Prairie View Police Officer Indicted for Tasing City Councilman
PVPD officer Michael Kelley was indicted after he tased and arrested City Councilman Jonathan Miller (pictured, from Kelley's body camera) in October.
PVPD, YouTube screenshot
A Prairie View Police officer who tased a city councilman in October has been indicted by a grand jury for one charge of misdemeanor official oppression, the Associated Press first reported yesterday.
Officer Michael Kelley was captured on video (which you can watch here from the perspective of Kelley's body camera and watch here from the dash cam) ordering Prairie View City Councilman Jonathan Miller, who is African-American, to place his hands behind his back after he refused to leave the area in front of his own apartment. Kelley then tased Miller in the back and arrested him on charges of resisting arrest and interfering with public duties.
After he was released from jail, Miller told KRIV that the night he was tased, police had approached a group of men standing outside his apartment. Miller, a Prairie View A&M grad, asked the officers why they were questioning the men, who he said were fraternity brothers who had gathered following a group event. Miller was ordered to leave the scene and threatened with arrest. When Miller declined to leave, Kelley placed his hands on Miller and forced him to the ground, then ordered him to put his hands behind his back. While Miller was on his knees, Kelley tased him in the back, and then told him he was going to jail for resisting arrest.
According to the AP, Kelley was indicted in Waller County on Friday and will turn himself in.
Miller, seen here on the right on his knees, was tased by Kelley (on right, with his right arm raised toward Miller).
Prairie View Police Department, screenshot from YouTube
This is the second time this month that a grand jury in Waller County has indicted a law enforcement officer. On January 6, former state trooper Brian Encinia was indicted for perjury in connection with his arrest of Sandra Bland in July during a routine traffic stop that turned confrontational. Bland's body was found hanging in her Waller County Jail cell three days after her arrest. Soon after the indictment was announced, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a press release that Encinia would be fired. Encinia pleaded not guilty to the perjury charge.
Prairie View Chief of Police Larry Johnson said in a phone interview that Kelley has not been fired, but is instead on unpaid leave. Johnson said that before he was indicted, Kelley was scheduled to go to a de-escalation training class Tuesday.
"Everyone is going to be required to go through a de-escalation class," Johnson said. "After reviewing the incident, this was one of the things I determined I wanted all of our officers to go through."
PVPD Chief Larry Johnson said Kelley (center) has been placed on unpaid leave.
PVPD, YouTube screenshot
PVPD has six officers, counting Kelley. One of the other officers who responded to the group of men gathered outside Miller's apartment was Penny Goodie, who also arrived on the scene of Sandra Bland's July arrest and transported the 28-year-old to Waller County Jail.
We've reached out to Miller for comment, but have not heard back. We'll update this story if we get a response.