Garza saw me recording and walked up to me. He said, “You know if you’re going to do that you should be more discrete.” I said, “I don’t need to be discrete. I’m not doing anything wrong.” He replied, “Well, I think it’s kinda rude.” Which made me reply, “Well, I thought you guys were being unacceptably rude to that guy.” He replied, “He was intoxicated.” I said, “No he wasn’t. I saw him. He was just talking on his cell phone.” Then he repeated more loudly, “He was intoxicated!” And I answered, “So, what?” That’s when he leaned closer to me and said, “You better just shut your mouth and keep giving away your little megaphones.” And then he walked off.
Don’t ever lie to a law enforcement officer, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that being completely honest with them will get them on your side. Remember, if they believe you’re breaking the law then in their mind you’re not on your side. And they’re not going to jeopardize their job just because you’re being honest with them.
© 1999-2023 Eric P. Metze