Charges Dropped Against Black Harris County Student Questioned by Cop While Mowing Lawns

Gipson captured the initial encounter on his cellphone.
Gipson captured the initial encounter on his cellphone.
Screenshot/Facebook/Beyond The Industry
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Following a heated encounter with a Harris County deputy that was caught on tape, prosecutors have dropped charges against a college student who was confronted by the deputy while he passed out business cards door-to-door for his yard work business.

Marlin Gipson, a 20-year-old business student at Blinn College, was arrested and charged with failure to identify to the police and evading arrest earlier this month after giving the Harris County Precinct 1 deputy an incorrect birth date, then going back to his house after he saw the deputy take out handcuffs. He was later attacked by a police dog and tased with a stun gun.

Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen had said the deputy believed Gipson's going door to door was "suspicious" because of recent burglaries in the north Harris County neighborhood. When the deputy stopped Gipson to question him, Gipson, who is black, said he did not have an ID on him, and explained that he and two others, including his brother, were just trying to mow some lawns. A lawn mower and other equipment were in view of the officer. Just after Gipson asked the deputy, "Could I have a card, please, sir, to write your name down for me?" the deputy then told Gipson to put his hands behind his back.

"We cutting grass, sir!" Gipson yelled. "You harassing us!"

After Gipson retreated to his home, other Harris County Precinct 1 deputies arrived and asked him to come outside. Gipson shut the door, and went to go hide in a bathroom. Rosen claims that Gipson's family let deputies inside, which they dispute. After giving warnings, deputies broke down the bathroom door, released a police dog on Gipson and used a Taser on him twice.

Accusations of racial profiling and excessive force rang out loudly after a video of Gipson's initial encounter with the deputy went viral. Black Lives Matter: Houston held a press conference with Gipson and his attorney on Friday, the same day charges were dropped. Gipson asked that Rosen "end the character assassination" against him after Rosen said he had heard nothing but "falsehoods" from Gipson at an earlier press conference. "It's not right at all," Gipson said.

Rosen had claimed that deputies "didn't do anything wrong," and that Gipson was lying about his identity because he had an open 2015 Class C warrant — equivalent to a traffic ticket — for threatening assault.

On Friday, prosecutors noted that there was "insufficient evidence" to warrant the charges against Gipson.

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