Two Metro police officers have been suspended after one beat a man with a baton while the other watched, Metro Police Chief Vera Bumpers said Friday.
"We are not going to tolerate excessive force by our officers," Bumpers told reporters at a news conference at Metro headquarters. "We expect our officers to be respectful, no matter what...we will always do that in a professional matter, no matter who we're dealing with."
The incident happened Wednesday around 7:30 a.m. at the Burnett Transit Center along Metro's Red Line. According to an initial news release from Metro, Officer Jarius Warren approached a man who "appeared to be slumped over a rail platform seat."
At the news conference, Bumpers said video surveillance footage from the platform shows Warren striking the man, identified in court papers as 31-year-old Darrell Giles, several times with a baton. The chief said a second officer, D. Reynoso, witnessed the beating but did not appear to participate. Prosecutors initially charged Giles with trespassing and resisting arrest, Harris County court records state, but those charges have been dismissed.
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Bumpers said a police supervisor was performing a routine check of platform surveillance footage and discovered the incident. Bumpers, who was away from the city until Friday, said she "immediately took action" when she heard about the beating.
Warren and Reynoso are the subject of a Metro internal investigation, Bumpers said, adding that she forwarded the case to the Harris County District Attorney's office for a possible criminal probe. She declined to release the platform surveillance footage.
Metro spokeswoman Laura Whitley said Warren has been suspended without pay, while Reynoso will be paid while on suspension. Whitley declined to disclose the first names of the officers, citing department policy (Warren's given name appears in court documents).