Rashaun A. Barnes, 39, was standing on the sidewalk in front of a corner store in Grand Prairie, Texas, on the afternoon of July 31, when he was allegedly assaulted and left permanently disfigured by a police officer.
According to Barnes, even though the officer allegedly detained him without cause, he still complied by sitting down for approximately a half-hour in the sweltering Texas heat. At that point, with no reason given the stop; Barnes began to walk away.
That is when Barnes claims the officer followed him and tasered him, rendering him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, he was in the back of an ambulance with severe scarring across his face and left and right arms. Police did not accompany him to the hospital and he was never charged with any crime.
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who represents the family of Jordan Edwards, the 15-year-old boy shot and killed by Balch Springs, Texas, Police Officer Roy Oliver in April, is also representing Barnes, who recounts his assault to Merritt in the video below:
Merritt maintains, police officers violated policy by not filing an incident report.
Merritt is calling for a full investigation.
“This is a clear case of racial profiling and excessive force,” Merritt said. “The officer responsible must be immediately suspended and appropriately prosecuted. A full investigation into the incident must be conducted to determine what role other officers may have played in a cover up and/or violating departmental procedures concerning reporting the incident.”
See images of Barnes’ injuries below.
(These images are graphic in nature and may be upsetting to some.)
Merritt is also publicly calling out President Donald Trump for his role in inciting state violence in his June 28, 2017 speech to law enforcement on Long Island, New York. Though the speech was largely focused on organized crime syndicate Mara Salvatrucha, MS-13, Trump made it clear that his Wild, Wild West approach to crime-fighting should be applied all across the United States.
“...when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice. (Laughter.) Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
This open invitation for law enforcement to be as violent as they want with complete immunity is dangerous hate-speech, Merritt told The Root.
“Although technically immune from liability, President Trump is guilty of criminal incitement in his speech encouraging police brutality,” Merritt said. “Black Lives Matter and pro-police reform activists have been sued in at least two federal lawsuits alleging their rhetoric caused violence against law enforcement. The president of the US should be held at least equally culpable.”
The Root reached out to Grand Prairie, Texas police department for comment. They have not yet responded as of this publication. The Root will update as this story develops.