Nigerian American Mathias Ometu, a 33-year-old insurance adjuster, was arrested by police for “jogging while black’ in San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday.
You’re choking me!’ Black jogger, 33, screams as he’s forcefully arrested in San Antonio and then detained for two days in case of mistaken identity – despite victim in the case telling cops they had the wrong man.
Authorities said they were in the area looking for a domestic violence suspect at and had “reasonable suspicion” that Ometu matched the description.
Ometu, who was jogging at the time, refused to give officers his name and date of birth after they arrested him.
The Texas Penal Code states that a person being detained or questioned by police is not required to provide identifying information.
Cell phone footage showed officer forcing Ometu into the back seat while he screamed “you’re choking me” several times.
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The victim told officers that Ometu was not the suspect, but he was still detained and charged with assault of an officer.
Ometu was then transported to Municipal Court for “identification purposes,” according to the report. He was charged with two counts of assault on a peace officer.
He was initially assigned to a court-appointed defense attorney who died in 2011. Court records show that another lawyer has since been appointed to him.
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Ometu’s arrest for “jogging while black” came after the February killing of Ahmaud Arbey, a 25-year-old Georgia man who was shot dead by two white men while jogging through a neighborhood. The suspects said they suspected him of being a robber, despite having no concrete evidence.
A police department spokeswoman said in a statement released Thursday that the incident was under administrative review.
“The individual contacted was in close proximity to the call, and he matched the physical and clothing description provided by the victim,” the statement said, which did not indicate whether their intended suspect had been apprehended.
Rodriguez, who witnessed the incident with Maas, told CNN that at no time did Ometu appear aggressive with the officers.
Additional footage taken by Rodriguez shows Ometu handcuffed and calmly standing by the police cruiser for around six minutes before officers begin pushing him.
Rodriguez said she was walking her dog around 2pm that day when she saw Ometu jogging.
Suddenly, police arrived and approached Ometu to speak with him. After about 20 minutes they placed him in handcuffs.
Rodriguez then walked to a nearby office where Maas was working and knocked on the window to get his attention. The pair then began filming the incident.
“His crime was jogging while black. They made up any reason to harass this guy,” Maas wrote on Facebook regarding the footage.
Maas also alleged that the officers used Tasers on Ometu, but that was not shown in video footage.
The couple said the incident lasted around an hour, but they only captured 20 minutes of the encounter.
The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office is waiting for the police department to finish their investigation before they “review all evidence and decide how to proceed with any potential criminal case,” attorney Joe Gonzales told CNN.
In a statement, the San Antonio Police Department defended the action of its officers.
“The suspect fled before police arrived, but the victim provided officers with the suspect’s information and officers also obtained information that the suspect was also wanted for a felony robbery warrant,” the statement read.
“The individual contacted was in close proximity to the call and he matched the physical and clothing description provided by the victim.
“That was the only reason he was stopped and questioned as the officers legitimately believed he was the wanted suspect.”
The department added that video of the incident will be reviewed to ensure proper protocol was followed.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg spoke out against the incident and said he wants an investigation conducted.
“I am seeking a full accounting of this incident, which is currently under investigation. We have to approach this situation seriously because every single resident deserves fair and equitable treatment from their city,” he wrote on Twitter.
Julian Castro, a former presidential hopeful, also publicly condemned the incident on Twitter.
“Mathias Ometu was jogging in San Antonio and was wrongfully detained by SATXPolice,” he wrote.
Victor Ometu, Mathias Ometu’s father, said that he contacted his son’s friend, who paid a portion of Mathias Ometu’s bail, which was set at $20,000.
Mathias Ometu was released Thursday, officials said.
“You can’t just arrest someone for anything,” Victor Ometu said. “I imagine he’s scared. He’s never been in trouble before.”
Based on reports by Daly Mail (UK).