UPDATED 12/2/2014 6:41pm
Based on the news stories aired locally and on the internet, it was brought to our attention that an Officer had requested Ms. Espinosa to delete the video that was recorded. We viewed the entire dashcam video and found the conversation between Officer Lockhart and Ms. Espinosa. It was discovered that Officer Lockhart did request that the video be deleted.
Officer Lockhart took full responsibility for his statement on the video and was formally disciplined for those actions.
A memo to the entire department will follow on Wednesday regarding Texas Penal Code Sec. 38.02 “Failure to Identify” and our commitment to transparency by allowing citizens who wish to photograph or record our officers in a public space.
Floyd Simpson, Chief of Police
The text listed below is from the letter sent to media and internet sites regarding the internet video. The letter is attached as well.
Response to Internet Video
On August 16, 2014 at 3:41 a.m., Corpus Christi Police Officers were called to the Whataburger restaurant parking lot, located at 1121 Waldron Road, to back up an off-duty officer. The off-duty officer was not a Corpus Christi Police Officer, but assigned to the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office (NCDA).
A review of the incident shows that Senior Officer Jerry Lockhart arrived to assist in what had been a fight involving ten people that was no longer in progress. Officer Lockhart started to assist the off-duty NCDA officer in the investigation of the fight. He was directed to Ms. Espinosa by the off-duty NCDA officer because she had been involved in the altercation.
Ms. Espinosa refused to identify herself to CCPD Officer Lockhart or the off-duty NCDA officer.
Ms. Espinosa was restrained by the off-duty NCDA officer and detained by Officer Lockhart for “Interference with Public Duties”. The detention was based on the incident (that she had been involved in the fight, which she admitted), and not due to the fact that Ms. Espinosa was videotaping the officers.
Officer Lockhart did not witness the altercation that had occurred prior to his arrival. The off-duty NCDA officer did not charge anyone with a crime and released everyone at the scene, including Ms. Espinosa. Our officers cleared the location at 4:17 a.m.
The Corpus Christ Police Department prides itself in transparency and respects the public’s right to photograph and record in public. Our officers are trained to be respectful during police/citizen contacts and de-escalation techniques.
Furthermore, members of Corpus Christi Police Department do not interfere with citizens who wish to photograph or record our officers in the public space.