Two months later, he’s still in jail, charged with felony assault against the officers. Yet, the video shows he was a victim, not an assailant.
On January 11, with ice and snow all over Texas roads, Walter Beasley slid and got into a one-car accident. When the fire department showed up to render aid, they reported that Beasley was mumbling, talking fast, and possibly refused to get out of the car. According to Beasley’s family, he has schizophrenia and suffers from PTSD.
Instead of rendering aid to Walter Beasley, the firemen called the police and reported that Beasley was under the influence.
What happened after the police arrived was caught on multiple cell phone videos.
We’re adding a trigger warning to ALL below videos, because they depict Black trauma.
The first video starts when Beasley was up against the police officer in handcuffs. He was obviously agitated and shouting how he “knew his rights.”
From his perspective, he had just been in a car accident on an icy road and the next thing he knows, he’s being aggressively handled and handcuffed by police.
The arresting police officer pulled Beasley’s handcuffed arms up repeatedly, and he could be repeatedly heard saying, “You’re hurting me, you’re hurting me.
A second police officer walks over, they each take one of Beasley’s arms and start to take him over towards the back of the police cruiser. Beasley said to them, “I didn’t do anything.”
They took a few steps forward and then the two police officers picked Beasley up by the arms and slammed him into the pavement, head first as if his body was a battering ram.
As a society, when will we have had enough of listening to cries for help from Black people who are being brutalized by police?
After the two police officers rammed Walter Beasley’s head into the concrete road, he could be heard screaming for help at yelling that he wasn’t resisting as the officers kneeled on him to immobilize him.
They pulled Beasley up and put him in the back of the police cruiser.
In the second video, you can see that they pulled Walter Beasley out of the vehicle and were standing with him in front of the car. His entire body was heaving as if he still had not caught his breath.
Five white police officers stool over Beasley as he repeatedly fell to the ground and fell to his knees. After a few minutes, they walked him over to the gurney, where the EMS and multiple officers strapped him in.
The supervising officer, Lieutenant Bates, stood over this group of white first responders watching as they immobilized this Black man. And he would continue watching, when they began to brutalize him.
Friends of Walter Beasley were on the scene.
They could be heard trying to reason with the officers, telling law enforcement that Beasley was an MHMR patient and had a mental illness. They could also be heard telling Beasley to relax and calm down in the first video.
Beasley’s family told us that he was scared of the police. After watching all of these videos, it’s easy to understand why.
Towards the end of the second video, one of the officers can be seen climbing on top of the gurney and putting his weight on Beasley, as he shouted, “Why are you on my legs?
In the third video, the same officer who climbed on the gurney can be seen punching Beasley repeatedly.
We counted eight punches, then a truck drove by obstructing the view.
A crying woman nearby shouted, “Why are you punching my brother?”
When this was happening, Beasley’s hands were still handcuffed behind his back.
When Beasley’s sister was shouting at them about how this was going to be on the news, look at the police officer in the black jacket at where to foot of the gurney would have been. He made a large and quick motion that appears to have been him throwing another punch at Beasley.
One of the people hovering over Beasley could be heard saying, “What part of straightening your leg do you not understand?”
There were five police officers, two EMS workers, and one fireman all standing over Beasley on the gurney. Even if he wasn’t straightening his leg on command, was it necessary to have eight people there to get him strapped into the gurney when his hands were already handcuffed behind his back?
As Walter Beasley was wheeled into the ambulance, he was still crying out for help.
A few weeks after this happened, Wake Up Temple had a discussion about mental illness and the way that both Black people and mentally ill people are policed in the Killeen/Temple area.
On January 10, just one day before the incident with Walter Beasley in Temple, Killeen Police shot and killed Patrick Warren during a mental health check.
If you aren’t familiar with the area, Killeen and Temple are next to each other in Bell County, which is halfway between Waco and Austin.
In Killeen, Black people account for 40% of the population, yet they account for 60% of police stops. In Temple, Black people account for 16% of the population, yet they account for nearly 37% of all arrests.
Do the cities in Bell county have a racial problems in their police departments?
Aside from the killing of Patrick Warren, in 2019 Temple police shot and killed Michael Dean and Killeen police killed James Reed after a no-knock warrant. In an area of less than 200,000 people, police brutality and police shootings seem to be a regular occurrence.
The day that Walter Beasley got into a car accident on an icy Texas road, brutalized by police, and arrested without cause, landed him in jail. He’s now been charged with three felonies and a class A misdemeanor related to that incident.
Resisting arrest, assault on a public servant, harassment of a public servant, and an unknown offense. What is an unknown offense? We don’t know, but in Texas, it’s a third-degree felony.
Why was he charged with assault?
Temple police reported to their local news outlet that Beasley bit and spit on them. Did he?
We didn’t see that in any of the videos. Nor did we see any officer pull back or shout out as if they were bit.
Living Blue in Texas filed open records request with the Temple police department for the body cam and dashcam footage. However, Temple PD is refusing to release it and calling it an ongoing investigation.
Walter Beasley has not been charged with any crimes related to the actual car accident. He was not charged with a DUI, which he would have been if he was under the influence. All of the charges he now faces relate to his interaction with police, when first responders came to the scene to render aid.
This is what it’s like to be Black in America.
This is what it’s like to be Black in Texas.
Walter Beasley is still sitting in jail today.
Beasley’s bond has been set at $48,000. However, they aren’t in a financial position to get him out of jail. A family friend set up a GoFundMe to raise the money to get him out.
If you live in the Bell County area and are looking to get involved in community action groups, visit Wake Up Temple and Let’s Move Killeen.
None of this should have ever happened to Walter Beasley. When he got into a car accident, first responders should have rendered him aid. When you hear the words, “Black Lives Matter,” it’s because, in places like Bell County, Texas Black men are brutalized, murdered, and even when they need help, their life and safety is put at risk.
Remember to always vote in municipal elections, vote for your mayors, city council, and county judges. These are the people who can help on a local level and make changes in the ways police interact in their communities.