Mathias Ometu, 33, sat two days in jail for committing the crime of jogging while Black.
San Antonio police were searching the area for a suspect who just punched and choked a woman on Tuesday before fleeing.
Ometu, who was wearing a bright green shirt, was jogging near the area and was stopped for questioning. Police said he matched the description. A local attorney began live streaming the detainment to Facebook.
The woman who had been punched was driven to the scene to identify her attacker. She said Ometu was not the man who attacked her.
Police jailed him anyway on two charges of felony assault on a police officer.
“The information that they relayed out to other officers responding to the scene was that the male had fled the location and was wearing a bright green shirt and shorts,” a police spokesperson told KSAT12.
Officers attempted to question him, but Ometu refused to answer the officer’s questions and refused to give his name and date of birth which is perfectly legal to do in the state of Texas, unless the person is arrested or operating a motor vehicle.
“That man in the green was jogging, the cops pulled him over and because he wouldn’t give him his name, he got handcuffed,” said Victor Maas, the San Antonio attorney narrating a Facebook Live video.
Ometu was placed in handcuffs without an incident, according to San Antonio Police Department. He was asked to sit in a patrol car but refused. They then tried to force him into the vehicle.
Officers claim that during the struggle, Ometu kicked both officers, one of them being kicked in the face.
According to KENS 5, Mass said:
“HERE HE IS JUST MINDING HIS BUSINESS, AND THEY THREW HIM IN THE BACK OF THE COP CAR AND BECAUSE HE DIDN’T GET IN THE BACK OF THE CAR – HE’S LIKE, ‘WHY? I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG’ — THEY DECIDED, ‘NO, WE’RE GOING TO BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF YOU AND THROW YOU IN THERE REGARDLESS.”
After forcing Ometu into the patrol vehicle, officers brought the victim to the scene to verify if Ometu was the one who assaulted her.
She told officers that he was not the assailant, but Ometu was still taken to jail for two felony counts of assaulting an officer.
Victor Ometu, the jogger’s father, told Ken 5 that his son is a University of Texas San Antonio graduate and an insurance adjuster. His father said it was the first time Ometu had an issue with the law. Victor also expressed gratitude that Maas was there and recorded the incident.
Police later showed up to Maas’ office attempting to collect his video footage.
“THEY CAME INTO OUR OFFICE TO INTIMIDATE US INTO GIVING INFORMATION – THEY WANTED OUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS – THEY WANTED TO SEE WHAT I POSTED TO GET THEIR STORIES STRAIGHT I’M CERTAIN OF THAT. THE REALITY IS THIS MAN DID NOT DESERVE TO GET THE CRAP BEAT OUT OF HIM FOR JOGGING AND MINDING HIS OWN BUSINESS.”
Since Ometu’s arrest, many community members, as well as, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, spoke out about their concerns of the officer’s conduct.
According to KSAT12:
“WE HAVE TO TREAT THIS ISSUE SERIOUSLY AND THE OUTCOMES HAVE TO BE FROM A BASIS OF EQUITY FOR EVERY PERSON. WE’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE WE UNDERSTAND THE FACTS BEFORE WE CAN SPEAK CLEARLY ON WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.”
Nirenberg has called for the officer’s body camera footage to be released publicly and expects it to be released this week.
Ometu was released on bail two days after the arrest.