Charges were dropped this week against a Black man in Texas who spent two days in jail after San Antonio police detained and arrested him for “matching the description” of another Black man who had strangled a woman.
The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, along with the arresting officers, agreed to drop the charges against Mathias Ometu. He had been charged with two counts of assault on an officer after resisting attempts by cops to place him into the back of the patrol car. The charges were dropped shortly after the police released the body camera footage.
Ometu and his attorney released a statement after he was released:
“ONCE THOSE DOORS CLOSE ON YOU, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THEY’RE GOING TO OPEN AGAIN. I DID NOT INTENTIONALLY KICK, SCRATCH, OR HARM ANY OFFICER. I WAS GUILTY BEFORE PROVEN INNOCENT,” OMETU SAID, “I WAS TREATED UNFAIRLY, AND THAT HAS TO BE ADDRESSED.I WAS PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY HARMED, AND THAT HAS TO BE ADDRESSED.”
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales released a statement to KSAT12:
“AFTER REVIEWING ALL THE EVIDENCE AS WELL AS CONSIDERING ALL THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, I HAVE DECIDED THAT THE JUST OUTCOME IS THE DISMISSAL OF ALL CHARGES AGAINST MR. OMETU. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN THIS CASE HAVE REQUESTED DISMISSAL AS WELL. NEITHER OFFICER WISHES TO HAVE HIM INCUR ANY FUTURE CONSEQUENCES ARE A RESULT OF THIS INCIDENT. THIS CASE IS ONE OF COMPETING INTERESTS. IT IS THE OFFICER’S DUTY TO INVESTIGATE AND DETAIN A PERSON OF INTEREST THAT MAY BE A SUSPECT IN A CRIME VERSUS A CITIZEN’S RIGHT NOT TO DISCLOSE THEIR IDENTIFICATION WHERE NO ARREST HAS BEEN MADE. IN THIS CASE, THE OFFICERS DID HAVE A DESCRIPTION THAT LED THEM TO BELIEVE THAT MR. OMETU MAY HAVE BEEN THE SUSPECT THEY WERE SEEKING. HOWEVER, MR. OMETU WAS NOT THAT PERSON AND DID NOT HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO IDENTIFY HIMSELF OR MAKE A STATEMENT. ULTIMATELY, THE OFFICERS AGREE THAT DISMISSAL IS IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE,” GONZALES SAID.”
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus released a memo on Twitter saying that he believed the officers acted appropriately.
“IN MY REVIEW, I HAVE LISTENED TO THE 911 CALLS AND SAW THE BODY-CAM VIDEO OF THE ARRESTING OFFICERS. BASED ON THIS REVIEW, I HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE OFFICERS ACTED APPROPRIATELY, WITHIN THEIR LEGAL AUTHORITY, AND IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER DURING THE INTERACTION WITH MR. OMETU.”
McManus’s releasing of the footage is because he understands “that the public has questions and concerns about this matter given the media attention it has already received and the heightened awareness of racial injustice,” according to KSAT12.
Ometu spent two days in the Bexar County jail on two felony counts of assaulting a peace officer. San Antonio police officers were attempting to detain Ometu while investigating an incident where a woman was violently abused by her ex-husband, Darren Smith Jr.
Officers believed he matched the description based off the information relayed to them by dispatch, which was a Black man wearing a bright green shirt.
Ometu cooperated with the officers at first, while being detained, but allegedly kicked two officers while being put into the patrol car.
Afterwards, a cop shows the victim a picture of the man they had detained and she tells the officer that it is not her ex-husband, Darren Smith Jr.
The officer responds: “It’s not him?” “Okay, not at all?” “Even the face? Nothing like that? That wasn’t what he’s wearing when he left? That’s for sure 100% not him?”
The officer informs the other officers on scene that he is not the suspect.
“All he needed to do was give us his name and his date of birth,” one officer reacted.
“I had a strong suspicion he wasn’t,” another officer said.
“The fact of the matter remains you still had a lawful reason to contact him because he fit the description, he failed to ID, and two officers got assaulted,” a supervisor responded.
The initial officer responded that he did not know if he actually got assaulted.
“You got assaulted,” an officer responded despite the cop initially claiming he had not been assaulted.
“You got a scratch?” another cop asks. “You got assaulted.”
As a result, Ometu spent two days in jai on two felony counts of assault on an officer.
Watch the shortened video below or the entire video released by police which is 1:44 hours long.